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 isΒ notΒ 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 …

  • Ben

    Let the wild rumpus start!

    • DarthHater


      • MichiganGoat

        That made me happy I just got done reading that to Jr, it’s his favorite book (and my favorite children book).

        • DarthHater

          Yea, it’s the best.

  • waffle

    get tanaka, resign shark. Already good bullpen. Just need some of those young gun bats to make a successful transition (and for the big league team to hit a bit better)…

  • YourResidentJag

    And they’re off. It’s Theo and Jed in the inside lane, Cashman coming up the rear, Jerry Dipoto in third….

  • Chris

    Yahoo. We’ll have to overpay for Tanaka to choose Cubs over instant/likely contenders such as NYY, LAD, ARZ, and LAA

    • Blake Z

      This was to be expected.

  • waffle

    oh yeah, and hope Renteria can coach

  • Blake Z

    How does 6 years 150 million sound?

    • http://bleachernation Ferris

      Horrible… way….25m for unproven here……soory i ho p e we dont go near that.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Who is he unproven to? Our scouting department? If that is the case, then pass. I know its not. I know you are saying since you haven’t seen him the owners shouldn’t pay for him. That is absurd considering this is exactly the type of player they should overpay on. Hell, Albert Pujols was a bust for his contract. He was north of 30, but had proven himself. It can happen. What you take a chance on is the 25 years of age, upside, and current skill he has shown in front of scouts. If you are a scout, please tell us where he struggled so we know why everyone who wants him is nuts.

  • Blackhawks1963

    One more pita before off to church with family.

    Nice to see Tanaka get posted. Unfortunately I don’t think any amount of money the Cubs are willing to offer will entice Tanaka to come to the Cubs. The Yankees have a crisis of starting pitching and I cannot see them losing Tanaka no matter how high they need to go on salary. They already are suggesting that they will blow thru the luxury tax cap to improve with the right player. I’m guessing Tanaka is definition of that right player. Plus they can offer the Yankees tradition, everything that comes with wearing the Pinstripes and playing in NY, etc. Plus I am sure Ichiro and Kuroda will be engaged to put on the full court press.

    Merry Christmas and God bless.

    • Caryatid62

      Finally–I was wondering when you were going to let us know how you felt about Tananka’s chances of coming to the Cubs.

  • Jason P

    Make it happen, Epstoyer!

  • Rich

    NY and the Yankees or L.A. ? Cubs? Please and no thank you. Why would he choose the Cubs? $$$ ? If that is the reason then there is hope. Similar offers = no Cub

  • nkniacc13

    Yeah I hope the Cubs can sign him and would have liked the old system better for Cubs chances but you have to expect that they will be in. I just have a feeling that we will find out that they outbidded everyone but he chose somewhere else. The other good thing is that this will start to free up the pitching market in FA and trades

  • Nick

    Signing Tanaka does two things. The first it keeps all teams with a pitching need still interested in Samarjda and the second is he replaces the Shark after being traded. My gut says Theo and company know re signing shark isn’t going to happen.

    • Ralphie

      Cubs have Samardzija under contract thru 2015. There is zero need to re-sign him anytime soon unless the chance exists to do it on very friendly Cub terms. Which by all indications isn’t the case. Why there is obsession over a new contract for Samardzija us beyond comprehension.

      Tanaka goes to the Yankees or Angels is my prediction. Cubs will have to overwhelm Tanaka with way more money than any other team is willing to do in order to have any shot. Doesn’t seem likely to happen. If NY or LA offers $140 million or so I can’t see the Cubs offering $160 million or so to sway Tanaka. I’m guessing the Cubs will have to offer a $25 million premium over the next highest contract on the table to get Tanaka.

      • DarthHater

        “Why there is obsession over a new contract for Samardzija us beyond comprehension.”

        Because his trade value is higher now than it will be in two years, this is the time to make a choice between a trade and an extension – hence the obsession over an extension contract.

        • hansman1982

          To be fair, in 2 years he might not have any trade value as he might be a free agent.

          • DarthHater

            You are correct. I should have said in 19 months (i.e. July 2015). Mea culpa.

            BTW, I thought you said you always ignore me? πŸ˜›

          • hansman

            Damn people hacking my account and responding to Darth.

  • Rich

    If pitching is a commodity, then I think Samarjda can be signed by the Cubs. All involved knows where the market is going, so Jeff is waiting it out unless the Cubs give him close to what he wants. If a team ponies up the prospects, then he is gone.

    cant really blame either side..if the Cubs were closer to being a playoff team, Jeff may want to be a part of that. Since we are not…who knows..

  • DarthHater

    Uh-oh. The legendary Chris Cotillo tweets:

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 3m
    Now reports from Japan that Tanaka won’t be posted, so now just hope your eggnog is spiked and there will be a decision when you wake up

    • hansman1982

      bah, he is a bum and has fewer twitter followers than Khloe Kardashian…no need to listen to him.

      • YourResidentJag

        Khloe Kardashian? I’m thinking if Justin Ruggiano’s wife has a Twitter account she would have more.

  • jsorensen

    I really think the Cubs will way outbid everybody else to get Tanaka. 200 million over 7 years. Not saying he’ll sign here, but I bet The Cubs outbid everyone else.

  • josh ruiter

    Could the FO see this as a perceived win/win in an overpay for Tanaka? The rest of those teams seem to be interested in Shark, or would at least have to seriously up the pony for him if Tanaka is not on their team?
    Possibly a situation where the Cubs see 1.5 value in signing Tanaka in that they can up the ante on Shark as well? That would put us theoretically in a money situation far ahead of other teams who simply value Tanaka as he is as a pitcher. Say he gets 18 mil a year from other teams and we offer him 25 a year because we see the residual benefit in snaking a Bradley/Taijuan Walker type in a trade when Shark is clearly the top available arm? (I’m operating under the presumption Shark is more appealing than DPrice due to decreased MPH, arm issues, and crazy expensive arbitration years ahead).

  • Chris

    If they’re going to be “all in” on Tanaka, curious to see what this FO does beyond offering the most money to sign him.

  • willis

    IF he is posted, and IF it is true the Cubs will not be outbid, will Tanaka go for the coin…or the chance to play for a franchise like the Yankees or Dodgers. This will be interesting if he is indeed posted.

    Merry Christmas fellas.

    • jsorensen

      I think he goes for the coin, unless it is so close, like within 5 million, then he goes with the Angels, Yankees, Dodgers. I think the Cubs go all Carl Crawford like on this signing. wink wink.

  • mjhurdle

    I love reading through some non-English sports websites and finding ones with comments.
    Reading the Google translation of the comments can be hilarious.
    I like to imagine somewhere in Japan there is someone that checks Bleacher Nation translated into Japanese through Google, and in his translation, everything Die Hard says makes complete sense, while the rest of us are gibberish :)

    • YourResidentJag

      Yeah, someone retweet a tweet of his in Japanese. Everyone thought it was him getting excited about being posted, when instead it was him wishing everyone Happy Holidays. :)

  • woody

    This Cotillo kid has been on top of things lately. The FO talks like they are broke and then they are all in??? For 150 million contract I think they would be better off to sign Shark and unload a few prospects ( not Baez or Bryant ) and get a stud pitcher from an organization flush with pitching that needs some positional prospects. Like maybe Vogelbach and Christian Villanueva. Maybe Alcantara for the right deal. Hell throw Castro in the deal and we keep Alcantara.

  • SenorGato

    Another potential participation trophy for the FO, amirite!?!?

    • hansman

      Why do you think they haven’t done anything this winter???

      Cuz they’ve been too busy writing the stories for the writers about how hard they’ve been trying.

    • since52

      Yep. In this case, it’s the right move. Overbid, but not overpay Tanaka, thus increasing the market value for Shark. I still like getting some genuine ML talent for him, however. Enough already with the prospects.

  • Frank

    Even if the Cubs out bid everyone, Tanaka will sign with the Dodgers or the Yankee’s unless it’s 50 mil more and a year less and then it’s a crap shoot.
    Reasons not to pick the Cubs.
    1. Worst clubhouse and facilities in baseball.
    2. Circus between club and rooftops.
    3. Supposedly no money to build the team near term.
    4. Concentrating on building only for the future.
    5. Minor league facilities are a hell of a lot better than Wrigley.
    6. Chances Tanaka will lose more than 20 games before he wins 20 games.
    7. Current roster probably wouldn’t make it in the Japanese baseball league.

    • Abe Froman

      $50 mil? I think that would be unprecedented in the history of salary negotiations. I can understand $10 mil, but more than $20 mil more than other teams will get the job done. Money is the number one two and three deciders for contracts.

      • Frank

        Money maybe the decider for players here, but for a Japanese player that wants to prove himself to the MLB and his homeland, I think not as much. If the Cubs outbid the Yankees by 10 mil, you think he’ll pick the Cubs? Not likely.

        • Abe Froman

          I think its more likely than him turning down $49 mil more from the cubs. Also I was stating a range in the 10 to 20 mil range that I would agree to your point about the cubs needing to sweeten the pot more due to the current state of the team and other factors.

          • Frank

            I understand. The problem the Cubs have is the perception that they’re going to suck for maybe two more years. I just can’t see him coming here with the idea that no matter how good he pitches, he’ll have a losing record. The Japanese and other asian cultures are very concerned (paranoid) about losing face.

            • Abe Froman

              There are some interesting cultural differences in play. Would love an article dedicated to analyzing big time Japanese players and their motivation for signing where they did in the last decade. Maybe its more or less of an issue than it feels like.

          • Cheese Chad

            You’re Abe froman

    • Cheese Chad

      Mlbtraderumors says coletti might be out in tanaka

  • The Stick

    Sign him and flip him for prospects.

    • YourResidentJag

      Someone’s gotten into the spiked egg nog early. :)

      • DarthHater

        Smokin’ the mistletoe… πŸ˜‰

  • woody

    Maybe we need to import a harem of geisha girls to entice him. lt always worked with the politicians.

    • Frank

      You definitely have the wrong understanding of a geisha.

    • DarthHater

      If that were enough to entice him, I would think that Rakuten would have a rather significant advantage.

  • YourResidentJag

    Kazuto Yamazaki ‏@Kazuto_Yamazaki 8m
    From Sanspo: Tanaka will be posted as soon as 8 A.M Thursday EST. …

    • YourResidentJag

      Well, that Google translator may come in handy….or not πŸ˜‰

  • woody

    Cubs Den reporting an IFA signing of Wladimir Galindo a 16 year old stud from Venezuela. 6’3″ 210 pound 3B/SS with a strong arm and raw power. Should compliment Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez. Keep this up and we will have studs behind studs at the farm. When Baez and the fellas hit free agency they will just reload. Gotta love what they are doing in the IFA market.

    • Brett

      See this morning’s post on Galindo for more.

    • woody

      Thanks Brett. I’m really excited the way the FO is going after these kids down in Latin America. That baseball academy is going to pay big dividends in a few years.

  • Rebuilding

    I don’t really understand all of the conflicting reports that come out about Tanaka due to translation. They speak Japanese, not Sanskrit

  • YourResidentJag

    It’s been agreed. They’re posting him. Patrick Newman ‏@npbtracker 11m
    Rakuten has agreed to Tanaka’s request to be posted, announcement expected today.

    To @Rebuilding comment: γŠε…ˆηœŸγ£ζš— ‏@osaki_makkura 55m
    Hochi is the only paper reporting Tanaka will stay. I never considered Hochi to be reliable source, but this is their chance for major upset

  • Jono

    Baker isn’t signing with the cubs

  • YourResidentJag

    Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 11m
    Rakuten’s decision to post Masahiro Tanaka was announced by team president Yozo Tachibana.

  • Kyle

    I wonder if having a more respectable team the last few years might have made it easier to sell him on the team.

    • GRW

      Tanaka Descendant or Ancestor?
      Yes, it may be simple to descend in a line of Yankee Imperials. But, it will require ‘fighting spirit’ to be an ancestor in the 21st Century Chicago Dynasty.

      Tanaka already must have skill and a high baseball IQ to pitch so well so far.
      We will soon learn if he also has the heart of a champion. Have Wa.

      • Rebuilding

        I like the way you talk