masahiro tanakaThe Rakuten Golden Eagles announced yesterday (well, overnight to us in the States) at a press conference, per ESPN, that they will allow 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka to come to MLB via the posting system.

Once Tanaka is formally posted, which could occur today/tomorrow/Friday, Rakuten will place a “transfer fee” on him, up to a maximum of $20 million (it will be $20 million). Any MLB team willing to pay the fee to secure his rights will be permitted to negotiate with him over the ensuing 30 days to try to reach an agreement.

In effect, Tanaka will be a free agent who comes with a $20 million tax. Teams far and wide will try to woo him (he’s going to be doing some serious traveling and pitch-watching), and the Chicago Cubs are expected to be heavily involved.

Will the Cubs’ front office have enough money available to meet or exceed the top bidders? Will Tanaka have interest in coming to a rebuilding team in a non-coastal city? Do the Cubs’ scouts like Tanaka as much as we’ve been led to believe? Will the Cubs shop Jeff Samardzija more aggressively once Tanaka is signed? But what if he signs with the Cubs?

We’ll likely find that all out over the course of the next 30-ish days. Away we go …

  • Bill

    7 years 150 million should get it done for Tanaka.

  • Tim

    The Cubs are going to sign Tanaka. They are going to outbid everyone, and the FO is going to sell him on breaking the 100 year curse, and being the guy. Plus no other teams make sense. Yanks, will still be waiting on AROD decision, Arizona won’t pony up the money, same for Seattle, the Dodgers have tons of pitching. I don’t know what that means for Samardjza, but it puts the Cubs in the driver seat for a trade or extension. The Cubs will contend next year, but miss out on the playoffs, then they start their run of dominance in 2015. All you people hating on the “plan” are about to eat some crow.

    • nkniacc13

      Just because the Cubs may outbid everyone doesn’t mean that he will sign with them. Maybe he has always dreamed of playing for Yanks or Dodgers or Mariners he could take less money to play for them

      • Rebuilding

        I wish people would stop with this. Would you give up $2 million dollars, much less $10 or $20 million just to play for the Cubs? Would you give that up for climate? Think about how much money that is. I very much doubt anyone can come up with unrestricted FA recently that has taken that much less money in a contract that can’t be explained by local and state taxes. If we outbid every other team by $10 million (taxes included) no one would turn that down

    • TommyK

      I hope you’re right. But, as far as contending next season, where do the runs come from? Even if Rizzo and Castro both take a step forward, this team is going to struggle to score runs. If Rizzo and Castro do what they did last season, they might average 2 runs or less a game. Just a bad lineup.

    • Eternal Pessimist


  • Jay

    Why don’t we save all these comments for 30 days from now.

  • Dawn

    Let’s hope Mother Nature doesn’t drop a deep freeze on us when he visits Chicago. Perhaps our contract offer should include a winter vacation house someplace nice and warm.

    • cub4life

      Merry Christmas to all that celebrate it.

      Since the Cubs off-season home in in Arizona he could buy him one there.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      For a second I read that as “a vacation spouse”

  • DarthHater

    So, has the New York Times published a retraction of their earlier story about Tanaka not getting posted?

    • Abe Froman

      No, they are standing by it, adamant he will not be posted.

      • YourResidentJag

        Did they see the president of Tanaka’s team presser. It’s out there on YouTube. Just sayin’.

        • Abe Froman

          Sorry, was being dry and sarcastic not as an insult to Darth just a joke. Jag, you from the QC based on the Modern Woodman Park pic?

          • YourResidentJag


  • Mrs. Claus

    This Japanese import signs with the Yankees or Mariners. Maybe the Angels and Dodgers get involved. Each of those teams has a lot more to offer the Japanese import right now. All we can offer is money and sell the hope and rainbows of winning baseball one day coming to the Cubs. All four of those other teams won’t be intimidated in the last by the salary we can offer Tanaka. It’s a poker game we will lose. All we end up doing is driving up the final price for the team that signs him. Like how Anibal Sanchez used us to get the contract he wanted to stay with a winning franchise in Detroit.

    • Sandberg

      Your screen name should be The Grinch

      • Brett

        Or Blackhawk, since that’s the one he usually uses.

        • hansman

          I tell you what…that registration thing ain’t going to change a thing.

          • Jason P

            Might stop people from changing their names at least.

        • baldtaxguy

          Really? Strange. Hell, maybe there are just three people posting all these negative predictions.

    • Rebuilding

      Money talks. He only has to be in Chicago 81 days out of the year and most of those days are great during the summer

  • woody

    I have a question about the bidding process. Is this an open negociation with all of the teams that post the money having direct negocitions with Tanaka’s agent, or is it a blind bid where Tanaka looks at the numbers and the teams and makes a decision? Everyone is talking about selling Tanaka on the plan etc.. It seems to me that a process like this would prohibit teams from making official contact with the player to be sure that all is above the board. Of course there is always back channel stuff going on. Look how good that worked with Girardi. I mean Tanka surely has an agent or advisors that are knowlegable about the teams in MLB. I think tht the same thing that is the sticking point to Shark also applies to Tanaka. And that is the fact that he would be playing for loser for the first two years. I reiterate that the baseball operations (FO) have to wait until the business operations side has their shit together to implement any improvements at the major league level. And it seems evident that the honchos in the business side have micalculated or botched or whtever words you want to use that are acceptable under the rules of BN. My point being that for example LA is the odds on favorite to win the world series next year. And the Yankees have all their banners etc. Why would Tanaka want to step into a black hole where two more years of losing is probably the case. Beause read my lips. The renovations and TV revenues will not be in in place until 2016 at the earliest. And whatever the case the mantra being chanted is that the team will be upgraded when the revenue begins to flow. So now Tanaka is the big exeption? So blow him away with the offer because all things considered no top FA wants to sign with a loser. Period!

    • Cub Lifer

      It’s very simple. Tanaka becomes a free agent who can talk to and negotiate with any team that submits the $20 mil posting fee. It’s assumed that nearly every team will submit the $20 posting fee because it doesn’t cost nothin to enter the game.

      • Danimal8

        It isn’t exclusive if you place the bid and are chosen?

        • nkniacc13

          no if you place the 20 million bid you have the right to negotiate and try and sign him. Every team that makes that 20 million bid has the right to try an sign him. Its just like FA is here with the teams that make that bid

          • cub2014

            according to mlb rumors; yankees are all in on
            tanaka and are going to do what it takes to get
            him. 3 other teams are willing to spend big to
            get him: Diamondbacks,Dodgers & CUBS!!!

            so we have a chance but it sounds like the yanks

          • Danimal8

            Thanks for the clarification

  • WI.CUB Fan

    Maybe Tanka takes less money to come to the Cubs because he has always dreamed of playing for the Cubs!

  • Carne Harris

    I read all those questions at the end of this piece in that Batman narrator voice.

  • cubmig

    I can’t help but think that every manager that has taken the helm of this team has had visions of being the one in the driver’s seat to “make history”. I tend to think that that thought may have been on the minds of guys like Soriano, Prior, K, Wood and maybe others. Who knows?

    My point is that “being in on a historic moment” with the Chicago Cubs is a selling point. I know it’s been a failure for all who have come, played, gotten close and so on…..but all that means is the door to succeeding in that respect is still open to someone. And that “someone” can fall on Tanaka and those that play around him…..IF he chooses. Of course the FO has their work cut out for them convincing him that the talent put on the field with him will “cut-it” to succeed. It’s a mountain to climb for the FO, but the whole idea of “making history” (and earning a damn good salary while doing it) should not be undersold.

    When the Cubs make the WS, the City will shut down, there will be dancing in the streets of Chicago and every hovel nurturing a Cubs fan. It’s not something without weight.

    At the same time, all the images of what Wrigley Field is planned to be, the city’s ambiance and the rich cultural diversity should be laid out as what “The Plan” also holds for those coming on board…..

    just my 2¢

  • ClevelandCubsFan
    • Oswego Chris

      Great links…yep, I am now on full-fledged Tanaka watch…..a recent history of my Cubs offseason(obsessions) if you read my book, this is repeat material

      1987- Andre and we got him!
      1992- keep Maddux movement, still stings
      2003- Pudge Rodriguez, instead he goes to Marlins and….
      2004- Maddux Returns to lesson sting of 2003
      2006-2008 Brian Roberts…an obsession of tremendous ridiculousness
      2008-2009 Jake Peavy….Ahhh, meh, blah

      And now Tanaka….

      • Sean

        Hmm, I don’t remember the Pudge one, but damn that 2003 team could have been amazing with him. I liked Damian Miller, but the Miller/Bako platoon didn’t do much in the offensive category. Not to mention he was on the Marlins….


    I’m sure he ends up with a east or a west coast team. Not many big time players from Japan choose the Midwest.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Really? Most players who come over here (if not all) are above average players. Average players couldn’t hack it in the MLB. Fukudome and Kyuji Fujikawa were both considered top players in Japan. Aoki to the Brewers, Darvish to Texas.

      You can see a full list at (gotta love it) Wikipedia:

      Now granted, the majority went to a coastal city. But to say “not many” go to the midwest… could be a misleading overstatement.

      Outside of the Mariners, when you look at LA, LAA, NYY, and BOS — who dominate the list — what do they have in common besides being on the coast? Big money. So it’s hard to really separate these two draws (money and coastal location) for elite Japanese talent. And if it is really about the money, then it’s just a question of whether the Cubs are ready to pony up.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        …and you could argue that they go to the costal cities because the big money is often there.

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          that was the point I was trying to make, but maybe I didn’t make it well. Thanks for clarifying!

      • abe

        Before this year they didn’t really have a choice where to go. Who ever won the posting got them..

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          Good point. but there are some examples of true free agents.


    Cubs had to overpay for Fukudome and how did that turn out? If NY or Seattle offered anything close to what we offered he would have been there instead. If he lands anywhere other then a coastal team I would bet it’s Texas to go pitch with Darvish but I don’t know that Texas would have the cash at this point.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Speculation premised on the irrefutable law of sports contracts: show me the money.

      In other words, $ over location.

      • wilbur

        underlying geographical reality: location=$

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          But not historically true with regards to the Cubs. $ for the Cubs has been high or low for many reasons. But it’s never been because of location.

    • Scotti

      Re. The cubs “over-paying” to get Fukudome:

      Didn’t happen. Fukudome got a moderate contract. Four years @ 12 per–that isn’t superstar money (and less than the posting fee alone of either Dice-K or Darvish). And, IIRC, we weren’t the only team in that neighborhood.


    Don’t forget Darvish and Oaki were posted and didn’t have the freedom to choose their teams. With the new posting system Tanaka will be free to negotiate with any team interested…..which will be most.

  • fortyonenorth

    I don’t know why the consensus seems to be the Cubs have nothing to offer vs. NY or LA. Tanaka is 24–not 34. All things equal, it would make sense for him to prefer a team that has the best chance of competing consistently over the next ten years. With that in mind, I think the Chicago profiles at least as well as the competition. NY and LA have aging rosters and weak(er) farm systems. On paper at least, the Cubs could put up a better W-L run over the next decade their either of these teams.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Yeah I have the same feeling. Not saying the Yankees won’t surprise us in a couple years by deciding the luxury tax is just another number, but the way things look right now… I like the Cubs for more championships, more WS appearances, and POSSIBLY more playoff appearances over the next 7 years than the Yankees.

  • nkniacc13

    With this new CBA you cant rebuild the way you use to by staying competitive at the mlb level because its designed to help teams keep their own FA. That’s why Tanaka is such a great option because hes younger than almost anyone that can get to FA. Looking at what the cubs have done Internationally I expect them to go hard after him but even with the biggest offer they may not get him. Id have liked the blind bid chances better for Cubs I think. I think they will sign a pitcher that gets posted this offseason

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Yep. I don’t know if they will, but I could make a case for the Cubs justifying OVERPAYING for Tanaka just because it doesn’t set back The Plan by costing draft picks, and a portion of the payment doesn’t count against salary.

  • Bill

    Merry Christmas everyone. Tanaka is going to sign with the Cubs. Theo’s been saving all his pennies to land Tanaka, the only guy he wanted this year. He fits the profile for the money Theo will offer, he keeps the fanbase/local media happy that he did something this winter, it helps the team for the future. Theo will overpay a little but he will go all in with Tanaka. This will also help them sell the “we are serious about winning” mantra to Shark. They’ll have a better shot of signing Shark to an extension, and if not they can still trade him.

    This is a big step in getting the Cubs moving in the right direction, so competing doesn’t mean fans have to wait until 2017/2018. Merry Christmas folks, Santa gave us what we wanted for Christmas this year.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      I hope you’re right. But this sort of unbridled optimism is almost as anathama to me, as the much more common Tanaka-will-in-no-way-sign-with-the-Cubs mantra.

      I’d like to think we could agree on a few things as an Internet community (but I doubt it):

      1. The Cubs will almost undoubtedly pay the 20 million dollar fee.
      2. On the surface Tanaka seems to be a perfect fit for the Plan.
      3. The Chicago Cubs have numerous positive reasons for making a strong push for a player like to knock out. 4. If they take any deeper look than a phone call on Tanaka, then it would be foosh for the FO to waste resources fighting a fight they don’t intend to win. In short, if they go past a phone call, they’re all in.
      5. This in no way guarantees the Cubs get him, even with a first class effort. There are just too many variables.

  • BobbyK

    Do you think our inactivity this offseason will play into Tanaka’s decision? Future success is a hard sell as we as fans can attest. I would think that Tanaka would be enticed by success just as much as money at this point. I mean he knows he is going to have a massive pay day now matter what team he picks. The Cubs will need to max out their offer and sell the rebuild is near fruition or we might miss out on Tanaka. I would absolutely love if we got him, extended Shark and enticed Kershaw away next year, with Travis Wood and EJax rounding it out. That would be an elite pitching staff!! WS!

    • Josh

      Haha that’s cute you think kershaw is going to leave LA

  • Cub Lifer

    Theo is going to get savaged by some fans when Tanaka invariably signs with the Yankees or the LA teams. He’s really boxed himself into a public relations corner.

    All we can offer is money. But the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels can match any money we offer with a flash of a pen if they are so inclined. And they can sell Tanaka playing on an immediate contender in markets with well established Japanese Anerican fan bases. We’ve got crap to offer.

    • Eric

      “We’ve got crap to offer”. This comment is so completely off-base. Tanaka may end up elsewhere for any number of reasons but saying there are no reasons aside from money for a player to come here is just not true. And let’s not act like the Yankees are some powerhouse on the field right now – the argument can easily be made that they will be an old, ineffective team now and moving forward, just like they were last year.

      • Rich H

        Yes and yes. Did I mention yes?
        The Yanks still have to sell a long term deal to an organization that has been both good and bad to foreign players.

        Is there a fit? Certainly. But are they as attractive as a younger team with a larger window like Oakland, Texas or LAD? Not so fast. I could even make a case for the Nats and Pirates over the over the hill gang from the Bronx.

        The question is right now what is Tanaka (and his popstar wife) after? If it is winning consistantly over the length of a 7 to 10 year contract is the priority then there are better fits. If being the Japanese version of Beckham is the plan then the Yankees, Boston or LAD is the location.

  • James

    It will depend on if the Yankees want to stay under the luxary tax fees. We know the Dodgers didn’t care last year. My guess is the Cubs will be the favorite with the money. I also would think the Cubs would front load an contract to make it look even better. Saying that I hope the Cubs can get it done. At his age and the young position players coming up this year and the next, it could get very interesting in Chicago come 2015.

  • nkniacc13

    I’m not sure that front loading a contract will be that big a deal.

  • ruby2626

    This is a must read article comparing Darvish and Tanaka’s performances relative to the league and each other. Had no idea that Japan switched to a different type of baseball in 2011 and the offense went down with it. ERA for the entire league is now in the low 3.00’s and the avg WHIP only 1.29. As good as his stats were last year you would think Tanaka would K more than 8 per 9 innings. Do I want this kid, of course I do it’s not my money they are spending but I wouldn’t go over $20M per year counting the posting fee. Ultimately he will sign with one of the markets that got the major TV contracts or in the Yanks case their own network. 2nd city lives on.

  • Kevin

    Maybe Tanaka will sign with the Cubs if the rooftop owners sign an affidavit that they will not sue.

  • jon

    People need to let go of the notion that the future(5 years out) of the Cubs is so great and superior to other teams. You could line up a dozen or so teams who plan on competing in 2014 and also has as strong or stronger 5 year outlook. Hell, the Cubs front office has no clue when they’ll have the $$$ to compete.

    People that rave about the Cubs future remind me of those that claim medical care in the United States is so superior

    • Eric

      And people need to let go of the notion that the Cub’s future 5 years out can’t be as bright as any other team.

  • nkniacc13

    I cant wait to see the odds to sign him

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Spoke to someone with inside info with the Dodgers as it relates to signing Tanaka and yes they do lie him a lot. However, they have a budget and also need to have enough money to sign Clayton Kershaw who they value much higher than Tanaka.
    They have a number in mind that they will offer Tanaka, but according to my source it is not a crazy number, more like 5 years at about $ 17 per year. They believe Kershaw is going to cost them $ 250 million or more to keep because they feel either Texas team will be going hard after him next year. Kershaw and his wife both are from Texas and are making noise like they may want to be closer to home.
    They signed Haren as insurance for Billingsley who has had injury issues the last couple of years and is really not tradable at this point.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Like him, not lie.

  • 70’scub

    Cano just signed with a “scrub” team just saying the Cubs got a shot with the Japanese Tank it will be about the “money”…Tank-Shark-Wood-Jackson plus six deep for the five spot in 2014! (Cub assets include a good bullpen, team defense and a great pitching coach).

  • jeff feichtl

    If Cubs sign Tanaka to a 6 or 7 yr deal worth 100mill plus Shark is traded! No way do the Cubs give Tanaka 100mill, Shark more than 60 and Ejax 52. Not going to happen

    • nkniacc13

      Could the cubs do that? yes they could

      • X The Cubs Fan

        I don’t see why not, especially considering E-Jax’s deal is only 3/33 from now on.

  • http://bleachernation Bobdawg78

    I wonder how far the Cubs could or would go to try and make sure we land Tanaka? Is a 7-9 year deal to far out there to get him to commit to us as opposed to the Yanks or any other team? Another question on Tanaka, is how much would he improve the income of this team, by having him on it? I’m sure ticket sales would go up tremendously right now, thus attendance would be higher, jersey sales of him would be huge, plus having him on this team would hopefully increase our win totals, thus hopefully when we redo our t.v. and radio deals, we will be able to get more annual dollars.

    I personally hope we land Tanaka, his signing would be the first step of our major improvements coming at the major league level in the near future.

    • Pat

      Id prefer they not go more than five years, but could probably understand six if it was necessary to sign him. More than that, no thank you. Seven or more years for a pitcher is not worth the risk. Especially one who has not previously pitched in the majors.

      • nkniacc13

        If I was his agent I may not want more than 5 years either as that would set him up for 2 big pay days

        • Scotti

          More likely he pushes for a fifth year escape clause on a longer contract.