Apologies for the late post – I’d been on my way to Chicago for much longer than anticipated thanks to Mother Nature vomiting snow and wind directly on top of me wherever I drove.
- Jayson Stark sure is doing his damnedest to get Cubs fans believing there’s a real chance that the Cubs could land Masahiro Tanaka. In his latest tweet on the subject, Stark says it is “amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.” Clearly word is getting around that the Cubs are not in this thing for the dog and pony show, and are legitimately trying to land Tanaka. But how and why would other owners be in a position to make such comments? Are they being that transparent about their desire to top the market in the bidding? Have they already made an offer that everyone knows will blow away the field monetarily? I suppose it’s possible, given what we think we know about Tanaka’s preferred landing spots (none of which are in Chicago), and what we believe to be true about the Cubs’ efforts to get him (i.e., that they’ll have to outbid the market and sell Tanaka on coming to a rebuilding team). Maybe there’s just some wishcasting going on by those other owners, though I’m not quite sure to what end.
- Meanwhile, Jon Morosi went straight to the horse’s mouth, but Tom Ricketts wasn’t biting. Ricketts told Morosi of the Cubs’ Tanaka involvement that, out of “respect [to] the process,” he would not comment. Given how relatively open other organizations have been about their Tanaka overtures, it’s interesting that the Cubs are keeping mum. We heard earlier in the process that Tanaka was a private guy who preferred to keep this stuff out of the media. The Cubs, apparently, are taking that very seriously, and I say good for them. There’s really not much to be gained by saying anything at all at this time.
- Dave Kaplan weighs in with an update on the Cubs’ Tanaka pursuit – recall, Kaplan was the first to report that the Cubs “wouldn’t be outbid” for Tanaka – and says that the Cubs are still prepared to spend “insane” money on Tanaka. Unfortunately for the Cubs (well, “unfortunate” if they’re happy to spend insane money if they get their guy), Kaplan’s source says it might not come down to money for Tanaka, who has family considerations. (The rumor there – not from Kaplan – is that Tanaka’s wife, who is a performer, prefers to be in New York or L.A. Just a rumor.) Kaplan’s source adds that the odds Tanaka choose a team that isn’t ready to win are “definitely slim.”
- The deadline to sign Masahiro Tanaka is a week from tomorrow, but as Kaplan aptly points out in his piece, that deadline has to include everything signed-sealed-and-delivered, including a presumably exhaustive physical (beyond the one Tanaka already took in Los Angeles last week). If true, an agreement will likely have to be in place with the “winner” by the middle of next week at the latest. Pins + needles.