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 …

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Merry Christmas to my bleacher nation family!
    ramy 16

  • X The Cubs Fan

    If the baseball world goes crazy over Tanaka being posted. I can’t wait to see the reaction when Shohei Otani is posted. That’ll be some years from now but how great would that be.

  • calicubsfan007

    God, these Japanese teams have to be rolling in money from all these posting bids.

  • NYCubs

    You think that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s current “no no-trade clause” policy would hinder there ability to sign him? Or if they’d make an exception if that was a deal breaker?

    • Scotti

      If they allow a no NTC philosophy to get in the way of signing top free agents then they will very rarely sign top fee agents. The majority of top free agents get some type of NTC even if they eventually waive that clause (or, more precisely, barter it away).

  • Bilbo161

    Merry Christmas everyone. I love this site.

    Tanaka would be such a get! I remember Bruce Sutter’s forkball. Man, what a weapon that was. And this guy is supposed to have a real nasty one. Please, Please. Paleeeze give us that for Christmas.

  • Die hard

    Be careful what you ask Santa for as Tanakas stuff may not transfer over well against MLB hitters or in MLB ballparks– he could end up as one oversized lump of coal in the Cubs stocking

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      He could. Every player you pay for can suck. There are some players worth more of a risk. He is the type of a player that is worth more of the risk.

      • Die hard

        Will he need a translator? Didn’t the Cubs have to hire one for Choi who was a foreign star by here only a mound stumble and low inside curveball away from the hall of fame?

        • Scotti

          Choi (who was a teen in Korea and not a star) did not use a translator with the Cubs (or Marlins or Dodgers). Of course he had one in the low minors (he spent parts of four seasons there) but he stayed in the US for much of his off-seasons to work on his assimilation and stopped using a translator in the minors.

          Here’s a video of his 3-HR game (6-HR series) with the Dodgers:


          I’m betting you meant Fukudome. Neither he nor Choi were paid HOF or even star money.

          • Die hard

            Yea that’s right but neither worked out well

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    Merry Christmas Cub Fans…. Did the Cub FO really wanted to sign Shark before the Tank process started? After the Cubs bid gets leaked (5-125 plus the 20 million dollar tax), Shark’s agent is going to be earning his fee…..Some how the FO gets Tank, Shark or two young studs one close to MLB ready, Jackson, Wood with 6 deep number fives competing this spring.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Now that I know how the proocess is going to work I feel better about our chances. If the cubs can front load the contract like they did with E-jax then maybe we have a chance. Pony up a huge signing bonus that hopefully doesn’t from the same pool as the payroll and isn’t subject to the financial constaints tied to the covents of the loans. I’m just spitballin here but maybe that’s how it is.

  • http://None Jon Heyman

    Likeliness to get Tanaka:
    Yankees 30%
    Dodgers 30%
    Dbacks 20%
    Cubs 10%
    Another Team 10%

    • Rich

      Jon are those Vegas odds ? Where did you pull those?

      • babe ruth

        ill put $100 on the cubs at those odds

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      This is more realistic than “Voice of Reason” and other predictions I’ve seen. I’d say, based on what we know, I put the odds like this:

      Yankees: 20%
      Dodgers: 25%
      Mariners: 10%
      Cubs: 20%
      Rangers: 15%
      Another: 10%

      • Voice of Reason

        Yankees at 20% and the same percentage as the cubs?

        Oh brother!

        • ClevelandCubsFan

          Yes because both have financial considerations at play that are unclear. But the Yankees are on record as trying to get payroll down. The Cubs have plenty of room in the budget to be agressive on Tanaka and still come in about where they were last year.. maybe less. I really don’t see the Cubs being significantly outbid by the Yanks. If they’re both all in, Yanks are the favorite. But there’s a significant chance the Yankees won’t be all in, which in my mind makes the OVERALL odds about even.

          • Voice of Reason

            You do understand that the cubs have shown no signs of trying to improve? You additionally understand that the front office has said they will not be signing any big contracts this off season?

            That said, you will not change your mind about the cubs and yanks being the same odds at 20%?

            This is your chance to change the percentage for at least the cubs.

            • X The Cubs Fan

              I think it’s about right but id take 5% from the Dodgers and give it to the D-Backs. I doubt the Dodgers bid more than $120 million total.

            • ClevelandCubsFan

              The Cubs show no sign of improving? I think their bullpen looks way better and the rest of the team the same. So that’s a net improvement. Do you mean big name FAs? I’m not sure anyone uas signed at a price I’d be OK with if I’m in charge and the Cubs are rebuilding. What would constitute trying to improve?

              The FO has never said unequivocally there would be no big contacts this year. To the contrary, Hoyer has said they’ll be in on Tanaka.

              So, no… in light of your statementa not being an accurate description of reality… I’m not going to cgange my assessment. These atr riugh numbers. And as X points out… I missed the BoSox. They need to be accounted for a little more heavily. Maybe the Yanks are 22% and the Cubs are 18%. Not going to notpick percentage points. I will nitpick 10s of percentage points. (60-30-10???)

              • ClevelandCubsFan

                Sorry.. credit goes to johnny… not X

                • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

                  Well it stands to reason if the Yankees are on Tanaka then so will Boston. Seattle may be a player with Japanese ownership.

              • Voice of Reason

                The Cubs added a marginal closer and a couple of other bullpen arms. They hope the closer performs well so they can trade him before the 2014 trade deadline.

                You can say they improved the bullpen, but that’s like trying to close a hole in the Titanic.

                They’re not spending money. There were plenty of free agent position players that they simply passed on. They are in the middle of what’s called a rebuild. They’ll start trading and adding free agents to fill holes in a couple of years. Until then you’ll just have to be patient.

                The front office has said no big name signs or no big contracts this off season. Tanaka would qualify as a big contract. PLUS, there are other teams with deep pockets who are trying to win in 2014. There is no way the Cubs will up the ante and get where the Yankees or Dodgers will be with their offers. And, those same teams will not let Tanaka slip to the Cubs for $15 to $20 million dollars a year. AND, why would Tanaka want to come to the Cubs right now?

      • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

        BOSTON WILL BE IN ON TANAKA TOO. They can offer 30 mil per with a blink of an eye

  • Rodrick

    I believe that the cubs should not sign this player unless he is willing to take a contract for small money. The cubs should only sign a player they already had and money should go to the owners so the will be good. Then they will win.

    • Voice of Reason


      Why would he sign for less money to play with the cubs? Lmao

      • Marko

        I think he was being sarcastic

        • DarthHater

          Nope. Not sarcastic. He’s been playing the same tune for days.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I wouldn’t call it sarcasm, but it is a schtick. An annoying one.

            • DarthHater

              Speak softly and carry a big schtick.

    • babe ruth

      i agree the owners should be lining their pockets full. hell its their own money on the line if the cubs suck, which they wont

  • Voice of Reason

    Yankees 60%
    Dodgers 30%
    All other teams 20%

    • Voice of Reason

      All other teams should be 10%

      Sorry, too much makers mark tonight.

  • Oswego Chris

    Dodgers should be ahead of the Yankees…same agent as Kershaw and Greinke

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Same agent as about 25 players. Not sure how much that matters. (And I mean that genuinely: I’m really not sure how much it matters.)

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      That’s really encouraging. But the rub is that the Dodgers are going to have to resign Kershaw next year, Some estimates are 250 million to do the deal. In light of the Cano deal thats doesn’t seem like a pipe dream. Question is do they have enough to sign Tanaka and Kershaw? Kershaw is a proven comodity. But I won’t rule LA out.

      • Oswego Chris

        Yeah, after a bit of research, I think the Dodgers might not even be involved….assuming Kershaw gets a new deal…just say 25m per, they will have 200 m committed to 11 players, Forbes listed them at 1.6 billion, with 245 million in revenues(that’s prior to new TV deal, which should net them another 350-400m)…I just don’t see a 250 million dollar salary sustainable, even with that crazy TV $

    • fortyonenorth

      “…same agent as Kershaw and Greinke…”

      Same guy as Kershaw, Greinke AND Jeter. One wonders whether a preference for LA or NY inspired the choice of an agent who has successfully negotiated mega-deals with these franchises.

  • pfk

    Unfortunately, the new Posting system screws the Cubs.
    Under the old system they could have the highest posting fee and he wouldn’t really have much of a choice about the team he would play for. Now, the Cubs have the huge problem of him having a choice. And I just can’t see anyone with his talent choosing the Cubs. They could have a very high offer but it’s tough when you have to compete against the Dodgwrs, Yankees, etc.

  • Bill

    I don’t think the new posting system screws us, I think it helps the Cubs. The Yankees were prepared to blow everyone out of the water with the posting fee, knowing it didn’t count against the luxury tax. Now, they are going to have to pony up more to pay Tanaka, which will count against the cap. I think the Yanks are out. I’m not even worried about the Dodgers because of kershaw. I’m worried about the Angels or some surprise team. If they don’t pop up I think he’s the Cubs to lose.

    • Cheese Chad

      Absolutely true. The Cubs say they can match any money from anyone else. However the posting fee (usually a blind bid) could have really screwed the Cubs as well as most other teams.

    • pfk

      I wasn’t talking so much about the money but about he now has a choice of the type of ball club he wants. I can see him wanting to go to an instant contender as opposed to. Team in rebuild mode. Under the old system they had a chance to be his only choice. Frankly, given that he is only 25 and the Cubs could be really good in 2 years – for a long time, he should give the Cubs serious consideration. I just think that a West coast team might have more appeal.

  • waffle

    if they sign him, Kershaw AND Hanley that is just crazy crazy money. They already have a terrific starting pitching staff (more doesn’t hurt, I know) but geez. That’s like 1/2 a BILLION DOLLARS, right?

  • Oswego Chris

    Pathetically I have been perusing Cots baseball contracts on this Christmas night, Yankees financially are in much better position than the Dodgers to make a big push….so i have totally flip-flopped from my earlier post about the Dodgers being the favorites…

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    Hope springs eternal, or something like that. Im excited about the future…getting Tanaka would make me even more so and, really surprised! We Cubs fans deserve something like this to go our way.

    Hope all of your 2013’s end with a bang…and we, including the Cubs, progress in ’14. Yo Yo Yo Merry Today!

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      …and Everday!

  • Oswego Chris

    If the BoSawx are interested in Tanaka…look out, they have 90 million(yes, that’s right 90 million) coming off the books after 2014…yikes…

    • Bill

      I’m not sure the Red Sox aren’t a little gunshy after what happened with Dice K. They also have no need to take that financial risk. They are the reigning WS champs.

      • andrewd

        Agreed. Can’t imagine ownership would be thrilled to sign off on the new largest contract yet by an IFA SP.

  • Jimmy James

    Thanks for assisting the wife with my Xmas present brett, much appreciated…..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My pleasure. Merry Christmas.

      • Jimmy James

        Merry Christmas to you too, I hope you had a great one……

  • Blackhawks1963

    It’s not a question of whether the Cubs want Tanaka badly…because I think they do. It’s also not a question of having the salary flexibility to offer a giant contract…because I think TheoJed won’t be confined all that much by money.

    It is a question however of Tanaka wanting to play for the Cubs right now when he should have his choice of playing for contenders in the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers.

    My probability meter?

    Yankees 70%
    Angels 20%
    Dodgers 5%
    Mariners 5%
    Cubs and everybody else 0%

  • Abe Froman

    I am curious as to what people think is the max offer the FO should offer? The numbers I conjure from my colon are 140 – 160 over 7 or 8 years. I get why people will be miffed if the Cubs don’t sign him, I will be too, but hire will be at least five serious bidders they are going against and there has to be a breaking point. If you are someone that strongly doubts the direction the FO is steering the team all the more reason to come up with a number that you wouldn’t go beyond.

    • Oswego Chris

      Don’t count out Boston because of Dice-K, they have some serious room after this year and want to beat Yanks anyway they can…

      Just going off of the Forbes report and Cots salaries…the Cubs are in almost in a no-win situation here…if they don’t get him, pitchforks are out even more…to get him they are going to have to seriously overpay because there are 4-5 teams with the flexibility to make it happen

      • Abe Froman

        I hear you, if they lose out the pitchforks will definitely be out. The Cubs are negotiating against half a dozen, serious bidders, and if he gets 190 mil or whatever past a legitimate breaking point its a fail.

        • Oswego Chris

          As much as I would like him, if he ends up getting 25m per….yikes

          • Abe Froman

            Right and not a fail to me, I meant some fans. There is always a limit.

  • Bill

    Like pretty much every other FA, he’ll go with whoever offers him the most money. He’s not going to take $10-20M less for the “privilege” of playing with the Yanks. Put the Yanks at 20% and the Cubs at 50% and I think your probability meter is close.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Except that the Yankees are fully prepared to blow thru the luxury tax limit to get Tanaka. They also have screaming need for another frontline starter. Comical therefore of some Cub fans to keep presuming the Cubs will outbid any salary package the Yankees, Angels, Dodgers and even the lowly Mariners might offer.

      I want Tanaka badly. But given the circumstances if where the Cubs stand right now coupled with the 800 pound gorillas of baseball who also want Tanaka badly, I see zero percent chance we get him.

      What I do think happens is that TheoJed quickly turn their attention to Ubaldo Jimeniz once Tanaka signs elsewhere.

      • Abe Froman

        OK what would you do if you were in charge?

      • Oswego Chris

        Ubaldo costs a draft pick I believe….that won’t fly with this front office

        • Blackhawks1963

          The first pick of the Cubs in 2014 is protected. Signing Jimeniz would cost is the second round pick in exchange for a reliable starter to pencil in around Samardzija, Wood, Jackson and Arrieta. Club would take a next step forward in terms of pitching.

          The screaming need for more starting pitching doesn’t go away when we don’t get Tanaka.

          • Jimmy James

            ill continue trumpeting Scott baker….I know that everyone is down on him after the injury last year but he was effective in Minnesota and should come cheap w/out draft pick compensation.

      • Rebuilding

        When you say “fully blow through the salary cap” you do realize that means they are paying $1.5 for every $1 the Cubs are willing to go. Not to mention the taxes in those states would take another 5% (half home games) on top

      • Bill

        Exactly how do you know the Yankees plan to “fully blow through the salary cap”? Are you working in the Yankees FO? Do you know Cashman? Is it not possible that the Yanks are trying to scare off the Red Sox and other AL teams from getting involved with Tanaka? Theo used to do this all the time when he was GM of the Red Sox.

      • TulaneCubs

        Except that the Yankees are not prepared to blow thru the luxury tax limit to get Tanaka. They also have screaming need for another frontline starter, but they can’t afford a top guy and will only pursue a starter once they find a place for Gardner and can fit that starter under the luxury tax. Comical therefore of some Cub fans to keep presuming the Cubs can’t outbid any salary package the Yankees, Angels, Dodgers and even the lowly Mariners might offer.

        I want Tanaka badly. Given the circumstances of where the Cubs stand right now, I see a decent chance we get him even with the competition.

        What I do think happens is that TheoJed quickly turn their attention to anyone but Ubaldo Jimenez if Tanaka signs elsewhere.

        Fixed that for you. You’re not the only one who can spout off in certainties when in reality you have no idea WTF is going on.

  • Cub Lifer

    Tanaka has selected Casey Close to be his agent. His prominent clients include Jeter, Kershaw and Greinke. He is LA based. He has no clients in the Cubs. Leading some sources, to include Bob Nightengale, to infer that Tanaka has very strong interest in playing for the Dodgers or Yankees. Also, Close’s agency has a subsidiary that handles media. Tanaka’s wife has an aspiring career in tv journalism and talk shows, leading Nightengale to further speculate Mr and Mrs Tanaka want to be based in Hollywood or NY.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      Being in Chicago to start really hurt Oprah didn’t it. Yeah she would absolutely need to be in LA or NY to start a TV talk show.

  • Bill

    Agent smagent. I heard he and Fujikawa are the best of buds, and when kids they could always be found hanging out at the arcades. I’ve also heard his childhood idol is Fukudome. His friends have said, he’s always dreamed about playing for the same team as his idol. :-)

    It’s money people. Show me the money. Forget all the other nonsense.

    • daveyrosello

      Either you’re delusional, or not very informed. Tanaka was a teammate of Iwakuma’s for many years. Iwakuma (he’s several years older) is Tanaka’s idol and mentor. Iwakuma plays for Seattle. I’ll let you connect the dots from there.

      • Patrick W.

        There is always the possibility he is neither delusional nor ill informed and the real problem is you don’t understand satire.

        • frank

          A distinct possibility . . .

  • Patrick W.

    I still contend we are going to see a significant signing bonus if the Cubs sign him. Like 15-25% of the total contract. Maybe up to 30MM on 6 year 140MM contract. That up front cash might be an excellent incentive for Tanaka to sign with the Cubs.

    Maybe 30 bonus then salaries of:

    • Rebuilding

      Not saying you are wrong, but why do you think so? I understand the advantage of laying out as much cash as you can during a low payroll, non-competitive year, but $20 mil + $30 mil + $12 mil = $62 mil is a lot to plunk down in a year for one guy

      • Patrick W.

        My hypothesis is that signing bonuses are considered special one-time allotments and aren’t considered payroll in the alleged payroll/revenue restrictions in the terms of the Cubs purchase.

        If Tanaka wants to play on a coast or wants to play for a more immediate contender, the Cubs are going to have to pay some premium to convince him to come to Chicago which is obviously none of those. So if you’re payroll payments restricted and you want to pay enough to get him , huge upfront money is your best bargaining chip.

        • Patrick W.

          Lot of assumptions there. Also signing bonus could be paid out in 2years.

  • Pingback: The Cubs Are Hiring and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Chuck24

    If the Cubs could Tanaka…and that is a big “IF”…I think would be great. He fits right in with their rebuilding model of going with good, young talent. He’s only 24…Hope it happens, but not holding my breath on this. It would also send a message to the fans that maybe we’re not going to have to wait until 2017 or later to start being competitive.

  • Pingback: Meta: Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Hearty Thanks | Bleacher Nation | Unofficial Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Need more baseball goodness? Check out BN Baseball - Videos, Plays, and Other Baseball Fun.