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masahiro tanaka[Ed. – This contemplative article comes courtesy of the inimitable Sahadev Sharma. Follow him on Twitter here.]

Ever since it became clear that the new posting system would essentially make Masahiro Tanaka a free agent, I’ve debated just how wise it would be for the Chicago Cubs to do everything in their power to make sure they get him. What that likely means is doing a nice sell job to Tanaka on the Cubs while also offering the most money. With the Yankees and Mariners clearly involved and willing to probably get a little crazy, it appears Tanaka could very likely command a six-year deal with an AAV north of $20M.

The question for me has never been whether the Cubs should pursue Tanaka. He’s a 25-year old pitcher who scouts believe has top of the rotation potential and he doesn’t cost the Cubs prospects or a draft pick, just money. Of course, both his age and how spending money will affect the Cubs are both issues that need more exploration and I’ll get to that in short order. However, just looking at the face of it, there is no major reason why the Cubs shouldn’t make Tanaka their top priority. He’s potentially one of the rarest commodities in the game, and fills a major need for a team desperate for some infusion of high-end talent at the Major League level.

But in Tanaka’s case, it’s not nearly as simple as saying, “He’s 25.” And in the Cubs’ case, right now, it doesn’t appear to be as simple as saying, “It’s just money.”

Money seems to be a legit issue for this team. It’s possible the reason we’ve seen such little action thus far from the Cubs is to ensure that they have the financial flexibility to pursue Tanaka. But, from what I know, while their main focus this offseason has been to sign Tanaka, they just weren’t enamored with what else was available on the open market at the prices it was costing. So it wasn’t completely an issue of saving their pennies for Tanaka, but more so that he is the only player available they deem worth their pennies.

But that’s the real question, is Tanaka really worth what it will likely cost to get him?

It’s not a secret, Theo Epstein said as much at the Winter Meetings, that the Cubs don’t have as much financial flexibility as they would like. What exactly that means is up for debate. What I can gather is that they have money for a big free agent, but going on a spending spree at this point in time isn’t an option.

(Whether these spending restrictions are legitimate, brought on by a complicated loan/purchase agreement that limits them, or whether it’s just ownership being unwilling to loosen the purse strings – or even another reason – I don’t know and, frankly, I’m not interested in debating. All we know is that, right now, the Cubs can’t spend like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, while many believe that, as the big market Chicago team, they should.)

The Cubs are adamant that with both the Wrigley renovations and a – hopefully—mega-TV deal in the not too distant future, money will no longer be an issue. Yes, the renovations are at a standstill and the TV deal can’t be redone until 2019 (though the Cubs have suggested there are ways to get creative and speed up the time table on the latter issue), but let’s work under the assumption that soon enough, we won’t have to waste time debating whether the Cubs will be big players in the free agent market.

If that’s the case, then the Cubs won’t have to be worried if a big money deal for Tanaka will end up handcuffing them if they want to add another big free agent in the next couple years. This Cubs front office would never move forward on such a deal if they felt that Tanaka was going to take up 20% of their payroll for the foreseeable future. Adding such a big contract would likely mean that financial flexibility is not too far off in the future.

As Brett discussed in his Alfonso Soriano piece earlier this week, most big-money deals are handed out because the team is looking for an impact in the first few years of the deal. Most teams realize a player may not be worth the money he’s making in years six, seven and eight, but the impact provided earlier in the contract hopefully outweighs those downside seasons. As Brett pointed out, having enough depth in the farm that can provide affordable and talented players to fill out the roster in the latter years of the contract helps ease the pain. Also having the ability to outspend your ‘mistakes’ is a nice bonus.

For the Cubs, while they’ll take it, they’re not as interested in immediate impact from Tanaka. Their window possibly opens in 2015, maybe 2016, so, ideally, Tanaka will be hitting his peak in his age-26 season and it will last for a few years.

That’s where we get to the considerable second issue for the Cubs when it comes to signing Tanaka. Yes, Tanaka is 25, but how old is his arm?

I try and stay away from discussing whether a pitcher is more likely to get injured due to usage or mechanics because the fact is, we just don’t know enough about these things, especially mechanics, to make any strong conclusions. However, we have come to a general consensus in American baseball on trying to limit the abuse a pitcher takes, especially while they’re still young and their bodies and arms are developing.

More than just innings*, we’ve discovered that high pitch counts are a problem. And, while I have no major issue with pitchers racking up their pitch count here and there, it gets even more worrisome when it happens on a consistent basis and the body hasn’t had time to fully recover from those high pitch totals. As Jeff Passan recently wrote, Tanaka’s usage raises all the red flags that I’ve mentioned.

*As a quick aside: many people referenced Tom Verducci’s piece in which Verducci leaned heavily on innings pitched to point out that there are reasons to be concerned with Tanaka. While possibly valid, I didn’t feel it presented as strong a case as Passan’s piece. In it, Verducci talks about how there are only three pitchers since 1961 who have pitched more than 1315 innings through their age 24 season. I thought it was odd to conveniently confine his research to 1315 innings (exactly Tanaka’s total in the NPB), so I quickly expanded the search. Even if you change those limits to 1901 and 1200 innings, the number of pitchers jumps to only 20 and it’s quite a mixed  bag of success stories and failures. It’s hardly enough of a sample size to provide any conclusive evidence as to whether Tanaka’s heavy work load at such a young is of concern or not. That’s one of many reasons I’d prefer to look at Tanaka’s pitch counts and his recovery time from those outings rather than just raw inning totals. We should know by now that all innings pitched aren’t created equal.

A bit of a lesser concern is Tanaka’s mechanics. Doug Thorburn of Baseball Prospectus beautifully breaks down Tanaka’s mechanics here.(If you don’t have a BP subscription, Thorburn alone makes it worth it. If you’re interested in learning more about pitching mechanics, he’ll have you reading for hours. The links included within that Tanaka piece are a must-read, one of which is his explanation on how he grades pitching mechanics. Just a world of information that can teach us all so much about pitching.) Thorburn also points out some issues that he sees in Tanaka’s mechanics. They don’t appear to be a major problem, and Thorburn even suggests that a good coaching staff could alleviate some of the issues that may arise. While Chris Bosio doesn’t yet have the track record of Dave Duncan or Don Cooper, I, among others, believe he has a chance to have a real impact at what he does. While Tanaka certainly could clean up his delivery, right now, that’s not a reason I’d suggest the Cubs shouldn’t pursue him with full vigor.

And let me say this: pitching is an unnatural action. Any pitcher, no matter how well they are taken care of and developed by their organization, has a strong chance of getting injured. There’s no such thing as a sure-thing when it comes to pitchers; they’re all, as Brett and I like to say, a crapshoot. All that said, the bottom line is Tanaka’s usage has become a major concern for me. Tanaka may not break down right away, or ever, but there are certainly reasons to worry that he’s a higher risk than your average arm.

The Cubs have to weigh whether it’s worth paying Tanaka $20 million per year when they likely won’t be contending for another year or two, and thus won’t be getting as much value on their investment in that first season or two. Then they have to add in the risk factor of Tanaka possibly not being healthy (or effective – it’s hardly a guarantee that he’ll be successful in the majors) in the seasons which they actually expect to compete.

They’ve shown they’re willing to invest now in the hopes of having a player available to them when they are in the running for the playoffs (see: Edwin Jackson). But with names like Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Homer Bailey, Justin Masterson and James Shields possibly being available next offseason (I’m not even mentioning the very remote chance that the Dodgers don’t extend Clayton Kershaw), is taking a chance on Tanaka still necessary? Of course, it’s a risk to wait another year for pitchers who may not be healthy, productive or even available at that time.

It’s safe to say that the Cubs have more information on pitcher abuse, biomechanics and Tanaka in general at their disposal than we do. And they’ve already made their decision whether he’s worth pursuing and at what cost.

I still believe it’s worth the risk for the Cubs to aggressively pursue Tanaka; this type of potentially high-end pitching talent is rarely available on the open market. But it’s certainly not the slam dunk I felt it was before we knew how drastically the new posting system would change. Paying a huge one-time fee and then a very reasonable deal (5/$60 million?) mitigates some of the risk that comes with Tanaka. However, handing out a multi-year deal that will almost certainly cost more than $20 million per season is a risk on its own. Add in Tanaka’s question marks and it becomes an even bigger gray area.

But my guess is most Cubs fans are ready for their team to start taking some of these risks. In this particular situation, I can’t say I disagree.

  • DarthHater

    “the inimitable Sahadev Sharma”

    Don’t be too sure. After listening to 40-odd podcasts, I have developed a spot-on impression of Sahadev. ;-)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      *insert creepy laugh*

    • Jim

      …whats a podcast?

  • BenW

    The problem with waiting is that I don’t personally think Lester, Kershaw, or Scherzer hits FA. Bailey might, though it’s far more likely the Reds let Cueto walk. Shields and Masterson are good pitchers, but will both have draft pick compensation and will break the bank if they hit FA. I think we need to pursue Tanaka to the fullest, and see where the chips fall.

    • Chad

      Get the players when they are available. Can’t play the “if” game. The best pitchers will likely not come available. Though I do believe that Scherzer will because Boras likes his clients to test FA. I would love the see the cubs get Kershaw but I don’t believe there is anyway that happens. Lester and Bailey may be the best bets, but still they are not guaranteed to hit FA.

  • David

    It’s too bad that we have these perceived money issues. I’d love to see the books. Any chance of trading Jackson to the Yankees in an attempt to free up even more $$$?? I may be the minority that Jackson will improve this year, & next. He has value, plus $13 per year will be about right. But…. I’d much rather have Tanaka with his higher ceiling, along with his risks. 2015 just looks a lot better with Tanaka, Wood and Shark (or the TOP guy that we get for Shark). NEED TO START TAKING RISKS!!

    • Voice of Reason

      We are a couple of years away from taking risks.

      You’re just going to have to be patient!

      • Jon

        Boy Theo and Jed would just eat you up. Only a fan with the utmost losing mentality would find it acceptable for a rebuilding plan that included 6 years of being a bottom feeder.

  • Jon

    It’s amazing with a top 3 payroll and still(even down) 2.6 million attendance, and right now a ~ 75 million payroll, this team can cry poor. I’m not buying.

    • Jon

      *Top 3 ticket price I mean

      • David

        Me too. I would just like to see the books for beer profits! You’d figure they pay $12 per case, perhaps? That’s $.50 per beer. They charge $8.50 per beer, that’s $8 of profit per beer. You figure 30,000 beers sold per game, * 82 games…. that’s $19.5 mildo per year. Good golly.

        • Patrick W.

          You’re missing a few data points. First: wholesale beer is not as inexpensive as you might think in relation to retail beer, so it’s probably more than $12 per case. Add to that the cost of storage (refrigerating 30-90K cans of beer is expensive). Add to that the cost of the cups (probably around 10-20 cents wholesale. Add to that the commissions they pay the vendor ($19 on a 24 case load).

          • Pat

            Plus you can knock about 10% off the sale price for taxes.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        I’m normally right on board with this complaint, but it doesn’t sound like attendance or even ticket price are the largest revenue generating activities anymore. In-stadium advertising and broadcasting rights seem to be the names of the game, and the cubs stink on both fronts.

        • David

          Yeah…. but what about those beer sales!!!!!!??????

        • Jon

          THe TV deals could be more, but I’m still not buying them crying poor.

    • BenRoethig

      The team has reportedly almost $600 million in debt payments due to the pro-tribune purchase agreement (that everyone else balked at). Essentially the payments have to come from the Cubs, not the Ricketts family.

      • baldtaxguy

        Not entirely sure I have read where the payments “have to” come from Cubs vs. the owners, either essentially or otherwise. “Want to” is probably the operative term. I suspect that the debt “could be” paid in full today with ownership capital, should the owners be so inclined. Just my sense in what I have read much earlier on this topic, I may have it wrong.

  • Jon

    Yesterday, the Bears laid out a plan plan to improve from an 8-8 season and win championships. They know that in three years if they aren’t in the conversation for a superbowl, they are on the hotseat. Hell, if they don’t win 10-11 games next year they are going to be feeling the pressure.

    And yet, here we are, year 3 with “Team Theo” and on the doorsteps of another 90+ loss season, and they don’t get any heat whatsover. The lowered expecations for the Cubs never cease to amaze me.

    • CubFan Paul

      “he Bears laid out a plan plan to improve from an 8-8 season and win championships. They know that in three years if”

      Theo did the same in 2011, but now they’re punting/pushing back the competing year to 2016 (by indirectly telling us that through Mooney instead of having another press conference)

    • Diggs

      Totally different sports. It’s much easier to turn a team around in the NFL. Also, the Bears won fewer games this year than last year, but i wouldn’t say Phil Emery is exactly on the hot seat.

      • CubFan Paul

        You missed the point (accountability…)

        • BT

          No, you missed the point. They are totally different sports. Yes, they will be accountable, because in three years, the core of the Bears, the only part of the team that was any good, the offense, will be 3 years older, and many of them past their prime. And if the Bears are any good at that point, their core will most likely be made up of guys that aren’t even in the organization right now.

          You don’t build a football team the way you build a baseball team. When you draft a player in the first round in football you expect him to contribute THIS year. In baseball, often times you can draft a player and not expect him to contribute or another 4 or 5 years. Football coaches and front offices have different accountability timelines than baseball because teams are built differently. Comparing the two is pointless.

          • CubFan Paul

            Don’t tell me, tell Jon (because you look like a fool missing his point (still, hours later)).

            • JB88

              I realize you are trying to raise the point of accountability, but, man, is it hard to really articulate a decent analogy between building a football team and building a baseball team.

              I’d love to see someone cogently do so because there are SOOOOOO many differences between roster construction between the two that I just don’t see anyone capable of doing so.

            • BT

              You know Paul, looking like a fool in your eyes is a burden I can carry. However many hours have passed.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Don’t compare apples to oranges. The way baseball players are drafted and developed is very different than football. And that Cutler deal IMO was a bad call. We have been having this discussion for months here at BN about signing long term contracts for guys over 30. Cutler has had his bell rung too maany times.

  • rob

    I am glad this article seems to focus on tangible production/worth (and it is a great article), but I wonder if in the first 1-2 years – where you note the Cubs will not get as much “value” because he won’t be pitching on contending teams, if the Cubs would get value they need through media attention, someone to sell to the fan base/season ticket holders, buy some good will with people that do not buy into The Plan, etc.

    • mosconml

      Better yet, give Tanaka a big fat signing bonus. That way he can base his income tax off of living in Japan rather than Chicago for the bonus.

      It was easier to pay him when there’d be a $60M fee and then the contract? Great. Do a $50M bonus followed by a 6/$70M contract.

  • DarthHater

    Okay, I’m reading that an offer of heated toilet seats could be involved in landing Tanaka. If toilet facilities are an issue, the Cubs are toast. :-P

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I guess those Japanese winters must be pretty cold.

  • Diehardthefirst

    My only concern is that over 7 professional seasons he has averaged 200 innings each- which is about equal to 30 starts of 7 innings each year–that is considerable wear on elbow- if signed then salary should include portion based on innings over 200

    • DarthHater

      Please add a few emoji to prove you are the authentic, original Die hard. :-D

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Confirmed.

        • DarthHater

          Yay.

          • Diehardthefirst

            I am my twin brothers twin 👬

            • DarthHater

              Mind blown (and convinced). :-P

  • V23

    Good piece. What is the payroll at now? If it truly is $75 Million, then, it’s a no-brainer to go 20 per year.

    As a fan, we should expect at least $125 Mil payroll with these ticket prices. Cub fans show up, and shouldn’t be treated as small market teams.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Except that 20 million a year doesn’t get the job done. I have to remind you that Washington has no state income tax. That alone places the cubs at a disadvantage and the Yankess even more so. I’m not a tax lawyer, but my guess is that in Illinois he might be paying somewhere in the area of 8% to the state. That factor added to the west coast proximity argument IMO puts Seattle in a very desirable position. I think it’s time to cut bait and fish in a different pond.

      • Patrick W.

        There’s only one pond!

        Now, onto the tax issue, it’s been brought up before so I decided to suss it out:

        Based on the 2014 schedule (Players pay income taxes in the states they played, not in the states they live) the difference in State Income Tax Rates is 5.7% for the Cubs, 2.8% for the Mariners, or just under 3%. That’s just about $600K for 2014. So the Mariners offer 6/120 the Cubs would offer 6/124 and be covered.

        Here are the details (I left out Toronto because the Cubs play there 3 times, the M’s 4 so negligent difference):

        State/Games
        Cubs
        AZ 3
        CA 10
        CO 3
        D.C. 3
        FL 3
        GA 3
        IL 83
        MA 3
        MN 1
        MO 10
        NY 6
        OH 10
        PA 13
        WI 9

        Mariners
        CA 22
        FL 7
        GA 2
        IL 3
        MA 3
        MD 3
        MI 3
        MN 3
        MO 3
        NY 3
        OH 3
        PA 3
        TX 19
        WA 81

        • Patrick W.

          Just ran the same data for the Dodgers.

          10.2% in State Taxes! So 1.4MM more than Mariners (on 20MM Contract) and 900K more than Cubs.

          • Patrick W.

            Also the Dodgers have a 26 game stretch in the last third of the season where they play exclusively in California with the exception of two games in Phoenix.

        • baldtaxguy

          Double checking, if the player’s income is apportioned by state where games occur, would the differential between IL and WA be $20m X (5.7%-2.8%) * (81/162 games) = $290k?

          Notwithstanding my screen name, I am not familiar with athletes’ state taxes.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Next you’ll tell us that you have a giant ‘fro, too!

          • Patrick W.

            No you have to know where each game is played. What I did is proportion the contract out to a per game paycheck then multiplied that times the top marginal tax rate of each state the game is played in and then multiplied that times the number of games played in each state. I then added up the total paid in state income taxes and divided by 20MM.

  • CubFanBob

    If there is a time to take a risk and invest heavily on a player it it is now with Tanaka. His age, skill set, and impact as an strong #2 paired with the Shark lays down the pitching foundation for a few years. It also paves the way to eventually slide in a CJ Edwards, Pierce, etc into a 4th or 5th pitching slot without placing the pressure of being a number 1 or 2 their first few years in the bigs. I would be comfortable with 5 to 6 years

    I also dont buy the Cubs are not trying to win in 2014. I feel the moves or non moves made since the last trade dead line are made to maximize the most win potential without blocking their farm system position players for years to come.

    • Voice of Reason

      CubFanBob,

      You want to pay around $25 million dollars a year for a strong #2? I don’t!

      And, we’re speculating that he will be a “strong #2″. We don’t know for sure. And, you’re speculating on his skill set and impact. The only thing we know for sure is his age! There are a lot of innings and breaking balls that come with his arm.

      Let’s save the money and wait until we can get a legit #1 starter! There will be one available when we are ready to compete. It doesn’t have to be through free agency. That #1 starter can come via trade with another team that is looking to dump salary. Maybe in three years the Dodgers will want to move a Kershaw? Or, the Mariners might be in a different situation and King Felix could be had?

      I don’t want to spend that much money on a starting pitcher with so many uncertainties!

      And, the Cubs won’t spend the money any how, so it really is a moot point.

      • CubFanBob

        Save the money for what ? In the years to come the Cubs will have even more revenue streams. Kershaw, Felix hit the market your going to be paying well over $30 million a year and a six year+ contract for an older pitcher with as much mileage on the arm plus losing your number one draft pick. All players have uncertainties. Chances are Kershaw, Felix etc will not hit the free market anyway.

        $25 million a year + 20 mil bid for five years for a 25 year old stud without the draft pick lost will look like a steal come in 2016+ FA pitcher costs.

        I spend thousands of dollars a year for my season tickets so maybe my opinion is skewed but I would have no issue whats so ever with a $25 mill av per year contract for Tanaka. Even if his arm falls off in three years I would support what the move would mean to the organization time line presently as well as the will to take the risk. Whatever team signs him will be over paying no matter what and I am ok with that.

  • 70’s Cub

    Frontload the first two years to free up salary when the Cubs are ready to compete. IE (2014-2015 payroll) 75 million plus Tank equal 95 million total real cost payroll. Cubs should operate at 120 plus million. Therefore use the difference to procure impact talent and/or flips 30-40 million times two more years. Get Tank with an average of 20mill times 6 or 7 years = 140 millionish. However use the next two payroll years as an opportunity cost as much as possible. Year 1. 25% 2. 25% by year three his salary is built in as a three starter. Manage his work load for year three! Either trade Shark and/or use the sign bonus load strategy that allows max flex when the Cubs get competitive.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Couple thoughts on Tanaka:

    1. Are the Cubs in a unique position to offer Tanaka an eased adjustment to MLB throwing regimens and would that be a selling point? Tanaka and his agent are certainly aware of the stats that raise concerns, which portend not getting a SECOND lucrative deal. The Cubs can pitch him 130-170 innings in 2014 because they don’t have much riding on Tanaka next year. They let his arm rest and recover and adjust to the every 5 days thing.

    2. Could the Cubs do something normally unthinkable and front load Tanaka’s contract? Let’s say Tanaka commands an AAV of 20. Why not give him 22 or 23 the first year and walk it down? Usually teams like to give the big numbers at the back end when inflation makes them less costly. But the Cubs have the salary room to front load (it appears), and the diminishing contract would give them more flexibility to pursue FAs during their competitive run. Moreover, it could help them secure Tanaka for less than it would otherwise because there is an enormous financial advantage for Tanaka to be able to invest thpse extra millions for a few more years. It’s worth millions more to him.

    Thoughts?

    • CubFan Paul

      I think the Cubs can offer the highest AAV of all the interested teams.

      The cubs have tremendous financial flexibility with the payroll being so low.

    • Voice of Reason

      Tanaka is going to get more than an AAV of 20. Think more 25.

      25 is when the Cubs don’t need to be players anymore. I don’t want to spend that much money for a chance on a starting pitcher who could be a really good #2. If we were one starter away from competing then yes, take the leap!

      For that kind of money I want a #1. And, knowing that the Yankees and Dodgers and Mariners want to win in 2014, there is no way we will be in.

      Additionally, if you’re Tananka, why would you want to come to Chicago when you could go step into a rotation with a team that is ready to compete for a World Series in 2014?

      • http://BN Sacko

        I agree with why would he come to Chicago..what are they gonna tell him? We are not going to win in 2014 and that doesn’t matter because it’s gonna help us so much more after that. We are argueing with the roof tops that you could actually buy for what you are gonna get paid and then we can remodel.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        “Let’s say…” is intended to express a hypothetical. You can rework the idea based on whatever AAV you think he will command. I’m wondering if others see strategic value in this sort of move for the Cubs. Heck you coild rework it for another FA pitcher if we miss out on Tanaka. (Expecting an obligatory condescending statement about how it’s not an “if.”)

        However, I have seen 0 reports of an AAV at 25.

  • Diehardthefirst

    I believe Sandy Koufax didn’t even reach 2500 innings and his elbow was shot by then- maybe a bad comparison but Tanaka may have a 33 yr olds arm by now

  • Rebuilding

    Nice article that hits all of the high points. As a few others have mentioned I think Tanaka brings a lot of value to the Cubs in 2014 from an attendance standpoint. The fan base is a little demoralized right now and needs a shot in the arm. If signing Tanaka just keeps attendance steady by giving hope instead of the decline we saw last year that’s worth a ton of $ plus it maybe tacks on a few million to a TV deal or to add revenues in the stadium

    • Voice of Reason

      Rebuilding,

      In the short term Tanaka could put some butts in seats. But, in the short term we are still going to lose 90+ games a year.

      BUT, long term if he is not a #1 or #2 starter and we are paying him $25 million dollars a year, that could hurt us when we actually need a #1 or #2 to take that next step towards winning a World Series. At that time, I don’t want ownership saying they don’t have the money to add that #1 or #2 because they are hampered by the Tanaka salary.

      Too much uncertainty with Tanaka. The Cubs should and will take a pass on him! It’s just not the right time. If we were a starter away then I would say yes!

      • Cubbie in NC

        Reason,

        I agree with your thinking on Tanaka. The Cubs had better be sure on him if they lay out the cash for the giant contract because if he does not work out then they are not going to be able to go out and get two top end starters to really compete.

        I do not think it is going to be easy to come up with two really good pitchers in a 2 year span to be able to compete and so I would like to see the Cubs get a pitcher in the next 2 years before they need him for the top of the rotation.

        I think it would have been better for the Cubs if Tanaka were posted next year.

  • Brandon

    With the money Seattle is spending this year there is no f’n way they should still get a comp. balance lottery pick. “Small market teams” that spend money like this or even have money to spend like this should lose that pick. IMO. Hell at the start of the 2013 season the Cards had the eleventh highest payroll in baseball(includes signing bonuses,etc.). How in the hell are they still considered “small market”. I understand why they are but just don’t agree with it. There needs to be a payroll cut off for these picks at some point.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Except that you neglect to consider that the “small market” teams don’t have remotely the same earning power of the “big market” teams when it comes to TV and radio broadcast rights. Which gets into the billions of dollars for the major market teams.

      • Boogens

        I understand what you’re saying about small vs. large market team but why does the equalization effort involve draft picks instead of revenue sharing (I know that this is the agreement made in the most recent CBA but I’m just asking the question).

  • Blackhawks1963

    Brett,

    Is there any way to change password? I can’t remember the long and complicated Word Press password and want to change it.

    Thank you

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There’s a link for resetting your password here: http://www.bleachernation.com/registration-and-commenting-faq/

      • hansman

        I’d be interested to know how you were able to log-on and comment.

        • cubzfan

          Probably his browser saved the password for him. Then you can still log in, but can’t see what the password was.

  • Ivy Walls

    I think the Cubs are in the realm of strategic fork in the road with Tanaka. On one hand aggressively upping the bid to the tune of $22M AAV over let us say 6yrs, after four he has a buyout option to go FA and after five the club has a buyout option would place heavy pressure on Seattle/NYY to match or exceed. If the Cubs did not succeed they save face with fans but send message to future/available FA’s they are bidding again. The club that signs him is further straddled with inflexible contract taking them out of future FA bidding or Intl FA bidding.

    Cubs then could pursue Jimenez or Santana after the dust settles.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Rationalizing the receiving of another participation trophy is not going to appease most fans. Also, I don’t think the fallback plan is to go after Jimenez or Santana. Not at the dollars they are asking for and especially not for the additional price of losing a coveted 2nd round draft pick.

  • N.J. Riv

    If the Cubs don’t get Tanaka, why give Garza the big contract like they were willing to do before?

    • VittersStartingLF

      I think Garza would be cheaper and less of a risk than Tanaka

      • Noah_I

        I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s true. A lot of clubs have concerns with Garza’s medicals, as he already has a pin in his elbow. Garza is also four years older.

        Garza will definitively be cheaper, but since the main concern with any pitcher being a risk is injury or deterioration of stuff due to age, I’d say Garza is a decent sized risk in his own. Injuries are a crap shoot. Garza does not have Tanaka’s upside, though.

        The only additional risk with Tanaka is the extra money involved.

      • DarthHater

        He’s also 5 years older than Garza. If the Cubs’ competitive window really opens in two years, Tanaka will be 27, while Garza will be 32. Of course, as has been said many times, it’s possible that Tanaka’s arm is, in effect, “older” than his actual age.

        • DarthHater

          Ack. Five years younger, not older. Sorry.

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