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masahiro tanakaThe deadline for signing Masahiro Tanaka is January 24, but that doesn’t mean he can’t come to terms with a team much sooner than that. Worth keeping in mind …

  • To that point, the Yankees have already contacted Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, to start discussions, according to Marc Carig. The Yankees have long been viewed as the prohibitive favorite on Tanaka – though the reasons for their favorite status have changed as the posting system evolved – so the fact that they are being aggressive is no surprise. Increasingly, it’s becoming accepted that the Yankees will not be burdened by the $189 million luxury tax cap, regardless of the outcome of the Alex Rodriguez suspension. In other words, according to the prevailing rumors of the day, the Yankees are going to go all out to get Tanaka, regardless of the financial implications. Those implications are significant: not only are the Yankees due to pay 40% of the amount they are over the tax cap (not really a big deal – if they go over by $10 million, that’s just another $4 million for them to pay), but they also forfeit certain revenue-sharing refund dollars that could amount to tens and tens of millions of dollars over the course of the next few years. Is Tanaka really worth $20 million (posting fee) plus $120 million (contract estimate) plus $10 million (luxury tax hit estimate) plus untold millions tied to the revenue-sharing rebates? That’s not a loaded question, because the answer may well be, “yeah, he might.” The Yankees need starting pitching like whoa, and missing the playoffs is a huge financial hit to them.
  • How much will Tanaka cost? We’ve all been throwing out numbers blindly, but it sounds like we’re in the right range, according to sources of Bob Nightengale’s – they say the bidding starts at $17 million per year. At six years, that’s just north of $100 million – plus $20 million for the posting fee, and you’ve got the six-year, $120 million minimum we’ve all kind of implicitly been starting with. For me, I can easily see the bidding reaching six years and $120 million (just for the contract), or even seven years and $140 million.
  • Gabe Kapler writes that he’s also heard six years and $100 million will be the starting point, and he does some WAR/$ calculating that suggests Tanaka will be worth something right there in the six year, $120/$125 million range. There’s so much estimating and projection involved there that I’m not really going to do much WAR calculating with Tanaka. You’ve just gotta trust your scouts, and roll the dice on the upside (and you’ve got to be in a position where a $120 million bust out isn’t going to cripple your organization).
  • A baseball official tells the New York Daily News that the Mariners are “going to be a factor” in the Tanaka chase. Maybe so – with huge dollars already committed to Robinson Cano, the Mariners’ window to compete is suddenly “immediately.” Tanaka would help. Will ownership support making two enormous bets in the same offseason? If rumors of a possible sale in the next few years are true (publicly, Mariners ownership denies it), the answer easily could be yes.
  • The Dodgers continue to play it coy about having any interest in signing Tanaka, which is humorous given that every outsider lists them among the top two or three possible landing spots. Are they just engaging in gamesmanship, or are they seriously going to pass on an opportunity to SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS?
  • Peter Abraham writes that there is no sign yet that the Red Sox are interested in Tanaka. Once again, their name comes up frequently from outside observers, but with an overflowing staff, a bad previous experience in this arena, and a new-found aversion to significant, long-term commitments, there are reasons to question the Red Sox’s involvement (or least, there are reasons to credit sources who suggest that the Red Sox aren’t going to be serious suitors). Still, I can’t quite count them out.
  • Evan Grant does some serious shuffling and calculating to come up with ways the Rangers could afford Tanaka, though he concedes it’s a longshot.
  • Joel Sherman lists the Cubs among eight contenders, with the Yankees, for Tanaka, saying that folks in the industry expect the Cubs to be “significant bidders.” Ignore that part about not competing until 2016. Hopefully Tanaka ignores it, as well.
  • Kramden

    Yankees can offer Tanaka an aging roster with no closer, they lost their best player to the Mariners, A-Rod’s gone with Jeter and others needing to be replaced in a year or two along with a barren minor league system.

    Dollars being equal, compare that to what the Cubs can offer and tell me which team you would choose if you were Tanaka?

    • CubFan Paul

      “Dollars being equal…which team you would choose if you were Tanaka?”

      The Yankees. The Cubs will have to outbid the crowd (they have the payroll room to do so (a lot of others don’t)).

      • Eternal pessemist

        …and the Yankees can always reload/replace the aging guys with their superior revenue stream. Having anither 50-60 million to spend on payroll is a huge advantage.

        • When the Music’s Over

          50 – 60M more payroll. More like ~100M more payroll. The Yankees really have no limit, or at the very least, a very soft one.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          I truly question the ability of the Yankees to compete annually going forward through FA. With the way things are the best players are typically not hitting FA, like Wright, Longoria, Votto, and a list of others. The players who have hit FA are typically older and have declined right away. IF they truly want to stay under the luxury tax with the mega-deals out there, they will have to build through their farm somewhat, whether its with trades or them coming up. That is how they mostly built their core over the last 20 years.

          • Voice of Reason

            Why do you have to build through free agency alone?

            Teams are also allowed to do what’s called “trading”.

            The Yankees have the ability to take on monster contracts from other teams that are looking to move those players to trim salary.

    • Voice of Reason

      Kramden,

      The Yankees can also offer a track record of spending, spending, spending to bring in proven major league talent. A history of winning World Series. A history of being competitive.

      If you’re Tanaka it’s not even a question of Yanks or Cubs and it shows you’re drinking too much Cubby Blue if you think otherwise.

      Just ask Joe Girardi!

      • Kramden

        All of you are alluding to the fact that the Yankees can reload by buying whichever players they want. But who’s available for them to buy? Just about every good player is locked in with their current long term contract and it would take the Yankees the length of a Tanaka contract to reload that way.

        • Voice of Reason

          At what position do they need to buy or add? Third base? Second base? Other than that they’re set at every position for 2014. If someone wants to unload their high priced veteran third baseman in June then the Yankees will take him. Same thing at second. If Jeter is hurt at short, they’ll go get a short stop, too. They’re the Yankees, Kramden, that’s what they do.

          What they lack is starting pitching! HEY…. THEY CAN BUY TANAKA! There is the answer to your question. Who can they buy? They need a starter and Tanaka is there, BINGO!

          • Voice of Reason

            And, I should have added… the Yankees will be competitive in 2014. They are every year.

            That’s the selling point when you ask if Tanaka should go for the Yanks or the Cubs. Seriously? It’s a no brainer.

            Again, ask Joe Girardi!

            • half_full_beer_mug

              You keep talking about Girardi, either you don’t have a family or you are dismissing the effect of moving a family with school age children because it doesn’t fit your argument.

              • Voice of Reason

                half_full_beer_mug,

                You do understand that Girardi was the Marlins manager in 2006? That’s 7 years ago. He moved his family from Florida to New York. That effected the kids.

                Also, you can’t even compare the life of a baseball player/manager to an average guy. Girardi is making millions. He could keep his family in New York and manage the Cubs. There are other ball players/managers who do this, play in one town and have the family half way across the country. Baseball is played in the summer time while the kids are out of school. It can be worked around.

                The bottom line is… Girardi stayed in New York because the Yankees win.

                • TK

                  You obviously dont have kids, nor, most likely, a wife.

              • CubFan Paul

                “either you don’t have a family or you are dismissing the effect”

                When they say it’s not about the money…

          • half_full_beer_mug

            I’m not so sure I agree that they are set at every position but 1, 4, and 5. Even if that’s the case being iffy in the pitching department seems to be a pretty big deal.

    • MP4

      Then there is the being part of a 90+ loss team in 2014, probably 2015, as well, as opposed to to a team that never tanks.
      Then there is absolute worst facilities in the Majors–soon to be renovated to 1990s level quality!– Except the renovations, like the ETA of the team being remotely competitive keep getting pushed back for some strange reason– vs a new, state of the art stadium.
      Then there is being part of the most famous (and winningest) franchise in American sports as opposed to the punchline of every joke.

      Just because you want the Cubs to be the more desirable destination, it doesn’t make it true.

    • Johnathon

      Yankees, quite easily.

  • DarthHater

    Deep dish pizza vs. baked cardboard. :-P

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wrong.

      • DarthHater

        Impostor Chicago fan. ;-)

      • frank

        I was in New York and ordered a pizza. They put American cheese on it. True story. Absolutely horrifying . . .

        • DarthHater

          This is why I have a Death Star…

        • chrisfchi

          They may be bad at pizza, but the best pastrami sandwich I ever had was in New York

  • mjhurdle

    Not sure why you wasted so much space in this article Brett.
    Didn’t you get the memo that Tanaka has a 75% chance to go to the Yankees and a 25% chance to go to the Dodgers?

    Talking about anything else is pointless :)

    • DarthHater

      A blog about nothing. Who says a blog has to have a subject? Remember when that “It’s Friday, Friday, Friday” girl released a follow-up called “Saturday”? That could be a blog topic!

  • Rudiger

    Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus predicts that the Cubs will sign Tanaka. This was on the Effectively Wild podcast, which is recommended.

    • cubfanbob

      which date as the podcast Rudiger ?

      • Rudiger

        12/26

  • Aaron

    The Cubs will not be able to “hide” behind we gave it our best effort but didn’t sign Tanaka. If they get out bid, they get out bid. But, they really need to give it a solid effort if they truly are sincere in their intentions of signing him. To me, their credibility as men and baseball professionals are on the line on this one. Honesty and transparency is required.

    • gocatsgo2003

      “Required?” By whom?

      • DarthHater

        By the credibility as men police.

        • gocatsgo2003

          [img]http://neatbackyardstuff.com/images/uploads/Man%20Law%20Logo.jpg[/img]

    • Voice of Reason

      Aaron typed: “To me, their credibility as men and baseball professionals are on the line on this one. Honesty and transparency is required.”

      Don’t you think you’re a little over the top with that statement?

      Are Cubs fans going to stop going to the ballpark because Theo and Company weren’t credible and honest and transparent in what occurs/occured in the Tanaka negotiations? Really?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, how can there be transparency when the FO really does NOT want other teams to know how much they are offering? If Tanaka’s agent says that the Cubs are offering X, then the Cubs and agent want the Yanks, Braves, Dodgers, etc., to be able to think: he’s bluffing, the Cubs are not topping our offer.

        (And they all want the Cubs FO to think the same about the agent’s claims about their offers, too: and the agents want to be able to lie or at least stretch the truth.)

        • DarthHater

          Robots cannot be expected to understand the concept of credibility as men.

        • Rodrick

          Let’s be real here – the FO is trying to look good because it’s secret. They’ll bid 1 dollar and then say they did their best with the resources available. Then they’ll pick up a player or two off of a waiver line that will cost about 2-3m, which will go to total waste. Every year Theo wastes 8-9m on failed waiver lines instead of investing in the team. These guys are jokers who relied on others to clean up their messes before. Now they’re messing all over themselves and calling it chocolate.

          • bbmoney

            Its hard when you start, “let’s be real here” and then just make up a totally implausible scenario.

            • Rodrick

              The whole scenario is improbable. Especially the improbable scenario of contending within the next 4 years. And it’s not because they’re rebuilding.

              • Chef Brian

                Go back to the Brewers or Indians or whichever team you actually root for.

            • DarthHater

              Yea, and based on Wodwick’s previous posts, we have come to expect so much more from him.

          • Voice of Reason

            Rodrick,

            You should pass the joint around the table. After all, it’s the Holiday Season.

            • Rodrick

              Theo has already passed around the opiate of the (cubs) people.

          • frank

            “These guys are jokers who relied on others to clean up their messes before.”

            I know I’m asking for trouble, but care to elaborate on that gem? And btw–every front office spends money on waiver picks that don’t work out.

            • frank

              On second thought–forget it.

        • Fishin Phil

          Doc, They are just supposed to call Aaron and inform him of their plans. He won’t tell any of the other teams, honest!

          • frank

            That’s how they assure their credibility as men.

  • Rodrick

    I believe that the cubs should not sign Tanaka. We should stay the course and wait until minor leaguers give us players that we already have because they will be stars. When they are stars we will win. The owners should not spend money on players that we do not have because we have players that we already have. Getting new players never works so we should stay with players that we should have. Then we will win.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Let this be the last one of these you post. It’s tired. And so am I.

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3781/11587312314_01147fb335_o.png[/img]

  • Rodrick

    I dunno, this Rodrick character is making a lot more sense than most of the arguments about the Cubs out there!

    • cubmig

      “I dunno, this Rodrick character is making a lot more sense than most of the arguments about the Cubs out there!”

      …….only if you’re a Rip Van Winkle type…..

    • Lou Brown

      Did you try to post under another pseudonym to agree with yourself, and screw it up?

      • Rodrick

        nope!

        • frank

          So you posted under your own name, to agree with yourself, and did this intentionally . . .

          • Rodrick

            Just like the FO employees who post here.

            • Lukas

              Well at least they’re currently running the org. You need to go back and report to Hendry that your attempted infiltraion of BN was a waste of time.

              Get over it man, you guys were fired!

          • baldtaxguy

            Good stuff. Screen name slippage is fun to watch.

        • DarthHater

          [img]http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/i-meant-to-do-that.png[/img]

      • mjhurdle

        lol, i was thinking the same thing Lou.

        nothing like a fake validation attempt failure.

      • Chef Brian

        Maybe he’s like Ricky Henderson and speaks only in the third person. ie: “Ricky doesn’t like that.”

        • DocPeterWimsey

          An illeist!

          (Yeah, they made a word for that….)

    • Jason P

      Did you happen to recently change your name from Brains to Rodrick?

    • E

      Ha! You meant to post under a different screen name in order to give yourself support. That’s awesome.

      • DarthHater

        I hear you can go blind doing that.

      • E

        I don’t know about that but when I was sixteen, I self-supported so much I wore out my pitching arm.

    • greenroom

      Jimmy likes Elaine.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Baseball Prospectus had a very interesting writeup and Tanaka today.

    Main points:

    1) he has good stuff, with great control, but expect that to degrade in MLB
    2) he’s been durable, but extremely overworked, notably during the years when you shouldn’t be overworking pitchers
    3) he heavily relies on breaking stuff, which is another injury red flag
    3) his mechanics have gotten sloppy, especially recently
    4) he’s a definite notch below Darvish
    5) he should perform very well his first run the MLB, but after that he will get challenged and likely struggle
    5) he’s a good pitcher and could prove to be a good investment.

    My summary: good stuff and a great competitor, but tread light in terms of injury red flags. What does that mean to me? 7/140 plus a 20M posting fee sounds like a very risky contract.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Sorry about the poor numbering and typos. This post was written on my phone, and therfore underwent very little editing.

    • CubFan Paul

      “he has good stuff, with great control, but expect that to degrade in MLB”

      Not in the NL Central.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      That sounds a whole lot like Dice-K. Which falls in line with most of the comps I’m hearing from so called “experts” which is well below Yu but should be better than Dice-K. Probably not a true #1, but may project as a solid #2.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Is take Dice K before the injury you can never be afraid of the unknown injury, if his medicals look good you trust the talent not the fear – anyone can breakdown. Did anyone see Kemp getting injured like he did after signing that huge contract with the Dodgers? Injuries happen you just have to take the gamble.

        • Jason P

          Daisuke was actually never all that good. He simply outpitched his peripherals the first few years he was here. His 2008, 2010, and 2013 FIPS were all within .29 points of each other.

        • half_full_beer_mug

          Yes I’m assuming they are talking about Dice-K pre-injury.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    I hope I’m wrong, but the bidding seems like it could reach the realm of the insane here. This guy is a great talent, to be sure, but if the bidding for 6-7 years reaches 195-200+ million (not including posting fee) I’m out, and I hope Theo and Jed are to (granted this may be an extreme example, but they Yanks, and Dodgers, seem to have deleted the term spending limit from their vocabulary). I personally don’t think the Cubs will be outbid, but at that level, we could be nearing a win the battle, and lose the war point, Personally, I don’t want all that money wrapped up in one player, and I don’t want him at that cost. My hope is, that as fans we don’t either. That said, I’m proud of what our Front office has done, and I hope this turns out in our favor.

  • When the Music’s Over

    I can’t say I agree. The NL central should be tough over the next few years. Cardinals score a ton of runs, the Reds are tough and I expect the Pirates lineup to get better in the near future.

    2013 runs scored rankings:

    Cardinals – 3rd
    Reds – 12th
    Pirates – 19th
    Brewers – 20th

    Not one of these teams were in the bottom third and the Brewers missed Braun for 50 games

  • Blackhawks1963

    There is a ton of mileage already on Tanaka. The chances of him breaking down or not so good have to be factored. That said there is a feeding frenzy for his services.

  • Michael

    Am I the only one who doesn’t want to see the Cubs give a huge contract to a pitcher who has never pitched in the majors before. This would be so silly. If he is a bust it will hurt our ability to sign top free agents down the road when are prospects are up and we are ready to contend. This is too great of a risk so early in our rebuilding phase. I understand he could be great and an ace for this staff but there is also an equal chance he ends up being complete bust. We know plenty of busts. Irabu, Igawa, Matsuzaka, Fukudome, Nomo, Kazuo Matsui, Tadahito Iguchi.

    • Rodrick

      Rodrick agrees!

    • FullCountTommy

      Nomo is the furthest thing from a bust, so please check your facts

    • cub2014

      micheal, it makes me nervous. Length of contract will
      be key. The bad is if we dont sign him someone (a
      future playoff team) will. its not like his 15-20mil is going
      to kill our payroll going forward (there arent many FA
      available to sign the next 2 years anyway).Another
      14-18 mil will be dropping off the payroll in 2015. So
      I say let go for it.

    • mjhurdle

      you can say the part about the bust to most any Free Agent though.
      There are plenty of Free Agents that work out great, and others that bust out (Kevin Brown anyone?).

      At this point i view Tanaka as a notch above a highly rated prospect that has performed well in AAA. No real MLB experience, but plenty of indications that the stuff will translate well.
      Some risk that it won’t, or he will get injured, or maybe become content with the money and lose some of the desire.
      I think he is worth the risk from what I know.
      But I know that the Cubs front offices know a heck of a lot more than I do, and they see the same possible risks and more than I do. So if they go all out for him, it is because they feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, and I am content with that.

      • When the Music’s Over

        “So if they go all out for him, it is because they feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, and I am content with that.”

        Or the Cubs have gotten desperate and some sort of momentum has led them to believe they must sign him or bust. I normally would think this front office is better than that, but if true, the whole “we will not be outbid for him” stuff suggests that this might really be the case.

        Who really knows, but I really hope it’s the former and not the latter.

    • Jon

      Nomo was far from a bust, and Kazuo Matsui wasn’t even a pitcher. Get your facts straight dope.

  • Bluz Cluz

    Its crazy to assume that Tanaka will choose any team over the Cubs, or the Cubs over any team. How much does Tanaka really know about the states. Most of the information he has, or will have, will come from his agent. An agent who already knows the Cubs are willing to bid high, and who gets paid more based off of the contract he gets his player. That agent would be dumb to down talk the Cubs when it could be his most lucrative landing spot. Nevermind that this contract will set precedence. If the Cubs are willing to outbid everyone, no matter the price, then the chances of him coming to Chicago would be 90-95%. Notice I said “IF”. There isa small chance he doesnt choose the biggest contract, but those chances are very small.

  • Senor Cub

    so it sounds like the Cubs have $100-120M to spend here. So why not get other pitchers that are still on the market while everyone else fights for Tanaka. Only one team will get Tanaka at which point they will turn to the Garza’s of the world still waiting for a contract. So why not have the Cubs secure the best pitchers left in the market. You can then trade them next year, flip them, etc….Pitching is not going to go out of style after whoever signs Tanaka.

    • Eric

      Tanaka is 25 and not tied to draft pick compensation – that is why. You’d really rather spend that kind of money on Jimenez, Santana or Garza? No thanks.

      • Voice of Reason

        Eric,

        It all depends on what each team’s situation is.

        If I was in need of a solid starter I would roll the dice on Garza, Jimenez or Santana! It may be that I don’t have enough to land Tanaka and/or I don’t want to take the chance that Tanaka is a bust or I can’t afford to take the chance that he is a bust!

        I might not care that I lose a draft pick by signing Garza, Jimenez or Santana because of what my team needs are.

        • Eric

          Voice of Reason – Absolutely, any of those guys might make more sense for another team than Tanaka would for any number of reasons but Senor Cub was referring to the Cubs. IMO, Tanaka makes more sense to the Cubs than any of those guys.

          • Voice of Reason

            Eric,

            Why?

            • Eric

              As I stated above, age and lack of draft pick compensation. Santana and Jimenez have been very inconsistent throughout their career while we know Garza will not be coming back. If our front office is confident in the talent level then Tanaka fits very will with the plan.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          Garza isn’t tied to draft pick compensation…not sure about the other two.

  • abe

    The New York media says if the Yankees go over the cap it will cost the 80 mill.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I can’t wait to read the details – I knew there was a potentially very large number attached to it.

    • Bluz Cluz

      That sounds about right for 200 million payroll at 40% penalty.

      • TulaneCubs

        The penalty only applies to the part they’re over. If it’s a $200M payroll, they’re only over by $11 million. Also, the penalty is 50%, so the Yankees would only owe $5.5M in luxury tax payments.

        • cubfanincardinalland

          I have read several articles stating the Yankees were already at the salary cap, even excluding the entire amount owed to A Rod this season.

  • Voice of Reason

    I think it’s amazing how much publicity Tanaka is getting here!

    We’re not talking about Cy Young! The guy has a lot of innings on his arm and he throws a lot of breaking stuff. Not a good combination whether you’re 25, 20, 30 or 35. We’re not one pitcher away from competing for the World Series. There will be a top of the rotation starter available when we are ready to compete!

    Kind of reminds me how people were saying we had to have Girardi, then Ellsbury… then we had to have Choi…. now it’s Tanaka.

    There is a trend here… the Cubs are not spending big bucks this off season. I hate to see all of you being disappointed when the Lovable Losers swing and miss on this Tanaka character! Just like Girardi, Ellsbury and Choi!

    • FullCountTommy

      Will there be a 25 year old top of the rotation starter available where the only cost is money when the Cubs are ready to compete?? Highly doubtful.

      • Voice of Reason

        First of all we don’t know that Tanaka will be a top of the rotation starter.

        Second, the top of the rotation starter might not be 25 that we would get in a trade or as a free agent when we’re ready to compete, but when we’re ready to compete Tanaka won’t be 25… he’ll be more like 29!

        • FullCountTommy

          All scouting indicates that he is at worst a #2 starter. Even if you say he is 29, how many #2 starters become available as free agents without draft pick compensation tied to them at 29? Also, signing Tanaka speeds up the timeline quite a bit, with 2015 becoming a season where the Cubs can definitely compete.

          • brickhouse

            The scouts project the ceiling not the floor for Tanaka as a #2 starter – he could end up much worse

          • Voice of Reason

            Fullcountytommy

            How many #2 starters sign for $140 million a year over 7 years? And, that’s assuming he is a #2 starter!

            Adding one player does not speed up the timeline!

            • X The Cubs Fan

              I bet Ervin Santana and Matt Garza get 100 million and they’re #3 starters most years.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Any team that has one of those guy going #3 is going to have a very fine pitching staff. Remember, if you divided the Top 60 starters evenly among all 30 teams, you’d give each one their #1 & #2 starters. Given xFIP, both guys were easily in the Top 60 last year.

                That written, if you can get a staff so that one of these two is your #3, then it will take an appalling offense to keep you out of competition.

                • Bill

                  “That written, if you can get a staff so that one of these two is your #3, then it will take an appalling offense to keep you out of competition.”

                  Or you could have a terrible 4 and 5 starting pitchers, or maybe a terrible bullpen which could keep you out of competition.

    • YourResidentJag

      Choi…as in bok choi! ;)

    • baldtaxguy

      Not sure I would consider the attention Tanaka is getting as particularly unexpected. The Cubs have signaled they are a major suitor for his services, so this and other Cubs boards are naturally responding to that, as well as the boards supporting the other clubs in the mix. I think it would be “amazing” if there was not this level of activity. But I’m sure you too are not “amazed.”

      Tanaka has facts that fit the direction the Cubs are taking, vs. simply being charcterized as Cy Young and the one piece away from the World Series. I have not read anyone making such claims, or at least seriously.

      “There will be a top of the rotation starter available when we are ready to compete!”

      He has facts that fit the direction the Cubs are taking today…..during a “rebuild” at some point you “build.” This is a building.

      “Kind of reminds me how people were saying we had to have Girardi, then Ellsbury… then we had to have Choi….”

      Girardi may have been the exception, but each of Ellsbury and Choi had some hair on them with respect to the big $$ outlay relative to the timing of their level of contribution “when the Cubs are ready to compete.” Those two may never be peaking performance-wise as the club does. Tanaka has little to no hair on this issue – his age fits.

      “There is a trend here… the Cubs are not spending big bucks this off season. I hate to see all of you being disappointed when the Lovable Losers swing and miss on this Tanaka character! Just like Girardi, Ellsbury and Choi!”

      Thanks for cautioning what you see as an an inevitable fail, but I don’t believe for a second you would hate to see it.

      • Voice of Reason

        “He has facts that fit the direction the Cubs are taking today…..during a “rebuild” at some point you “build.” This is a building.”

        The Cubs are not in a position to build yet. There will be a top of the rotation man available at the time we are ready to compete.

        “but each of Ellsbury and Choi had some hair on them with respect to the big $$ outlay relative to the timing of their level of contribution “when the Cubs are ready to compete.” Those two may never be peaking performance-wise as the club does. Tanaka has little to no hair on this issue – his age fits.”

        I’m guessing by referencing “hair” you are meaning years of service? Tanaka has an extensive number of innnings pitched with a reliance on the breaking ball. He certainly does have “hair” on him. Hell, he’s growing a beard!

        “Thanks for cautioning what you see as an an inevitable fail, but I don’t believe for a second you would hate to see it.”

        Well, you’re wrong. I don’t want to see them sign Tanaka and they won’t. They are going to stick to the plan. That plan is to develop minor league talent and add pieces through trades and free agency when they are ready to compete. They are not in that position yet. That is why the front office came out and said they will not be signing any big name free agents to big money deals. They have been consistent with that statement the entire off season.

        We’re all just going to have to be patient.

    • frank

      We did have Hee Sop Choi a long time ago–he wasn’t all that great. Didn’t know he was still playing . . . :-)

      You make some good points about the innings and the breaking stuff, but a lot of pitchers remain very effective at 29, and even into their 30s–so I think age by itself isn’t so much a problem–the wear on the arm should be a concern though.

  • Cheese Chad

    When did this blog get so many Yankee fans?

  • BobbyK

    Speaking of lovable losers, I had heard that Tanaka’s Japan team held a similar title. Does anyone think the aforementioned teams reputations come into play? All of those teams can find a way to come up with the $ part. So it kinda comes down to who has the most appeal. Yankees evil empire, Dodgers somewhat smug demeanor and stadium gang fights or the Lovable losers desperate for a title? Is there an appeal for a foreign born player to be a big fish and bring a title home to a lovable team with a long championship drought or would he rather be a somewhat smaller fish on a team in a market that expects to win every year. Forgive the fish reference i couldnt think of a better term.

    Also, I had heard that Tanaka’s wife is a starlet in the making. Does that come into play? You know how ladies can be with their controlling ways.

    I guess my overall point is that I think the financial part may be the least important part at this point. It is figured out (Blank check) style. He is gonna get paid fat no matter what team. Jed and Theo gotta sell the team dynamic and sell Chicago now.

    Slightly off topic but Japanese culture seems to have a real soft spot for underdogs. Seven Samurai is pop culture. “Deru kugi wa utareru” is a Japanese proverb that means, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.“ Cubs would be the hammer in that reference. Yanks and LA the nails.

    • DarthHater

      “You know how ladies can be with their controlling ways.”

      No, please tell us. :-P

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Better yet, oink it for us!

        • DarthHater

          There’s nothing more annoying than a politically correct robot.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            You’ve never used Windows, then….

  • Ivy Walls

    Cubs can force the issue, I think go as high as 6 yrs $150M or more, and even if they lose they would send a message the following years that they are in the big name game as long as it is smart, $25M av per plus $ 3.5 amortized over the 6. If Yanks or Seattle or LAD sign him they will have to match or do better and that will hurt them in the future either locking up their roster with liabilities or revenue sharing and salary cap sanctions. Either way, draining competitive franchises or beating them is all good and part of a bigger plan towards a WS ticket.

    Cubs have an est $75M in current payroll liabilities, and 2015 $14.5M come off the books so adding $25-28M takes them back to $100-$103M. They could trim a few million by trading Samardz, Schierholtz, Villaneuva, Russell and Barney and bring it down $7-9M depending on arbitration or signings. Actually they could sign Samardz after Tanaka if they were fortunate to sign and land, and pay this year’s arb value while trading off Villaneuva, Russell and Barney.

    They are in an aggressive position

    • Voice of Reason

      $150 over 6 years is $25 million dollars a year.

      That’s silly. That’s like doing a Soriano contract.

      Gang, we have to wait until the kids develop and then fill in holes.

      That is not part of the rebuilding plan, to add a starting pitcher in 2014 for $25 million dollars a year. They’re just not going to do that.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Except Soriano was 31 and Tanaka is 25. Gotta think that gives him an advantage in actually living up to the value of that contract over its duration.

        • DarthHater

          There you go with those pesky facts again…

      • Jon

        Sorianos contract was never an albatross that people make it out to be

        • cubfanincardinalland

          100 percent correct. I know a lot of Cardinal fans and they always talked about Sori like he was one of the worst players in the league. He would have lead them in home runs and rbi’s the last two seasons. There are only 68 players in the 130 year history of baseball that have hit more home runs than him, but people act like he is a bum. I am looking forward to his return to Wrigley this summer.

          • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

            He ever hit 40 bombs in a year for the Cubs and/or swipe 30 or more bases for the Cubs. I understand he had great performance before he was a Cub. That is why the contract can be considered as a bust which is different than calling Sori a bust….

        • Brian Myers

          Well, his last 4 years as a Cub Sori batted about .250 with 25 hr’s and 82 RBI’s a year. His average salary was 18 million year. To put that in perspective, from 1983-1986 Jody Davis (former Cubs catcher) batted .252 with 20 hr’s and 77 RBI’s a year.

          I should note, I loved watching Jody Davis growing up a young Cubs fan. Other than Sandberg and Sutcliffe, he was my favorite player. Sori was also certainly productive. But Sori’s stats in the 2010’s are not the same as Jody Davis stats in the big ballpark, light hitting 1980’s.

          I agree, it wasn’t an albatross of a contract, but it was still a bad contract.

        • Jason P

          Soriano’s contract was horrible and if not for a late career revival, it would have been historically bad. He put 7.3 WAR in his 6 and a half seasons here, which averages out to about 1.2 per year. That’s essentially $18 million/yr. for 4th outfielder production.

          I have absolutely no problem with him personally, and I think it’s a shame that it was falsely reported that he was a clubhouse cancer. It’s not his fault the Cubs overpaid for him.

          But from a production-only standpoint, his contract is still up there among the worst in team history.

          • Kyle

            The difference between bWAR and fWAR on Soriano is fascinating.

            fWAR says Soriano was worth 18.9 WAR as a Cub for the same period.

            • Jason P

              That is interesting. Usually I use bWAR, but I probably should have checked fWAR.

          • cubfanincardinalland

            You might want to redo your math Jason. His 18 WAR was worth 90 million.

          • hansman

            “But from a production-only standpoint, his contract is still up there among the worst in team history.”

            Barry Zito would like a word. So would Carl Crawford.

            • CubFan Paul

              I was going to make a case for Crawford but not with $21M owed for 4 more years

            • Jason P

              I mean in Cubs team history. Up there with Bradley, Hundley, and probably a few others I can’t think of that were signed before I was born.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Have to get players when they are available. Doesn’t matter where you are when they are available if the money is there. 25 yr old TOR starters don’t grow on trees or the FA tree.

        • Scotti

          Exactly. Teams haves been locking up their TOR pitchers. That makes the few who do become available via trade our free agency that much more expensive. Strike when the iron is hot.

          • Scotti

            This is especially true if you aren’t going to use your top draft picks on pitchers. Guys like this don’t come around often AND he only costs cash. Zero prospects to trade and zero draft picks to lose.

  • Darth Ivy

    Pushing up the ETA on being competitive and interesting could be worth overspending

    • Scotti

      And, if Tanaka sells a hundred thousand tickets, keeps a couple hundred thousand from leaving (as they no doubt would if the Cubs pull an O-fer on the off-season), then he actually than pays for himself. Especially if people start showing up to games that they have already paid for (even if only for his starts) as no-shows have been atrocious.

  • Martin

    I would not be shocked if Tanaka got 7/$175.

  • commander bob

    How many posts will there be about Tanaka in the next month? I can not wait for registration.

    • Martin

      It’s the the biggest story in baseball right now. Why the griping?

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Cause that is what he does. It is either Tanaka or a Shark trade. That is the only thing going on in Cubs world. In the rest of the baseball world, the only thing going on is smaller deals and Tanaka.

    • frank

      You haven’t been around here very long, have you? Registration likely won’t stop that. It’s the biggest story right now, and that’s what gets discussed . . .

  • Lane

    There is NO salary cap in baseball

    • half_full_beer_mug

      No, but if a team exceeds the “limit” there is financial implications. Not a true hard cap, but more than likely the closest MLB will come to having a soft cap for the foreseeable future.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Clay Davenport of baseball prospectus translated the stats for the last 3 years for Tanaka, if he had been playing in the major leagues. Season averages.
    190 innings pitched
    180 hits
    33 walks
    3.15 ERA
    4.5 so/walk ratio
    1.6 BB per 9 innings
    7 k’s per 9
    15 homeruns allowed.
    This at age 22-24. Is that a 20 million a year pitcher?
    And as was mentioned earlier and is a very relevant point. Tanaka played for the Japan version of the Cubs. A team that always came up short, the league underdog. He took great pride in bringing them the championship at last. Could be a logical progression for him to come to America and do it again.

  • ChicagoMike702

    I’ve seen Tanaka and he doesn’t blow me away the way Darvish did before he came over. I’d love to see the Cubs make a big move but if Tanaka costs 17M x 7 + posting, I think I would pass. That’s a huge commitment.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      Sign him if you think he can…this would be part of my list
      1. average 185-210 innings, (first year if the Cub is not competitive, shut him down after 155 innings, given the adjustment to real MLB, and the load he has carried in Japan)
      2. Get 15 “w” a year and /or 100 “W” over the contracts life. “means he can get through the batting order three times per game”.
      3. The Cub FO ok w/6-7 year contract.
      4. He may become a very solid #3 starter over the life of the deal.
      5. No trade clause is not part of the deal.
      6. Signs a bonus and Cubs get a front loaded contract, “like Jackson” providing the Cubs more future payroll dollars.

  • rockin’ dawg

    I really hope we get Tanaka, but anything over $20 mil a year is just craziness.

  • Ballgame

    How can we keep referring to “sticking to the plan” when it’s been made known that Tanaka is an ideal player to fit with the plan. It seems like Japanese fans are really loyal to the players who come to the MLB based on the amount of Japanese media who follow each player. If Tanaka could be a part of a WS with Cubs, he’d be an even bigger celebrity in Chicago/Japan. Money is always a factor but it’s not always the deciding factor. If he wants to be a part of what the Cubs are doing, that will be a priority to him as well. Regardless of how many of you disagree with me, I trust the FO to go in hard on Tanaka and if it’s too far fetched then they’ll back out. I think we end up with him, just my opinion….

    • CubFan Paul

      “Money is always a factor but it’s not always the deciding factor”

      The next time the most money isn’t the deciding factor, it’ll be the first time.

      • mjhurdle

        Seeing as how you have no way of knowing, i don’t think anyone can say that money is either always/never a deciding factor.

        • CubFan Paul

          No one takes less money.

          Negotiating 101.

          • Scotti

            Andre Dawson.

            • CubFan Paul

              I’m not that old.

  • Ballgame

    What do u mean? Players frequently give “hometown discounts”, hence they could’ve gotten more $ elsewhere but we’re comfortable where they were. $ is always a factor but not the only factor

  • YourResidentJag

    Bruce Levine said today on 670theScore that the Giants are expected to make a big push for Tanaka. I would expect them to be a bigger threat than the Dodgers for Tanaka’s services.

  • nkniacc13

    Brett, did you see the article on Inside the Zona? they list cubs as favorite to sign Tanaka at 55% with Yanks 2nd at 25%

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