As I said this morning, things are likely to pick back up on the Masahiro Tanaka front now that the holidays are behind us and Tanaka’s agent is back from a family vacation.
And, right on cue, Luke Stuckmeyer with the report …
— Luke Stuckmeyer (@LukeStuckmeyer) January 7, 2014
If true, you can figure that this is Tanaka and his agents making an initial round of visits with interested teams to hear their presentations. I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Tanaka is also reportedly meeting with the White Sox on this visit. If it’s actually in Chicago, there would be no reason not to sit down with the White Sox, too – while they aren’t expect to be major players for Tanaka, the $20 million maximum posting bid means that basically no team should refuse a meeting if they can get one.
As for the Cubs meeting with Tanaka, we’ll see if more comes out. It’s hard to conceal this kind of thing, so I’d tentatively expect the Cubs to be forced to confirm a meeting at some point. If it happens this week, we’ll hear a lot more.
But don’t expect to hear anything too firm or final. Tanaka, if he’s content to take his time, has no reason not to meet with every interested team and play this thing out until the January 24 deadline. He’s making a huge, life-changing (in more than one way) decision, so it’s more than reasonable for him to take his time. Teams like the Cubs will, for their part, take every opportunity they’re given to court Tanaka along the way.
So, to sum up: Tanaka meeting with the Cubs this week is/would be a meaningful revelation worth discussing. It confirms their interest, and sets things in motion. But don’t get too excited just yet. Many miles ahead on this road.
Some improved weather by the time Tanaka arrives certainly wouldn’t hurt.