masahiro tanakaIt has begun …

As expected, Masahiro Tanaka is in the States this week to receive visits from interested suitors in their finest duds. Jon Heyman reports that Tanaka’s meetings started yesterday in the Los Angeles area, and it has all been very hush-hush. Those meetings, which will include upwards of 12 teams, are set to be completed by Friday.

The Cubs, together with the Yankees, Angels, White Sox, and Diamondbacks, are listed by Heyman explicitly as having a meeting lined up. In conjunction with these meetings, Tanaka is seeing a doctor in Los Angeles to provide interested teams any relevant medical information, per Heyman. In addition, I’m guessing teams will also receive information on what Tanaka is looking for – monetarily or otherwise – together with an opportunity to make an initial pitch.

We heard earlier in the week that a meeting could happen in Chicago, but it appears that, for now, Tanaka is taking his first meetings all in one location.* That actually makes a lot more sense than traipsing all across the country before making initial cuts. In other words, if Tanaka comes to visit Chicago after this initial meeting, then there may be reason for mild optimism.

*David Waldstein reports that Tanaka was initially scheduled to land in Chicago (to meet there? possibly), but had to change to Los Angeles because of weather. Grumble.

  • CubFanBob

    How laughable is it that that the majority of the 670 Score personalities repeatedly said how stupid Cubs fans were for thinking the Cubs would sign Tanaka, that there was no chance, but as soon as the White Sox interest rumors started yesterday they are all excited that the Sox are in the running to sign Tanaka ?

    • beerhelps

      Well that sounds about right. They really have become quite the joke.

      • JB88

        I don’t know if I’d call them a joke. But they certainly know who butters their bread. It is amazing the sort of favorable coverage the Illini started receiving as soon as they switched to the score …

      • Ill see you at Sluggers.

        Mike North’s number one goal in life growing up was to own a house in Park Ridge, Illinois. He was running a hot dog stand before he joined 670. Total clown. 670’s love affair with the White Sox is disgusting. I think the Cubs, with such a huge national fan base, should consider their own tv/radio stations in the future. Not sure how radio would/could work but, again, our team’s national fan base really makes a difference. Brett/Any BN’er- How do you think the Cubs national following will affect their future TV deal?? If the Dodgers could get such a large deal, wouldn’t it be sufficient to say that the Cubs have somewhat of a competitive advantage in TV deals? We were blessed with WGN, and people all over America grew up watching the Cubs because of WGN. It sounds like WGN won’t be with us in the long-term, although I wish they would be the long-term solution.

    • Boogens

      Agreed. The SCORE’s White Sox bias is on display very frequently. Yesterday’s bias? The HOF vote and all the sound clips about Frank Thomas. Some Maddux talk but more of a celebration of Thomas.

      • JB88

        In fairness, though, Thomas played his career with the Sox and is going into the Hall as a Sox. Sure, Maddux played with the Cubs, but he is going into the HOF as a Brave.

      • CubFanBob

        Few weeks ago on the score’s Saturday morning talking baseball I thought I heard Finfer’s jaw drop to the floor after Levine mentioned he believed the Cub’s were serious contenders for Tanaka and had a chance to sign him. Finfer had repeatedly played the “Cub fans really think they can get Tanaka ?” card up to that point.

        Hanley is another one who likes to play the faux Cub fan card.

        Only people over there that talk serious about Baseball in general are Levine ( who is new ), Rongey who does the Sox coverage, and Wayne Randazzo ( calls Kane County games ). Grobber knows his baseball history and even Hub Arkush, a Cubs season ticket holder, is another good source if you can get him to tall baseball.

      • Edwin

        I mean, what are they, the official radio home for the White Sox or something?

      • Voice of Reason

        If the Score is biased in it’s coverage of Frank vs. Greg then you have to include Comcast Sports Net.

        Comcast is doing a special on Frank Thomas’ career, BUT NOT Greg Maddux?

        Shocking? Biased? Not at all!

        • woody

          You know I think Greg Madux was a great pitcher and desrving of all the acolades, but truthfully I can’t understand why Cubs fans are so obsessed with a guy that probaly didn’t even spend a third of his career in Chicago. I guess it’s been so long since we have had a legitimate super star that we have to adopt every player that has been a success after wearing a Cubs uniform. Remember he left for more money (are you listening Shark?).

          • JB88

            Your last sentence is just a fallacy. He was lowballed by a GM that didn’t grasp his talent. Maddux stated a number of times that he would have stayed in Chicago for less money than he received from the Braves, but was never offered that contract.

            • brickhouse

              Maddux was offered 5 years 25 million – if the Cubs had gone up to 28 million they could have kept him. The Yankess did offer quite a bit more than the Braves.

              • ssckelley

                No, all the Cubs had to do was match the 5 for 25 that the Braves offered.

                • Oregon Cubs Fan

                  I believe that Maddux was offered 5 years 25 million – he thought it over – and then when he came back to accept it, idiot Larry Himes pulled it off the table. And thus the billy goat curse came to an end and the Greg Maddux curse began…

          • Danny

            He left because Larry Himes pulled his offer…TWICE…Maddux also asked the Cubs to match the braves 5 year 27.5 million dollar offer and they said they had no money left – then signed 5 players including the great Candy Maldonado and Jose Guzman for over 25 million dollars –

            Maddux has repeatedly said he didn’t want to leave and had the Cubs matched his deal, he would have stayed…He turned down more money from the Yankees –

            • BT

              I’m not absolving Himes, but your timeline is screwed up. When Maddux asked the Cubs to match the Braves offer, Himes had already signed both Randy Myers and Jose Guzman. Guzman signed December 1, Myers on December 9. Maddux didn’t sign with the Braves until December 18th.

              Himes definitely screwed up, but (and I can’t remember the specifics now) Maddux was not completely innocent in the whole deal. I remember at the time being mad at Himes, but also realizing that while Maddux shared some blame, that in time he would be seen as completely blameless. There was terrible communications between the 2 sides.

      • Patrick W.

        Look … let’s be honest … if you’re like me, a fan of the Cubs, we’re on the right side of virtually all biases in Chicago baseball coverage.

  • CubFan Paul

    “David Waldstein reports that Tanaka was initially scheduled to land in Chicago”

    Tanaka’s agent knows where the money is.

    • JB88

      “Tanank’s agent knows where the money is.”

      Or the best place to land if we wants to ensure that others come to the table with the entire kitty.

      • Brett

        For now, I wouldn’t read too much into where he was initially flying into. For now.

        • JB88

          Do I detect a modicum of excitement in your tone Brett? :)

        • Edwin

          Maybe his agent just really loves pizza.

          • Revery

            So Tanaka to the Yanks then…bada-bing!

        • WiscCubsFan

          Rationally, it would have made sense to meet with teams in Chicago because it’s a central location and two of his suitors reside there. That’s probably all there was to it. And the recent weather uncertainty simply changed their plans.

          Perhaps irrationally, it did make my heart sink a bit hearing that he changed plans due to the crummy weather. I mean the “Oh no! He experienced a negative first impression and now he’s in Los Angeles where he’s surely being indoctrinated by the evil west coast teams and we no longer have any chance” type of irrationality.

    • hansman

      They initially forgot that Chicago is cold in the winter and that they could dictate the meeting location.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Round one will end this week, and then (like Brett just said – and I said at the beginning of the week) round two will begin. Tanaka will than travel to see the facilities, etc. of the teams that made the cut. That will be next week. After that, he will select the top two or three, perhaps meet with them once again, and than announce his decision by the deadline of January 24th. The plot thickens – which teams will make the first cut – then what do they do in order to try and make the next cut? Finally, if you are a finalist – what is the final selling point? Stay tuned. News at 11:00.

    • woody

      If they hold out until the last couple of days it’s going to be chaotic in the FA market considering that pitchers and catchers are due to report a couple of weeks later.

  • Johnny Chess

    I think a trip to China Town with whoever chaperoned Fukidome

    • hansman

      Someone from Japan may not want to go to Chinatown.

      It’d be like going to Japan and having your hosts take you to an English pub because they thought you’d like that since it’s your culture and everything.

      • JB88

        Adding to this, having spent some time in Japan, I can tell you that the Japanese think themselves vastly superior to the Chinese in all things, so it would actually be pretty insulting to take a Japanese person to Chinatown.

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        Not to mention the history of bad blood. The wars. The Japanese atrocities in WWII. The constant provocations from China.

  • Mr Gonzo

    Hi, my name is Mr Gonzo, and I’m addicted to… I’m also cautiously optimistic the Cubs have the funds to win the bid on Tanaka. If he goes somewhere else, I believe it will because he doesn’t want to play for the Cubs, not because the money wasn’t there.

  • Danny

    1) If you think the score is completely bias against the Cubs, you are bias against the White Sox
    2) I am not sure when you heard them “get excited” about the Sox being in on Tanaka, it was “oh that would be awesome but doubtful”
    3) The reason the Score did an entire thing on Thomas is because, well, Thomas is and will be going in as a White Sox…B&B spent 45 minutes talking to Barry Lincicone about Maddux…ALL ABOUT MADDUX…Who is not a Cub, he is a Brave
    4) It is EXTREMELY unrealistic to really think the Cubs will actually get Tanaka, the top Free Agent on the Market to come here, where he would be the #1 starter of a very bad team…He’s going to be the #1 starter for the NY Yankees – no matter the $$$$ the Cubs throw at him.
    5) I say this as a life long Cub fan who has had season tickets for over 25 years –

  • Jr 25

    I don’t know why everyone wants Tanaka. Has he put up impressive numbers? Yes! Is he young? Yes! But at the same time has he put a lot of mileage on that arm? Yes! Is he unproven vs. Major League Players? Yes! And is he really worth 17 to 20million a yr. For 5 or 6yrs. on a team that’s at least 2yrs away from competing? NO! Save the money til we are ready to compete and finish the reno’s and get a lucrative cable deal than start to spend the dough. I don’t want to chance that cash on a guy that can be as good as Darvish or suck as bad as Dice K.

    • Voice of Reason

      Most who want him really are just anxious and want the Cubs to do something this off season. Those people will just have to be patient.

      Sometimes the best move is when you make no move at all.

      The Cubs will not sign Tanaka.

      • woody

        I think you hit the nail on the head. And my thinking is that it’s 100% that Shark gets traded. Maybe not until July. The plug is being pulled on 2014.

    • mosconml

      You bring up a fair point about Daisuke. I haven’t heard comparative scouting reports on Tanaka vs. Daisuke, but I’d be curious to. If he was touted in the same vein that Tanaka is, that’s a good warning.

    • CubsFaninMS

      You present a logical argument for not acquiring Tanaka. This appears to be one of the “irrational exuberance” cases in the market where Tanaka will probably do much better on the contract than he will likely be worth. As a fan, I can draw a valid comparison of a Tanaka acquisition in my personal life. My truck is 14 years old and I’m excited about purchasing a new one. I KNOW I can purchase one right now if I want, but I know July-August of this year is much better due to me preparing financially for it.. the right way. With Tanaka or ANY OTHER “irrational exuberance” contract right now (i.e. Ellsbury, Choo), it’s simply not the ideal time for the Cubs to overspend. You win some, you lose some. We have plenty of players who will provide value beyond their contract. Likewise we will, at some point, have to jump into the game with one of these types of contracts, conduct our due diligence, and take a risk. Just as in my example, if I find the perfect truck for a great value, I would be willing to act now. Likewise, the Cubs should do the same under the current circumstances. I’m sure Tanaka never expected to be compared to a Ford F-150 Platinum but, alas, here I am doing exactly that!

  • Diehardthefirst

    Memo to Theo: Was Tanaka toast by playoffs when gave up 12 hits and did his team pull a Mark Prior when then they forced him to pitch next 2 games in relief ? Ask the right questions please before committing 100 million of poppas money

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      How is Theo’s dad involved?

      • Diehardthefirst

        Haha- you knew what I meant

  • Diehardthefirst

    Way back I reported ARod would cut deal before ruling- takes 2 2 Tango- now Yankees interested also to free up money and achieve certainty in bid for Tanaka- stay tuned

    • bbmoney

      Change the word “reported” to “speculated” and I’ll agree.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Would you accept a form of hypothecate? How about dot connecting? e.g. NJ Gov to resign after comes out he suggested to staff there had to be a message to that city’s district congresswoman not to mess with his Judges

  • CubsFaninMS

    “Want a mint? Perhaps some TANAKA??”

    I doubt anyone will get this play off of a movie reference, but I couldn’t help myself.

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