masahiro tanakaAccording to Sponichi, a legitimate Japanese news outlet, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided they will post 25-year-old Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka soon, despite the recently-imposed cap of $20 million for a posting fee. Because of that cap, if Tanaka is posted, a large number of MLB teams are expected to negotiate with Tanaka over the course of the month he is permitted to take before he signs.

I don’t speak Japanese, and Google Translate is almost comically bad when it comes to the language, but Dylan Hernandez offers his confirmation of what the Sponichi report says (if not confirmation of the actual report, which remains just one report):

We’ll see if the official announcement comes later tonight or tomorrow. I tend to believe the report, since humans are susceptible to confirmation bias, and I’ve said all along that I fully expected Tanaka to be posted.

As for the Cubs’ involvement, they are expected to be in on the negotiations with Tanaka. As a 25-year-old starting pitcher with front-of-the-rotation potential, he’s a perfect fit for the rebuilding Cubs (and 29 other teams, but who’s counting?). Bruce Levine says the Cubs will be in:

And Dave Kaplan hears that the Cubs will pony up the money necessary to stay in the hunt:

Of course, if the money is around the same from the top bidders, the Cubs will have to sell Tanaka on coming to Chicago, which might not be as attractive a destination as somewhere on the West Coast or New York:

Again: this is not the official announcement of Tanaka’s posting. This is just one (translated) report. If and when Tanaka is actually posted, the rumors will *really* heat up. It will be the Cubs’ opportunity to demonstrate their financial ability and overall attractiveness to the top free agents they actually target.

UPDATE (6:30pm CT): Apropos of my initial “just one report” warning, it wouldn’t be a Tanaka story without a big ‘ole howeva …

  • woody

    One thing for sure. If Tanaka signs with the Dodgers or Yankees he’ll have a lot of pressure to live up to the hype. If he were to sign with the Cubs he would have less pressure to make the adjustment to the MLB.

    • Jason P

      I don’t know. Not like the Cubs have too many other star players for fans to latch onto. Look how much scrutiny Edwin Jackson got this year.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Do not underestimate the high % state income taxes in New York and California. 13% in both states versus 5% in Illinois. That 8% difference over the length of a 150 to 200 million deal is over 10 million dollars. Tanaka’s agents will be taking this into account when making their decision on where their client signs.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Lou, pro athletes pay state and city taxes based on where they earned the money. When they play on the road, they pay state taxes to that state. They often have to file 14 or 15 state income tax returns. Would make a difference on home games only.

      • Cheese Chad

        Is this true?

        • Cub Lifer


        • Cheese Chad

          It seems it is. The flip side is that his signing bonus would be limited to the home state.

    • TK

      Do not overestimate it either. I guarantee you the bottom will not be the overwhelming ultimate tell-all deciding factor that many folks are making it out to be. Im quite sure this young man is “deeper” than that.

  • Jason P

    I am one year removed from having taken 3 straight years of Japanese classes, and I am still of little more use than google translate. You literally have to understand 2-3 thousand characters to read the average newspaper.

  • Cub Lifer

    Tanaka will pitch for the Yanks of Angels. Maybe the Mariners are a dark horse given their Japanese ownership, history with Japanese players and large Asian population living in the Seattle and Vancouver metro areas.

    Don’t know why he would want to come to the Cubs unless the money was absolutely absurd relative to the other offers he will get. As someone before said the sad thing is we might only come out of this with another crummy participation trophy.

    I do wonder though if Epstein makes a run at Ubaldo Jimeniz.

    • SK

      The question is what is absurd for Tanaka? It may cost the Cubs something in the range of 6/120 (not counting the 20MM), maybe even higher, to get the guy. Would everybody say that’s too much?

      I wouldn’t.

      If he’s a 4 WAR pitcher going forward, I’d dare say he’d be a relative bargain at 20MM per.

      • Cub Lifer

        I won’t be surprised in the least bit to see Tanaka get $160
        Mil. The market is off the charts nuts right now. If Price stays healthy that will be rhe range of his eventual new payday too.

        • hansman

          So teams would pay him nearly as much as Verlander?

          • Kyle

            Not nearly as much as Verlander would get if he were a nearly unrestricted free agent at 25.

            • hansman

              Tanaka will be “overpaid” but not that much.

  • SK

    Hm. Looking at the Dodgers payroll situation, not sure how they’re going to be able to offer a sky-high contract for Tanaka. They have Clayton Kershaw coming upon his walk year, which is sort of a big deal. Same with Hanley Ramirez. Even if they don’t add another player they are already well over 200MM, and the only real big contract they’ll shed after 2014 appears to be Josh Beckett’s. Not seeing how they can go all in on Tanaka and re-sign Kershaw to the megadeal he’s going to get, not to mention trying to keep somebody around who can hit a baseball.

    • Cub Lifer

      The Dodgers have a bottomless pit of money just like the Yankees. Keshaw is going to get a $300 mil contract and the overwhelming odds are he stays with the Dodgers. Ditto Hanley, who should be in line for $200 mil. Neither situation will stop the Dodgers from going hard after Tanaka if they really want him.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    1 human being who happens to pitch. Who is unproven in MLB. Who had a phenomenal year in the Japanese League. If Yu Darvish was the other choice he would get a lot more than Tanaka. These are businessman and risk will be assessed. I believe he is worth 6/90 mil but will get 6/120 mil if cooler heads prevail. Otherwise 30 mil per not out of the question.

    • Jason P

      I have to believe that even the most desperate, deep-pocketed GM’s wouldn’t go near 6 years, 180 million.

      • TOOT

        As they say; Never say never.

  • TOOT

    What happens after the posting fee? Can the Cubs nogotiate any thing they want with Tanaka behind closed doors?

    • MichiganGoat

      It’s basically free agency for 30 days. Any team that places the 20M bid (and I imagine a ton of teams will since it cost them nothing if they lose) will get to negotiate with just like any other free agent. It will be a crazy 30 days for baseball. Hope Brett is getting some rest right now.

      • TOOT

        Thanks man. Wasn’t quite sure how that was going to work. Do YOU think the Cubs should go all out on Tanaka? Just curious.

        • MichiganGoat

          Yes I want them to push right up to that 150M then I’m not sure.

          • TOOT

            It’s going to be interesting for sure. Not sure I would push that heavy of an envelope to Tanaka, but it’s not my money, and I’m not a scout. But I really do hope the Cubs could pull it off if they think he is the real deal.

  • Cubs Faith_27

    I think the cubs get him, this is our guy I really see theo and jed not letting tanaka slip away. Tanaka is the type of young pitcher u wanna build around.

    • TOOT

      Yes. You make a very good point. At 25 years old, you go after Tanaka with a kind of contract MichGoat posed. Now you can trade Samardzija for some good pieces, or perhaps keep him if justified. Thsis is getting baseball spicey.

      • Boogens

        I think that the Cubs will keep Samardzija if they are able to sign Tanaka. It’s hard to envision them being able to sign Tanaka without a making comittment to him that requires them to be more competitive at the major league level. Trading Samardzija would be contrary to that “pitch”.

      • TK

        No offense, but it just doesn’t make sense to throw all that money at Tanaka and then let Shark go over what amounts to, relatively speaking, chump change. If they land Tanaka, they need to do what it takes to keep Shark. Then we have the start of a GREAT rotation. Especially if Wood can consistently be 1/2 the man he has been for us. And if just 1 of our SP prospects pans out . . . that would make EJax our #5.


        If you let Shark go, you have to replace him. AND you are basically in the same spot as now – just an ok/meh rotation. Certainly not a rotation thats gonna win a playoff series, especially with such young position players (Bryant, Soler, Castro, Rizzo, Baez, etc…). Replacing him will cost more than simply giving him what he wants. Pride is the ultimate blinder. Lets hope FO figures it out.

        I read something a few days ago, here i believe, that made me wonder if perhaps the hold up with Shark may be that he wants to WIN, and that he isn’t going to extend with the Cubs if he doesn’t see that potential (unless they give him something like $25m per). Signing Tanaka would be a considerable step in that direction.

  • YourResidentJag

    Presser on Tanaka. You have to know Japanese, though.

    • TOOT

      That’s easy! He said Tanaka wants to be a Cub, doesn’t care about money, and is willing to make a team friendly deal @ about 50M over 5 years.

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    My thinking is the Cubs get Tanaka and keep Shark to open the season and see where we are at. Before the break, see where our young studs are doing and if we are in, add many of the kids and maybe be a buyer and go for it. If they aren’t in, hold the younger kids back and trade Shark at the deadline.

    • TOOT

      That is wishfull thinking. Nothing wrong with that. But could happen.

  • wilbur

    dodgers will be tough to beat on this one…