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masahiro tanakaNew Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria is meeting with the media right now while on a Cubs Caravan stop (where, per the Twitters, it appears that Clark the Cub was once again well-received by the kids, so there). The questions naturally turned to Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, about whom we’ve suddenly heard a lot more positive vibes as they relate to the Cubs. Various beat writers shared Renteria’s responses on Twitter.

Renteria showed some candor (hooray! please don’t shut him down, front office!) in addressing the questions. Renteria confirmed that the Cubs have met with Tanaka (Mooney), and says he was a part of those meetings (Gonzales). Although he doesn’t know where things stand with Tanaka at this point (Gonzales), Renteria says the Cubs’ pitch to him included discussion about the up-and-coming young talent (Rogers). Renteria joked that he ordered Rosetta Stone language software after the meeting, just in case (Miles).

Other than a proposed contract – which, let’s be honest, remains the number one priority for most free agents – this is probably the best thing the Cubs have on which to sell someone like Tanaka. The team was one of the worst in baseball in 2012 and 2013, and does not appear immediately poised to contend in 2014. But, legitimately, things look exceedingly bright for 2015 and beyond (especially if the Cubs are able to land a huge TV deal in the near-term). Maybe that really appeals to Tanaka, who could be both a front-of-the-rotation star in Chicago (that’s the pitch, anyway), and a part of that very youth movement.

I still think it’s a stretch that the Cubs can get Tanaka absent a contract offer that blows other suitors out of the water, but they’re clearly trying very hard.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    ehh non-news. but happy to see Renteria has a personality

    • Voice of Reason

      On a Cubs message board it certainly is news.

      • CubFan Paul

        But not to the most serious of Cubs Fans

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          yep

  • baldtaxguy

    “Zero percent chance the Cubs get Tanaka. Good Lord.”

    :)

    • Ivy Walls

      Really, there is never absolutes, including the never absolutes law.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      I’ve just decided there are a handful of guys on here that don’t understand probability and while I’m not a gambler as a rule, I hope the probabilistically challenged start offering odds on some bets.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    We must remember that Tanaka played for the Japanese League version of the Cubs. A lovable loser type of team, with very loyal fans, who finally won it all.(With Tanaka the main reason). I would think this is part of the sales pitch.
    My biggest concern is his wife. She is in show business, and would logically want to be in California or New York for obvious reasons. Anybody who is married knows who the real decision maker is.(If you want to stay married anyway).

    • Seth

      I did not know that about his old Japanese team. Thanks for that tidbit.

  • blublud

    I have a funny feeling this is going to end very well for the Cubs. I still wouldn’t go much over 20 mil if at all, but if they do, I hope he worth it.

  • Voice of Reason

    So, Tanaka could come to a team that might, potentially, could be really, really good some day!!

    OR… he could go to the Dodgers who are not only great, but locking up their really good players to record breaking contracts AND looking to add Tanaka’s services!

    OR… he could go to the Yanks who have a notorious past of spending big, big, big bucks to win. Win because they want to and win because they have to sell tickets. Oh, by the way, they have won a bunch of World Series, too.

    He is just not coming to the Cubs on hope and a prayer! I’ve said it from the start and I also said from the start that the Yankees and the Dodgers would his top choices.

    • itzscott

      I dunno, but I do know the Dodgers certainly don’t need him and the Yankees are about to become what the Cubs have been (who replaces Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, etc, etc???).

      Unless a mystery team crawls out of the woodwork, I think the Cubs have as good a chance as any.

      As far as his wife…. if your spouse was making $20 million/year would you keep working?

      • cubsnivy56

        or could you afford a private plane to get to where you need to be? Or have two homes, he will not be in Chicago every week. And only in the states for the season.

    • Jason P

      The Yankees have and will continue to spend a ton on ML payroll, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be good, especially in the AL East.

      The Dodgers look to be set for a while, but he’d be either their #3 or #4 starter. It’s all a matter of his personal preference. Assuming the money’s about equal, does he care more about winning or personal glory? And it’s not like if he signed with the Cubs, he’d be completely giving up winning — just for the next season or 2.

  • Voice of Reason

    And, by the way, I don’t want him.

    We don’t need to lock up a #2 starter for $25 million bucks a year. If we were a #2 away from a World Series then I would say yes.

    We ain’t a #2 away!

    • Edwin

      It’s not like he’d disappear after 2014.

      • willis

        I really go back and forth on this. I’ve never been a huge fan of Asian pitchers coming over to the majors, the way their stuff translates, but then you think of Dice K early and Darvish and I think that just maybe this kid will be badass. The money doesn’t bother me because even at $25m per, that only puts the cubs at around $100m. But what does concern me is the recent history we’ve seen with Japanese players on the cubs (small sample, I know) and if this would be either a dud or an elbow waiting to explode.

        If the cubs get him, awesome, cross your fingers and hope for the best. But I highly doubt that happens so when it doesn’t, I won’t be disappointed.

        • willis

          I need to edit that, regarding Asian pitchers and players, Darvish, Dice K, Kuroda types give me hope…but I do think the level of play here is so much different plus the injury concern.

      • cubsnivy56

        Exactly, it’s adding talent to a team that will start adding talent from the minor leagues. It is a boost, one more piece to the roster.

    • Chris

      I guess the follow-up question would be: Do you project to need a #2 started during your window of competitiveness?

      If you do (and with their dearth of pitching prospects, I’d say the Cubs do), that makes Tanaka a target.

    • EQ76

      I agree with Edwin.. sick of everyone talking about how this or that doesn’t help us in 2014… who cares??? if you sign a good player now to a 4 year contract he helps is in 2015, 2016 and 2017 also..

      • cubsnivy56

        I agree, we have depth with position players in the minor leagues and are short on top level pitching prospects so signing Tanaka makes perfect sense. Kick me if you want, but even if we over pay.

  • tjtrigo

    I would think that one selling point for Tanaka to join the Cubs is that there will be no pressure on him right away. He can settle in if need be, missing a start here or there, to allow him to get accustomed to the game and culture. Whereas in NY and LA there will the pressure of getting/going to the playoffs right from the beginning.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Facepalm. Yeah, lets sell Tanaka on the point that there’s no pressure in Chicago. That’s a great sales pitch to a successful and competitive professional athlete. Come to Chicago and work on your suntan during day games ! Screw winning…it’s an afterthought and nobody will rip you when you have a crummy outing !

      Pass the barf bag.

      • Mr Gonzo

        Did you slap yourself in the face so hard you need to vomit? Or is it your consistently poor attitude as a poster here that subconsciously makes you nauseous when you type?! If you had unbiased adult reading comprehension, you’d have picked up the point “tjtrigo” was making instead of blowing it out of proportion so you can crap on people incessantly.

        His point is: Tanaka would not have the pressure from Start #1 in April to carry this team to WS in 2014, where he would in NY or LA, allowing him a season to acclimate to the US and MLB hitters. When/If the Cubs window opens in 2015, Tanaka will have all that behind him, ready to for pressure that the CHI market does bring. Even if he doesn’t dominate in the beginning, he would be a bright spot in the 2014 season, where there may not be too many, and most Cubs fans would rejoice.

        The pressure thing is not THE selling point, but “A” selling point. Would I personally put it in my sales pitch? Probably not. But stop sitting on pine cones before you type.

        • tjtrigo

          +1

          • tjtrigo

            Gonzo…correct, not a sales pitch but an angle of why the Cubs still might have a chance to land him. It is something the Cubs should not promote or pitch, (“hey, we are going to suck next year, so come in when you want and leave when you want. Don’t work if you don’t want to…”), but something that could be in Tanaka’s head.

        • cubsnivy56

          well said

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        L it’s a great point. Tanaka needs time to adjust to stay healthy. Many of his countrymen before him have broken down. The Cubs offer him a unique opportunity to go easy in year 1 as he adjusts to a different workload, which would benefit him a lot when he goes looking for his next American contract.

    • Edwin

      I’d think the pressure would be pretty big. He’d be the largest contract the new FO has given out, he’d be considered the staff ace, and he’d be one of the most hyped players on the Cubs. Fans were quick enough to call Edwin Jackson’s contract a failure after just one year, imagine how quickly they’d turn on Tanaka if he starts out slow.

      On a team like LA, he’d be just another star in a star studded team. On Chicago, he’d be one of the only reasons to watch the team.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Zero percent chance Tanaka signs with the Cubs. Sucks, but it is what it is. Tanaka will be pitching for the NY Yankees unless the Dodgers get extra itchy and pull out all the money stops. The sleeper team would be the Angels, because Arte Moreno has stunned the world before in getting Pujols and Hamilton in back to back offseasons.

    But it will be the Yankees.

    • cubsfan08

      There is a 100% chance Tanaka signs with the Cubs, sucks for the Yanks and Dodgers, but it is what it is.

      That is all

      • noisesquared

        Strangely enough, this post has the exact same amount of factual evidence to back it up that the “100% to Yankees” posts have.

        • cubsfan08

          THANKS! When working in absolutes – facts and research are dangerous!

    • CubFan Paul

      “Tanaka will be pitching for the NY Yankees”

      And Lyle Overbay?

    • Jon

      Out of the 4 times you copied and pasted this today… Which was your favorite?

      • DarthHater

        Pretty sure it was probably the fourth time, which got a rise out of you. :-P

    • hansman

      Do you have a program that scans BN for new Tanaka posts and just plops this comment in there?

    • Cizzle

      #playedout. Get a new shtick.

  • MightyBear

    The key to landing Tanaka – heated toilets.

    • TWC

      So the troughs at Wrigley mean we’re not gonna get him?

      Shame.

      • DarthHater

        Gotta have some place for the coyotes to drink.

        • TWC

          Heh.

        • Joshua Edwards

          Guffawed out loud.

    • cubsnivy56

      Are the toilets in Japan like the ones in China? Which is floor level! (forget heated) Who has tried to use the bathroom on a train in China? Talk about pressure to hit a target!

      • CubFan Paul

        “Who has tried to use the bathroom on a train in China?”

        Nice visual…

        • cubsnivy56

          Blew me away the first time trying to hit the moving target as the train rumbles along………………

          • cubsnivy56

            ok, first time trying to add a picture.[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/87/JapaneseSquatToilet.jpg/220px-JapaneseSquatToilet.jpg[/img]

            • cubsnivy56

              The first time I saw it…………WTF!

  • Kyle

    My optimism is higher than it has been in awhile.

    The Angels just don’t seem involved. The Yankees have a chance to stay under the luxury tax now and reset it. The Dodgers may have finally reached their limit.

    We’ve had a lot of positive buzz in the last 24 hours.

    • Mr Gonzo

      The vibes are certainly strong, and it’s given me a heavy handed pour tonight in many ways. A plausible scenario could be that the Cubs have the best offer on the table, and other suitors are huddled up in the corner nervously. Tanaka may have mentioned his wife prefers the coasts, and looking right at NY and LA waiting for them to match it. 100% speculation. 200% wet dream

      • hansman

        One thing to consider is that Chicago isn’t quite a ghost town when it comes to TV/Movies.

        It’s not LA or NY but it is a great spot outside of those two areas. Less competition but plenty of work. If Shawn Ryan is telling the truth then she already has a gig lined up (kinda).

  • Scotti

    “Renteria joked that he ordered Rosetta Stone language software after the meeting, just in case (Miles)”

    My impression is that it wasn’t a joke and that he actually purchased the Japanese Rosetta Stone (at least the first volume).

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I just can’t see Tanaka going to LA. They a flush with pitching. I have to believe he has enough ego to want to be number one. That could put the cubs and yankees as the odds on favorites. Unless LA just blows him away with an offer. But then the LA guys spend like they have a printing press.

    • Joshua Edwards

      They do have a printing press.

      • Joshua Edwards

        (TV dollar$)

  • tcrown

    Regarding CL Wilson’s stature, a Topps Greg Maddux rookie card lists him as 6 feet and 150 lbs.

    • Edwin

      obviously there have been some “slim” pitchers who have pitched in MLB, and some have even gone on to have great careers. This doesn’t mean that CJ Edwards’s weight is not an issue.

  • tcrown

    Sorry, meant CJ Edwards.

    • Joshua Edwards

      Thank you. I was just wondering about the size of pre – steroid pitchers as maybe our frame of reference has changed a bit.

      Pitchers of many sizes hurt themselves due to mechanics and delivery. But there are several examples of pitchers “outside the mold” who had effective careers.

      It’s one of the great things about Baseball that some people are naturally thin/fat and lead a long healthy baseball life.

      Does CJ Edwards’ approach and delivery hurt his body in a way that will cause him to break down prematurely?

      I bet people worry about that, including Edwards himself. But I’m afraid no one really knows.

      (For the record, Maddux finally did add some weight in his retirement years…and probably people are telling him to lose it. Tough game.)

  • Kyle

    Basically, the short version of how I reckon it is that if you don’t sign Tanaka, you almost assuredly dump Samardzija at the deadline for prospects, and now you enter 2015 at least four major players short of contention. And as we’ve seen, if we’re four players short, everyone and our front office will just say “we’re too far away, it doesn’t make sense yet.”

    If you sign Tanaka, you keep Samardzija, and you enter 2015 two players short and that seems a lot more feasible.

    • V23

      I agree with Kyle. He’s a piece that would be here for 4-6 years, so an added piece without giving up anything (except salary).

    • brickhouse

      If we used logic like that in 2012 we would be contending in 2014

      • JB88

        We also wouldn’t have near the farm system that we currently have.

        • Kyle

          Well, heavens no, that would be terrible. The farm system is the end goal here, right?

          • JB88

            No. Sustained success is the end goal. The goal is not to repeat what happened after 2007-08.

            • Kyle

              There’s no such thing as “sustained success” that starts with prolonged losing.

              • JB88

                Your conclusions are relying on an outdated model in which you can spend freely on the draft. That, in my opinion, is the fatal flaw in your entire thesis. Until you can show me a modern team that rebuilt a farm system through the draft & strategic trades while also competing, I think of your opinion as little more than Quixotic, at best.

                • Edwin

                  Cardinals.

                  Can you show me a modern team that tanked and then built a sustained winner?

                  • JB88

                    We are in the midst of a landscape shift. The method to acquire talent cheaply: the draft and IFA, has been gutted. The way teams that were good were able to maintain was by overspending in the draft or signing the best talent in IFA. You can’t get the best talent and be playoff calibur teams anymore, not without a high degree of luck and talent development.

                    The 2012 CBA was a game-changer. And until more people are willing to admit that they are going to be relying on outdated models to buttress flawed arguments.

                    • Kyle

                      Completely, thoroughly and unreservedly disagree.

                      You are wildly overemphasizing the importance of overspending in the draft and *definitely* in IFA under the old CBA.

                      Smart drafting and development has always been more important than money, and it continues to be the most important factor in how teams succeed in the minor leagues, same as before.

                • Kyle

                  The St. Louis Cardinals, who went from one of the worst farm systems to one of the best, while competing, without being major overslot spenders, in just a few years.

                  • Kyle

                    To expand, in the 2009-10 offseason, the Cardinals farm system was ranked No. 29 by Baseball America.

                    In 2012-13, they were ranked No. 1.

                    In between, they won the World Series.

                    How could this *possibly* have happened without major overslot spending, without tanking, without diverting major resources away from the MLB payroll and into the minors? Surely, that’s impossible, right?

                    • JB88

                      Try reading this article for some insite into why you are wrong.

                      http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/56835048/

                    • Ron Swansons Mustache

                      Except Kyle, you are completely ignoring the fact that the Cardinals already had a good team at the major league level with a nice core. Completely different scenario than the Cubs. If you want to say the Cardinals were able to build their farm system and maintain success at the major league level that is one thing. This is another and you comparison is not valid..

                    • Kyle

                      It wasn’t a comparison. It was fulfilling the request for an example of a team in the modern era who rebuilt their farm system while contending through the draft and strategic trades.

                      Despite JB’s denial, they very much do fit that description perfectly.

                    • Joshua Edwards

                      Yeah, no way there was a good core of prospects, coaching, or player development involved. Probably just voodoo magic.

                      Pretty unfair to compare the Cubs to a team that already HAS all the things the Cubs have lacked. That’s why StL has had continued success, IMHO.

                      Not even the cardinals invented good teams from nothing. That’s a lot of voodoo. And yet you expect the Cubs can do it some other way?

                      I guess Old Man Ricketts should have hired you.

                    • JB88

                      Let’s give an example of how wrong you are:

                      Oscar Taveras: Signed as a IFA in 2009 (pre new CBA)

                      Shelby Miller: Drafted in 2009 (pre new CBA)

                      Carlos Martinez: Signed as IFA in 2010 (pre new CBA)

                      Trevor Rosenthal: Drafted in 2009 (pre new CBA)

                      Michael Wacha: Drafted in 2012 (comp pick for losing Pujols)

                      Kolten Wong: Drafted in 2011 (pre new CBA)

                      Matt Adams: Drafted in 2009 (pre new CBA)

                      I could literally go on with pretty much every player that is lauded by all of you who wish to hold up St. Louis as your example. Pretty much every pick was made prior to the new CBA being instituted during a time where both overslot spending was permitted and teams could stockpile draft picks.

                      Still waiting for the non-St. Louis example to fit your theory.

                    • Kyle

                      The fact that they were drafted under the old CBA does not mean they were significant overslots or expensive IFAs.

                      Again, if you only want an example that includes only players drafted in the 2013 draft or from the 2013 IFA period on, then you’re asking for something that is literally impossible to show.

                    • Edwin

                      JB88,

                      Can you move the goalposts any more? Now you’re including IFA’s?

                      So basically, any player aquired pre-2012 does not count?

                      What a waste.

                  • JB88

                    In an era in which the CBA didn’t prevent overspending and allowed teams to stockpile picks in a way that no longer exists.

                    The Cardinals are not the example. They did a good job selecting players, but had the fortune of often having 5 or 6 selections before the second round began.

                    So, politely, try again.

                    • Kyle

                      Your ignorance is showing.

                      The Cardinals had three pre-2nd round compensation picks under the new CBA in 2012, more than they had in any year under the previous CBA.

                      They never had anything close to “5 or 6″ selections, let alone “often.”

                    • JB88

                      The irony of you calling someone ignorant on this topic is terribly funny:

                      “The organization’s shift can be seen as last decade went on. In 2002, the Cardinals had neither a first- nor second-round pick. By 2005, thanks to this change in strategy, the Cardinals had two first-rounders, two supplemental first-rounders and two second-rounders. That’s the difference between six of the first 78 picks in 2005, and not picking until the 102nd slot back in 2002. Nor was 2005 an outlier: The Cardinals selected five of the first 76 players in 2006, four of the first 82 in 2007 and four of the first 91 in 2008.”

                    • Edwin

                      Since 2007 the Cardinals have had 8 extra first round/supplimental picks. 4 of those came in 2012, before they had a #1 ranked farm system.

                    • Kyle

                      So when you said “before the second round began,” you really meant “including the second round.”

                      You aren’t really comprehending what you’re reading in these articles.

                    • Kyle

                      So besides the fact that you are factually wrong, you are dodging.

                      Because while the early 2000s Cardinals farm system may have been built that way, were talking *specifically about the change from 2010 to 2013, half of which occurred under the current CBA.

                    • JB88

                      Not to mention that the 2012 draft was still premised on the old rules of draft pick compensation, so once again, try again.

                    • Kyle

                      So you want an example of a team that has rebuilt its entire farm system not only under the current CBA, but under rules that have only been in place since after the 2012 draft?

                      That’s a bit impossible.

                    • Edwin

                      JB88,

                      Show me a team that has gone from multiple 60 win seasons to multiple playoff appearances starting after the new CBA. Until then, I think of your opinion as little more than Quixotic, at best.

                    • JB88

                      Edwin – I’m not the one who keeps trying to hold out this notion that you can both rebuild a broken farm system and be competitive at the same time under the new CBA.

                      That’s you and Kyle. And you might want to look up the definition for Quixotic before using it incorrectly.

                  • Jason P

                    Realistically, the Cardinals lucked out with a lot of late round draft picks. Part of that is good drafting. But no one drafts that well.

                    • bbmoney

                      There’s always a certain amount of luck involved, but the Cardinals had some damn smart guys involved over that time period.

                      Of course one of those smart guys is doing things pretty much the same way the Cubs are down in Houston. There are just too many variables involved to make this “find me an example” exercise worthwhile and applicable at all to the Cubs current efforts.

              • another JP

                Check the Atlanta Braves record from 1970-1990 and from 1991-present.

                • ClevelandCubsFan

                  Doh didnt see that. Lol had the same thought amd clicked reply too fast.

              • ClevelandCubsFan

                Yeah except those Braves in 1991…..

            • Edwin

              What happened after 2007-2008?

              • JB88

                Repeatedly worse seasons while the FAs they signed or players they drafted got older and worse and they lacked the internal resources to replace those FA.

                • Cheese Chad

                  JB88- that article on the Cardinals was really insightful. It’s almost like Theo is mimicking their plan for sustained success. We are just starting 9 years behind.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Not really, unless you think that CJ Wilson (the top FA pitcher in 2011/12, if I recall) would make this team that much better than it is. (Remember, the mid-season trade-offs would be gone by now, anyway.)

        • Edwin

          I think CJ Wilson would make this team 2-3 wins better.

        • hansman

          And if you think that CJ Wilson wanted to go anywhere but southern California.

    • cubsnivy56

      Yep!

  • brickhouse

    Per @bovadalv, odds to sign Masahiro Tanaka: Yankees 3/2 (bet $100, win $150), Dodgers 11/4, Mariners 5/1, Cubs 7/1, Red Sox 10/1

    • ssckelley

      You can actually bet on this?

  • DarthHater

    Suggested Cubs sales strategy for Tanaka: (a) Contact Oprah, get her to agree to give Mrs. Tanaka’s show-biz career a boost if Masahiro comes to Chicago; (b) Convince Mrs. Tanaka that Masahiro will have a lot more incredibly gorgeous women chasing him around in NY or LA than in Chicago.

  • DarthHater
    • Danny Ballgame

      Great stuff

  • Cheese Chad

    Did anyone stop to think that Carl was the selling point to Tanaka? I heard he loves bears and backwards hats.

    • ssckelley

      Who is Carl?

      • Cheese Chad

        Is it plausible to blame T-9 for that?

      • JAllman

        I think it’s a character on The Walking Dead. Or is that Karruuul?

        • Joshua Edwards

          Ha ha ha ha that’s fantastic

    • josh ruiter

      well shit, then he is going to be in detroit for sure, chillin with Matt Stafford. Or in Texas chillin with Tony Romo

  • NorthSideIrish

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 8m
    Expect Tanaka sweepstakes to heat up this weekend and logjam of free agent pitching to break in the next 5-7 days. http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-sitting-table-heavyweights-tanaka

    The key paragraph in the article is this one:

    “A highly-placed MLB source told me this morning the Cubs “are sitting at the table with the game’s heavyweights” and are prepared to spend an insane amount of money for Tanaka. However, that same source believes that it won’t come down to the last dollar for Tanaka. Instead, he believes that it will come down to which situation feels the most comfortable for Tanaka and his family.”

    • Kyle

      That’s what they always say right up to the moment they sign for the last dollar.

      • hansman

        The story yesterday/earlier today got the Dodgers or Yankees to up the ante and now the agent is trying to get the Cubs to up the ante.

  • Ron Swansons Mustache

    “It wasn’t a comparison. It was fulfilling the request for an example of a team in the modern era who rebuilt their farm system while contending through the draft and strategic trades.

    Despite JB’s denial, they very much do fit that description perfectly.”

    Kyle, the board did not allow me to post a reply to your response above. Fair enough as far as that comparison. However, I cannot think of a team that was as lacking as the Cubs were at both the minor and major league levels that built a top farm system while building a long-term contender at the major league level that would continue to win when the young core was ready to contribute instead of being burdened by massive contracts for over-the-hill free agents.

    • Kyle

      That is a *very* tall order. Who even has sustained success anymore? It’s a dwindling group.

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        Isn’t that what you typically criticize this front office for though? I’m as frustrated as anyone with how the last few years have gone but aside from Darvish, Puig and Ryu and maybe a couple of others there just haven’t been a bunch of big name free agents that have fit. Now if someone like Homer Bailey makes it to free agency next year and we are not making a big-time effort to get him I’ll be pretty upset.

        • Kyle

          It’s exactly what I criticize them for. I didn’t mean “it’s a tall order to do it” (though it is), I meant it’s a tall order to find examples because there aren’t even many sustained success teams anymore anyway.

          We’re piling on the losing seasons now because we’ve been promised “sustained success” later, but I’m not convinced they can pay that promise off.

          • Joshua Edwards

            That’s fair. But I don’t think the Cubs have ever been this close to fulfilling that promise. And I give them credit for that.

          • Cheese Chad

            I would consider getting to the playoffs or coming real close in 60% of seasons over a 5 year stretch or more is sustained success. In that opinion you could say Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, LA Angels, New York Yankees, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Texas have all had sustained success in the last decade or so.

          • Edwin

            Agreed. I’m happy the farm system is doing so well, but it’s come at a really steep cost, and it will be 1-2 years before we start to see any benefits at the MLB level. If then. Betting on a young core of prospects to lead the way is one of the riskiest bets you can make.

        • brainiac

          i’d characterize Kyle more as a pragmatic who sizes up the probability of a situation with good reference to available information. it’s not a “criticism” to observe when something has been mismanaged, or when something isn’t going well.

          • Ron Swansons Mustache

            By all means this plan may not work – these are prospects after all. However, it’s easy to speak in generalities that the Cubs should have this top 5 system while potentially competing for a wild card spot this year without having brought in players via free agency that will be albatrosses by the time we need to spend to A) Sign our own players to extensions B) Bring in one or two players via free agency when we are on the cusp and it makes sense to overpay. Just a hypothetical example. It’s just not realistic in my opinion. I just hope this plan works because 2014 is probably the last year before the patience runs a bit thin.

            • When The Musics Over

              Just as a point and nothing more, the Cubs could have signed free agents to 4-6 year contracts anytime in the past 2 years, including this offseason, and they’d all be expired by the time any of the big 4 or any other meaningful minor league player is done with arbitration. The Cubs could have staggered their spending if they truly wanted to. People, for whatever reason, don’t see this, often citing Soriano as an example. Well, he’s a bad example for a few reasons, the main of which was he signed an 8 year contract, and that’s why it lingered for so long on the books.

              The problem with the Cubs buying free agents in the past few years is two fold: a) it would have made the Cubs probably somewhere close to a .500 team or so, which would have made the Cubs draft smarter as they wouldn’t have had VERY high draft picks from tanking seasons, and b) they probably still wouldn’t have been a playoff team.

              This is in-line with what Kyle says. The Cubs really could have tried to succeed with .500 records and some luck, and still tried to rebuild with SMART drafting and good player development. So many people think these two ventures must be mutually exclusive, but Kyle does not. Not at least for a front office that is lauded as the best in the game.

              • cubsfan08

                Solid points there – but isn’t there something to be said about the FO doing something dramatic in order to turn the ship around and really commit to the “plan?” In 2011 I saw the writing on the wall. The team was old and washed up and no help in sight. I’m not sure I would have trusted an approach that relied on signing free agents again in order to be middle of the pack competitive. Too easy for pressure from the fan base and other factors to alter the plan midstream and make a few extra huge financial commitments / trade young talent and screw the whole thing up.

                When they blew the whole thing up, that’s when I trusted their commitment. It doesn’t assure us as fans anything long term, however, it was drastically different from previous approaches and thats what had me sold.

                In a perfect world, the strategy could have been implemented with a few more sustainable MLB parts already here (not saying there weren’t any) and a few serviceable minor league ready players and maybe the rebuild could have been a little less painful.

      • Noah_I

        I’d say the teams that have had sustained success recently (and I’d defined sustained success as being largely a good team over the last 5 years or so, and looking to remain largely a good team over the next five years) are: Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers and Rays. However, all four of those teams built their cores team under the prior CBA, when they were able to sign talent above slot, and as much international talent as they wished, without repercussion.

  • bushybrows74

    I would have love to hear the Tanaka pitch. Had to include Tv contract gossip as part of pitch

  • Diehardthefirst

    So who is bold enough to call Renteria a racist for his comments? Or is his an innocent acknowledgement of the differences among us?

    • DarthHater

      “So who is asinine enough to call Renteria a racist for his comments?”

      FTFY

    • ssckelley

      RACIST!!!!!

      • hansman

        Diehard is too senile to be racist.

      • Jason P

        Stone him!!!

  • Kyle

    “@JulieDiCaro #Cubs are ‘major players’ for Tanaka. One source would be ‘surprised if they DON’T get him’”

    Julie DiCaro ‏@JulieDiCaro 11m
    FWIW, this source has been very good to me in the past. Very accurate.

    • BlameHendry

      Beat me to it, I was just about to post that. I still can’t see Tanaka choosing Chicago over LA, but it’s still intriguing.

      • willis

        Seems to be gaining a lot of momentum, but I still don’t buy it. If it happens, huge tip of the cap to Theo and Co and to Ricketts for allowing the coin to be spent. But all things equal, like you said it’s hard to imagine him choosing Chicago over NY and LA. But, maybe they’re lightening up him?

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

      Julie does a great job when she reports “rumors” she doesn’t just throw around statements like this.

    • Seth

      There is also this from Jayson Stark:

      “@JaysonSt In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.”

      Seems like a lot of people are thinking the Cubs are one of the favorites if not “the” favorite.

      • jp3

        Awesome, I’d like to see us do a little something this often other than sign all the AAAA players. Our rotation would at least be pretty intriguing to watch.

        • jp3

          Offseason not often.

  • Joshua Edwards

    Hard to get monetary value out of a tough sell contact. Hard to deviate from The Plan of rebuilding via the system when much restraint has been shown thus far.

    Team Epstein is walking a fine line with all FAs.

    But these rumors have me unreasonably stoked about Cubs starting to move at the MLB level.

  • SenorGato

    I am liking the Cubs’ chances on Tanaka, but generally am a delusional human.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    For awhile I thought that saying they were “all in on Tanaka” was just a lot of talk. But if you analyze the situation it becomes apparent that this is a make or break signing. The Passan article was just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the negative publicity and fan discontent if the ownership did nothing for another season. And I believe that the Samardzija extension is linked to getting Tanaka. An extension of Shark and signing Tanaka makes a whole lot of sense and could turn around attendance. Throw in a few top prospects and we could easily be compettive in 2015.

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    Tanaka is not a #2 he is an ace all the analysts say it the cubs will land him and here is the reason he would be an ace if he goes to the dodgers he will be a #4 or #5 and if he goes to the Yankees he will be a #2 he wants to be a number 1 which he will be if he signs with the cubs that’s why he will sign a 7 or 8 year deal for probably 160 or 170 million quit saying he’s #2 he is not a #2 he’s a #1

    • BlameHendry

      “I’m not a #2!!! Tell me I’m not a #2!! I’m #1!!!”

      (South Park)

      • jp3

        He’s the biggest #2 in history…he’s Bono Tanaka

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      He might be someone’s no. 1 but most think he’s a no. 2 in a good rotation

  • Ivy Walls

    In the world of recruiting, what makes a family comfortable is the difference between $20M X 4 years plus option of $22M and $22M X five years plus option to buy out at year three and club option for $25M year 6.

    Or $80M plus $22 M ($122M AV)

    And $110M plus $25M or $155M AV) comfort is $30M in hand plus more to come.

    An option to buy out at or near his height places the Cubs on the hook to have a winner approaching or in place by 2016.

    That is cold comfort for change.

  • Pingback: One week until Tanaka-mas | World Series Dreaming

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