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wallet cashChicago Cubs fans have become a dark group of late. And while it sometimes seems like it, their anger isn’t solely directed towards a slightly creepy, but ultimately harmless, anthropomorphic bear. What was once a vocal minority has continued to grow over the last couple months, mostly spurred by a lack of activity in a winter that follows a season in which the team dropped at least 90 games for the third straight year.

Granted, major transactions have all but come to a standstill after a flurry of moves surrounding the Winter Meetings. However, a fan base that’s suffered through so much isn’t interested in excuses. They’re looking for a glimmer of hope, and justifiably so.

Luckily for them, the reason for the recent inactivity could also be the cure for what ails both the fans and the team: Masahiro Tanaka.

With Tanaka recently being posted, the focus of numerous teams has been placed squarely on acquiring the Japanese ace, while other free agents (Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez, among a few others) are left sitting on the sidelines, wondering what their futures hold. Though most of the rumors have been focused on the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, some reports have surfaced lately, indicating the Cubs could actually end up being Tanaka’s ultimate landing spot.

Acquiring Tanaka would be a huge statement about the Cubs’ future, possibly more so off the field than on. Signing Tanaka would hardly ensure a better product in 2014, especially considering that there’s no guarantee he ends up being a dominant pitcher in the big leagues. However, knowing what Tanaka will likely cost, a lot will be learned about the Cubs’ ability to once again act like the team that spent its way to back-to-back division titles seven years ago.

It’s become clear that getting Tanaka is going to require a minimum $20 million a year commitment. Showing the willingness to allocate those types of funds would indicate that not only is ownership able* to open the coffers if the front office identifies the right big-money free agent, but also that the baseball operations side believes the payroll will be increasing significantly in the coming years, allowing them to try to sign other major free agents.

*There has been a debate for a while as to whether ownership has the money to spend and just isn’t doing so or if they are genuinely handcuffed by a complicated loan agreement. This debate only intensified with Jeff Passan’s recent  piece as well as an appearance on Waddle and Silvy, in which he suggested that Ricketts wasn’t just waiting for more revenue generators to come through (the Wrigley renovation along with an expected big-money TV deal), but rather that he wouldn’t spend until the team started winning. If that’s the case, I think we all can agree it is unacceptable for numerous reasons. Passan also suggests that it’s not just an unwillingness to increase payroll, but the entirety of baseball operations is getting the short end of the stick, including many aspects that fans may not care or think about, but have legitimate effects on the team’s ability to improve. For me, I’m giving Ricketts a chance to show he’s willing to spend once the renovations are guaranteed and the TV deal is in place. If the Cubs are still acting like a small-market club come next offseason with some legitimate arms possibly on the market (in particular, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, James Shields, Max Scherzer and Homer Bailey) then I will join those who are questioning this ownership’s willingness to spend like a major market team and do what it takes to put a quality product on the field. This likely deserves much more exploration, but for now, back to Tanaka.

Why would spending on Tanaka now be any indication of increased spending in the future? Looking at the great research done by Jared Diamond and The Wall Street Journal in this piece, we can see just how disastrous it is to a club that earmarks 20% or more of its payroll to one player. There is no way that Theo Epstein and company would allow themselves to invest so heavily in a player as unproven and risky as Tanaka without feeling confident that they could increase payroll in the very near future. The downside of that gamble would far outweigh the upside.

The chance of Tanaka not being worth his contract is too great to invest that type of money if the payroll isn’t significantly increased in short order. Putting a large percentage of your payroll in someone who has established themselves in the big leagues and is very young like Mike Trout? Sure. Tanaka? It just wouldn’t add up for a front office that’s as forward thinking as this one.

In the long run, the rumors placing the Cubs as major players for Tanaka’s services could just be setting the fans up for another major disappointment. And while it’s very unlikely fans hungry for some good news will be satiated by the mere willingness of the Cubs to take on such a large investment, it would undoubtedly be a positive sign.

But make no mistake: the ultimate goal is for the Cubs to land Tanaka, and, while doing so, announce loudly and clearly to the rest of the league that the Cubs are once again major players in the free agent market. Combine that with the minor league system this front office has built, and Epstein’s claim a few months ago that the Cubs are coming fast and coming strong may not seem as funny as it once did.

Follow Sahadev Sharma on Twitter @sahadevsharma. Or else.

  • Kyle

    He’s the incredibly rare young FA, and he happens to fit our long-term organizational hole perfectly.

    It’s hard to imagine any one player ever becoming available that could have a bigger impact on our franchise than he, for all the reasons listed in this article and more.

    • Voice of Reason

      He certainly could have a big impact on our franchise, in a horrible way!

      Spending $25 million for a projected #2 starter isn’t the way to go for this team right now! If we were a #2 starter away then I could see it. Plus, there is no proven MLB track record. We don’t know what he can do! If the bidding gets over $20 million the Cubs will pass and they should.

      You can say he is incredibly rare, but that is open to interpretation. And, what is our long-term organizational goal? I don’t think signing unknowns to franchise record contracts is part of that goal.

      People really need to let this pipe dream go. He is not coming to the Cubs. The Yankees or the Dodgers.

      • Patrick W.

        I’ve noticed a subtle change in this comment. Yes, you are still certain the Yankees and the Dodgers are the only teams he will go to and the Cubs have zero chance of landing him, but now you’re sprinkling in enough of the “It would be horrible if they do sign him” that if they do, you can be comfortable in your already staked out position.

        I like it! :)

        • mjhurdle

          i noticed this as well. :)

          The Cubs were (and still are) a long shot to sign Tanaka, so the “Cubs have no chance!!!’ crowd was confident in their trumpeted opinion. but now that it is coming down to the wire, and there is actually a chance, however small, they have to shift to cover all angles.

      • Noah_I

        The problem with waiting for a number 2 starter until you’re a number 2 starter away is the presumption that said number 2 starter will available at that point. Tanaka is the only number 2 starter available this offseason, with everyone else being a mid-rotation guy or worse. There was also only one number 2 pitcher available in any fashion last offseason, and it cost the Royals Will Myers AND other significant minor league talent to acquire Shields.

  • Patrick W.

    If the Cubs sign Tanaka, I think the structure of the contract will tell us what we need to know about the loan covenant restrictions.

    If the first year or two of salary are bolstered by signing bonus, it’s possible to infer that they can make one time outlays but can only pay X% of revenues for salary. If they have big dollars across every year with a small signing bonus, then the question remains about how much their spending is driven by want vs. must.

    I’m basing this on the only big FA contract we’ve seen, Edwin Jackson, who got 16% of his contract in signing bonus.

  • BlameHendry

    I just want something to be excited about again. Even if the Cubs are well under .500 again next year, at least I’ll wanna watch the games where Tanaka is pitching. Last year I had almost no motivation to watch the games…

    • Danny Ballgame

      That’s why Olt needs to win 3b out of spring training and Baez needs to tear it up in Iowa and get an early summer callup. Fans will be back for that alone.

    • Bilbo161

      Yes a little excitement has always goes a long way toward lifting the depression of a bad MLB team. Tanaka would be a real nice piece of the puzzle too. I guess I always did have to follow individual player performances to get my little bit of happiness from the Cubs. If I couldn’t have a winning team there was always the morning box score that told me how Fergie, Madlock, Hawk or Ryno, or some other guy I was focusing on instead of the team record was doing. This year I’m looking forward to Lake, Castillo, Rizzo, Castro. Yeah, not quite as good a those others I mentioned but add to that Tanaka and some of the top five maybe getting their shot. It will be a lot of fun to watch even if we are still in rebuilding mode.

  • Bilbo161

    Chicago Cubs fans have become a dark group of late. ??? I think the fans who harp on little things like a new mascot are still a loudmouth minority that have their priorities a messed up. Its no fun for writers to repeat the same old stories so they make a mountain out of a mole hill to have stories like that. Not referring to this story, just disagree that its no longer a minority.

    • Patrick W.

      Plurality?

    • Voice of Reason

      When you’ve put up with three consecutive seasons of 90+ losses you tend to get a little dark.

      • dw8

        Cubs fans are like Whitman, man. They are large. They contain multitudes.

        They concentrate toward them that are nigh, They wait on the door-slab.

  • D-Rock

    Do they have to wait until the 24th to make the announcement about which team he is signing with or can they do it before? Anyone know how this works? 1 week to go…

    • Patrick W.

      They can announce him anytime from the moment I typed this until midnight on the 24th.

      • Kyle

        Technically, the deadline is 5 p.m. Eastern time on the 24th.

        But as you noted, the contract has to be completely signed, finalized and filed with the commissioner’s office by then. Which means he’d need to take a full physical, which will presumably take a few days. Which means that I’d be shocked if we haven’t heard his final decision by Tuesday or Wednesday.

        • D-Rock

          Thanks. I’ll be glad when this Tanaka saga is over. A lot more dominoes will most likely fall once he has signed.

  • J. L.

    The title says “Mashiro”.

    • Scotti

      “Bump” for Masahiro…

  • mjhurdle

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 7m
    Sources: #Mariners in same place, needing ownership approval to keep spending. Do not appear in play for Tanaka. N. Cruz still of interest.

    Looks like maybe the Mariners are reaching their financial limits. Doesn’t change a lot, but hopefully takes out another possible ‘Mystery Team’

    • CubFan Paul

      “Looks like maybe the Mariners are reaching their financial limits. Doesn’t change a lot”

      That’s the same as the Mariners’ last update, but it was ignored by most..

  • Isaac

    I don’t like the “we aren’t a #2 away argument”. Sure, maybe not in 2014 (or maybe not in just the first six weeks of 2014), but perhaps all 2015-2019 needs is a #2 starter. So perhaps we are a #2 starter + 1 year away….?

    • Ron Swansons Mustache

      Agreed, it’s a terrible argument when all we are giving up is money if he happens to sign here.

    • Voice of Reason

      Yes, but perhaps all 2015-2019 needs is a #1 starter? And, perhaps Shark and Wood develop into #2 starters and we still don’t have a #1.

      My point is, don’t add ANY big salaries until all the dust settles and we see who plays their way into what position in the field and in the pitching rotation.

      Save all that free agent money so we can add to put us over the top. Maybe the Mariners are out of it and looking to trim payroll so we get King Felix in two years? Then, there could be another #1 that we could add WITH King Felix with the other teams picking up most of the salaries to save money. There are so many scenarios.

      We just have to be patient another year and save our money so we know exactly what our needs are.

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        And perhaps a #1 starter is not readily available between 2015 – 2019 as there are some few of them and the cost via trade may be even more prohibitive. If they believe Tanaka’s talent will translate and that the contract itself won’t be overly prohibitive down the road then you get that player when you can. Your hypothetical with King Felix is too far-fetched to hope for something like that to happen if Tanaka is actually willing to come here. Not to mention an investment in him is a sign that we hopefully start competing in 2015.

        Not to mention we already know our biggest need is high upside young starting pitching.

        • Ron Swansons Mustache

          *So few of them.

          Can we get an edit button?!?

      • Isaac

        Sure, plenty of what if’s, there always will be.

        I would contest that two years from today, King Felix is not a sure-fire ace.

      • Patrick W.

        If your #1 is a #2, and your #2 is a #2, and your #3 is a #2, doesn’t that even out?

        • Danny Ballgame

          Exactly. There are not many true #1 guys in the entire league and you have to get the best pitching that you can when you can get it.

        • Kyle

          More or less. And if you pair that with an elite offense, you can be the Epstein Red Sox.

      • josh ruiter

        V.O.R. your argument in this case is really anything but reasonable. It is full of what if’s and maybes or best case scenarios. Even if we have 3 #2’s, which Travis Wood is highly unlikely to become on a realistic level, and need a #1, that is better than 2 #2’s and still needing that 1.
        Baseball moves that are the best make your team better immediately, in the future, and don’t hedge the farm against making your team better. In no world would we get King Felix or any other #1 without betting the farm (literally 2 of our big 4 and more), and so you make the best baseball move. With Tanaka and Shark in the rotation, both #2’s now supposedly, with both having #1 potential and having only lost the dollars from the pocket, you make that move every single time. If a #1 becomes available next year then you sell off your pieces like Wood, EJax, maybe Shark, and sign that guy. But if you leave the team as is, you are not bettering it.
        The old adage that if you aren’t going forward you are going backward is true, and if you get the chance to get a 25 year old #2 with #1 potential you do it, over and over again. Tanaka is a once in decade kind of opportunity kind of opportunity, with only Darvish being an upgrade in 25 or younger free agents that cost nothing but money and immediately are your best pitcher. Heck he could be our best player in 2014.

  • Jon

    If you pass on a young talented player because of the “player x doesn’t make us a contender argument”, then you will never get better. It’s a loser mentality.

    • gocatsgo2003

      True, but it should just be part of the consideration — if you’re talking about laying out $20MM+ each year, it’s easier to substantiate if you’re slightly closer to being a contender.

      To me, signing Tanaka is more about what ELSE happens if we sign him. With that kind of money on the line, it can’t just be a one-off kind of deal. Do they extend Shark? Flip him for prospects? Get more aggressive with the promotion schedules of our top minor leaguers?

      • Jon

        I sign Tanaka, extend Shark, and (I know you always want to avoid “need” in the draft) but I look to get a college pitcher at four in Beede or Hoffman. If the position players pan out, you are in a position to win most likely with that rotation.

        • gocatsgo2003

          That would seem to be a logical corollary to signing Tanaka. The FO doesn’t seem to much like spending big money draft pool dollars on arms in the first round of the draft, but the really high-level college arms in the upcoming draft may have a sufficient “floor” projection to substantiate that spend.

          • Scotti

            BPA, baby. And if that BPA is a h.s. catcher or h.s. pitcher then you draft a h.s. catcher or pitcher.

      • frank

        I agree–I don’t know that signing one player is going to move the needle that much for this team if all the rest remains the same. What happens after the signing would be key–and not necessarily this year, but within the next year or so. It may mean a change in strategy at the trading deadline, or during next offseason.

    • Voice of Reason

      Jon:

      You’re assuming that Tanaka will live up to his billing of a #2 starter? What if we sign him and he tanks it?

      We don’t have any past history on this guy in MLB. We are rolling the dice. I’d rather sign or trade for a proven top notch starter if we’re going to pay that much money.

      What if we sign him and he tiotally sucks? That will hurt the franchise moving forward. You thought the Soriano contract hamstrung the Cubs? What would a bad Tanaka contract do for us?

      The Cubs will pass on Tanaka and I’m glad. I don’t want him.

      • Jon

        “You thought the Soriano contract hamstrung the Cubs? ”

        We are still going with this urban legend?

        • Voice of Reason

          urban legend?

          Why do you think they couldn’t trade him when they wanted to? Because they didn’t want to eat as much paper as teams wanted them to. That would mean Soriano’s contract hamstrung the Cubs.

          • Jon

            As it has been pointed out..Brett even wrote a topic on this…..Soriano’s contract was certainly not the albatross people make it out to be. He actually produced pretty close to the value. His contract was certainly not reason the Cubs plunged into 90+ losses the past few years. So continue to parrot this myth about Soriano’s awful, awful contract, and foolishly coorelate it to why the Cubs shouldn’t sign another single free agent, but it’s all a bunch of nonsense.

            • Voice of Reason

              Brett also says that Edwin Jackson pitched to a performace level of a “B” average in 2013.

              I don’t agree with the Jackson comparison and I don’t agree about Soriano’s contract.

              The Cubs wanted to trade him, but couldn’t, because he was owed so much money and they didn’t want to eat so much paper.

              You can say that didn’t hamstring the Cubs. I say it certainly did.

              • Jon

                They traded him because their circumstances as an organization changed and got a decent relief prospect in return.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Jon:

                  Of course that’s why they traded him. BUT, it took much longer to trade him than they wanted to because they were hamstrung by his contract. Meaning he was owed too much money so they couldn’t trade him as quickly as they wanted because they didn’t want to eat so much of his contract and other teams didn’t want to take on a bunch of his contract. Again, that hamstrung the Cubs.

                  • hansman

                    The contract made it more difficult but what drug it out for as long as it did was that Soriano provided some value to the 2013 squad and the Cubs wanted a really good prospect back.

                    • blublud

                      Not to mention Soriano could dictate where he went with that no-trade clause.

                  • Voice of Reason

                    blubud:

                    That means the contract hamstrung the Cubs even more!!

                    • Jon

                      You keep using the term “hamstrung” and I”m convinced you don’t have the slightest clue what it means.

                    • blublud

                      Correct. The no trade clause reduced their trade return, but in no way did any money Soriano received hamstrung the Cubs. To suggest so is to be uninformed.

                    • DarthHater

                      It doesn’t mean anything in particular, which makes it a perfect word to yammer about endlessly.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      blubud:

                      You keep right on thinking that!

                    • blublud

                      Please show me one signing or trade that the Cubs could not make because of Soriano’s contract. Please show me one player who was traded to dump salary because of Soriano’s Contract. Please show me one FO piece, coach, minor leaguer, team doctor, scout, Secretary or coffee and doughnut runner that the Cubs had to layoff or not hire because of Soriano’s contract. You can’t. Therefore, in no way did Soriano’s contract leave the Cubs hamstrung.

                    • mjhurdle

                      mmmm, doughnuts…

            • Norm

              That was based solely on Fangraphs WAR.
              B-Ref’s WAR has him as a disaster.
              MLB front offices use their own systems, and I bet they were all mixed from albatross to “not terrible”.
              Plus, most of that fWAR value was from year 1.

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        Now the Cubs will pass on Tanaka? Come on……

        If we don’t get him it is not because we passed.

      • Kyle

        Fortunately, I (correctly) never thought the Soriano contract hamstrung the Cubs.

        • Voice of Reason

          You never thought the Cubs wanted to trade Soriano, but couldn’t find a taker because of the money he was owed under his contract?

          I know for sure that’s the case. They wanted to trade him, but the contract hamstrung the Cubs.

  • bobww1959

    Signing Tanaka has long been seen as the first domino to fall in the league-wide lack of major moves, but it is also possibly the reason behind the Cubs’ lack of movement. If they do manage to sign him, they may open the checkbooks to higher-tier free agents (or bigger deals) this year, seeing the window of competitiveness beginning to open. If they lose out on Tanaka, it makes more sense to stay the course on the rebuild and wait for the next window to open. Just signing him and doing nothing else wouldn’t make sense. I’m not saying they should “BUY ALL THE PLAYERS” if they sign him, but I’d think they would at least look for a significant upgrade at at least one position for this year.

    • bbmoney

      This is the only major move I can see the Cubs making this year whether they sign him or not. The other FA pitchers don’t really seem to fit, and neither do any of the remaining ‘big name’ bats. It wouldn’t, in all likelihood, make much of a difference this year.

      That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make sense though. Tanaka could very realistically make a big impact on their chances to compete 2015 and beyond, and I expect them to be bigger players in other FA moves next off-season.

      As always, I could be wrong, just what I’m thinking.

    • Ron Swansons Mustache

      Completely disagree. Signing Tanaka this year does not mean you need to make any additional big moves for 2014. He is 25 and will still be in his prime when we are hopefully ready to compete in 2015 and moving forward.

      Also, none of the other free agents still available make sense for us.

    • dunston donuts

      Instead of signing additional players this year I could see part of the deal to Tanaka be that they front load the contract because they have the payroll flexibility this year to do so. Below are two sales pitches the Cubs can make to Tanaka that other clubs may not be able to match.

      The first sales pitch would be they aren’t happy with the remaining free agents this year so the money we have to spend we will give to you in the first year of the contract. An example, a $140M contract with $50M coming in year one and $15M over the remaining six years. Time value of money would make this very attractive to Tanaka and his agent. And I’m pretty sure this is something that the others teams would not be willing to match because it doesn’t make sense financially. The Cubs can do it because of how low their payroll currently is.

      The secondary sales pitch would be that we don’t count any season out. If we are competitive at mid season in 2014 we will go all out to improve the club. If we are not competitive at mid season we will make decisions to improve our club for future years. In addition, our elite prospects will be ready by 2015. We also like the potential free agents of the 2015 class and we will spend that offseason. The front loading of the your contract will allow us to spend more on that class and will allow us to have sustained success.

      • 70’s Cub

        @ dunston donuts All along I been thinking the frontloaded contract would allow the cubs to treat this and next years salary as an “opportunity cost” by obtaining core pieces and/or flips. Tanaka’s salary in year three should be in a range of what a big market competitive team would pay a strong line 3 starter.

  • diamonddon

    Cubs will announce signing of Tanaka at the Cubs Convention this weekend. Perfect timing to fire up the fan base. I am confident this is true as I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  • another JP

    Tanaka is perfect for the young athletic team Theo wants to field. Signing him would be a game-changing acquisition.

    • Voice of Reason

      Signing him would be a game-changing acquisition in a good way or a bad way?

  • Jon

    From ABTY on PSD forum…..

    Cubs offer to Tanaka not only biggest, but biggest by far. One source: ‘I hope they realize they’re not signing David Price..

    • Kyle

      I cannot believe how much Tanaka smoke there’s been in the last 48 hours. I’m sky-high on the possibility right now.

      • Jon

        I want the Cubs to give him an insane amount of $$$ and watch VOR drown in his tears.

        • Voice of Reason

          I have no doubt that the Cubs would like him. That’s not the problem.

          The problem is there are two other teams who want him that need him more right now than the Cubs do and are willing to spend a lot more money than the Cubs are right now. Those two teams being the Yankees and Dodgers.

          • Jon

            Let’s say Tanaka agrees to 20 million dollars a year to sign with the Cubs. I want the Cubs to convince him to take the extra 3 million dollars a year, burn it and throw it from a plane above wrigley field. laughing all the way.

      • hansman

        And with the farm system the way it is, even if he comes over and misplaces his arm never to pitch again, the contract would hurt but wouldn’t come close to crippling the franchise.

        • Kyle

          Precisely.

          My expectation is that we’ll get to where we want to be regardless by about 2017, and would be easily able to weather a busted deal. Tanaka completely changes the outlook on 2014-2016, if he does what we hope he can do, and that makes it worth the risk.

          • MichaelD

            I agree. However, I worry that if the Cubs do sign Tanaka and things do not come together by 2017 that the finger will be pointed at the Tanaka signing when the true culprit would be the failure of the prospects. A similar scenario would be as many blame Soriano for the failings of 2010-2013, when the true main culprit was the horrible Hendry drafts.

            There is still a real chance that “The Plan” fails completely.

      • Norm

        I feel like the team with the most smoke leading up to a signing ends up in 2nd place as some other team rarely talked about lands him.

      • Edwin

        It’d probably be one of the most exciting signings in the past 3-4 years.

    • ssckelley

      I think it would be a smart move. I have seen many fans on here clammoring for the Cubs to make a huge splash. The last off season it was Pujols and Fielder, this one it was Cano and Jacoby. Over spending on Tanaka makes sense, it is rare to have someone come up in free agency that does not cost you a draft pick and is only 25 years old.

    • blublud

      This is my fear. I feel 20 mil is a huge overpay for this guy. He should have to absorb some of the risk, just like the team does, that he might not succeed. That decreases his value some to me. I don’t doubt his skill will allow him to be above average at worse, but 20 mil is a big risk. If it’s much more than 20 mil, I’ll hate the contract but be very happy to have Tanaka.

      • ssckelley

        But the Cubs HAVE to over pay for Tanaka to get him to choose Chicago over LA and NY. It is the only chance they have to get him.

  • MightyBear

    OMFG The Cubs are now the 3-2 favorite to land Tanaka according to Bovada.

  • ssckelley

    The one thing that would tick me off about signing Tanaka is failing to sign a right handed slugger for the outfield. If the Cubs got Tanaka they are not many pieces away from looking respectable this upcoming season.

    • Jon

      What right handed slugger (worth a crap and under 30) was available on the FA market this offseason?

      • ssckelley

        Not sure Jon, can we have Soriano back? :D

      • willis

        I don’t think that’s really necessary…they could have one soon enough in Bryant, if Olt takes over at 3rd, and there really aren’t any options out there right now to go after. If they do indeed get Tanaka, you ride your pitching this season keeping you in most games and wait for the offensive cavalry to come up.

  • Ron Swansons Mustache

    And who is the RH slugger for the OF? And please don’t say Nelson Cruz….

    • ssckelley

      Definitely not Cruz, I was hoping for Hart but people say he cannot play the outfield anymore. Honestly I am not sure since I have been out of the free agent loop once I figured out the Cubs were just going to dumpster dive for outfielders.

  • blublud

    CbSSports says that Tanaka has already passed physical for all teams involved. Im pretty sure all teams involved are preparing the paper to submit to the league should they win. In other words, this could go down to the wire.

  • Assman22

    Theo/Jed see signing Tanaka as the turning point in their vast rebuild…Tanaka not waiting til deadline to sign…could be signed by early next week…contract would have to be approved before then…down to three teams…funny to see how Seattle bowed out…

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      Cubs, Dodgers, and Yankees?

    • Ron

      How long does the contract approval process take? Can we expect a real legitimate leak this weekend or can I take a break from obsessing till monday?

      • Xruben31

        Considering he would have to have the total contract completed and have another physical, he might have to choose sometime between now and Tuesday.

        • Ron

          Crap, that means I be checking all weekend.

          • Xruben31

            As will I…

    • Xruben31

      Cubs, Yankees, surprise team?

    • Cubsleeram

      THE ASSMAN HAS SPOKEN!

    • YourResidentJag

      Yep, Seattle really needs him. That is quite interesting. I’ll say Yankees, Giants (per Bruce Levine) and Cubs are three teams. Tanaka goes to Giants.

  • Xruben31

    Anyone hear anything about Raciel Iglesias lately? Sounds like a talented young arm.

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    Quit calling him a #2 when all the analysts are saying that when the cubs sign tanaka he will be the ace of the cubs the Yankees nor dodgers are going to sign him the cubs need him more bcuz he fits with the rebuild

    • Ron Swansons Mustache

      I’ll preface this by saying I hope we get Tanaka but being the Cubs #1 doesn’t make him a #1/ace overall all.

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    Either Coletti or Steinbrenner said tanaka was the cubs to lose I think we should sign tanaka to a 7 year 175 million contract

    • Ron Swansons Mustache

      No way……too much for my tastes and I definitely want the Cubs to get him.

    • Xruben31

      Only if that includes the posting fee.

  • Mike F

    As always good to hear from you Assman. Interesting that they will put themselves in this situation. I see him getting pretty surprising numbers, especially for those who thought 100 to 120M. I think whether they get him or not, given the emphasis they put on this, it is pivotal and ultimately they will rise or fall on his performance. I also think if they end up winning, given the amount of money hill will get, Jeff goes either immediately or before the end of July. Seems like a tremendous amount of eggs in the Tanaka basket.

    • Xruben31

      If they sign Tanaka don’t you think both, the Cubs & Samardzija would be more inclined to come through on a deal.

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    They are going to sign him to a huge deal it will be wrapped up by Monday cubs sign him 7 years 150-175 million dollars they need to blow the Yankees and dodgers away

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    10 years 220-240 million

    • Ron Swansons Mustache

      Why not 15 years at $300 million?

      • mjhurdle

        25 Years and 2.5 billion

        • Jon

          Eleventy billion dollars.

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://weknowmemes.com/generator/uploads/generated/g1390000122901036427.jpg[/img]

            • BlameHendry

              With a bidding war between the Dodgers and Yankees, this is exactly how I expected it to end up.

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

      Well this bite got boring quick.

      • DarthHater

        Ba-a-a-a-h-h-h-h-h-h!

  • Diehardthefirst

    The 1-2 punch of Felix and Tanaka would be formidable if the latter lives up to hype and he can catch the red eye back from home each time he visits to be able to pitch every 5th day

    • bbmoney

      Iwakuma ain’t bad either.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Scherzer 15 million sets floor or ceiling on Tanaka?

    • bbmoney

      Both

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    Tanaka is going to the cubs no chance that the mariners get him

  • Scotti

    If the Cubs DO sign Tanaka, THIS guy gets a raise, no?

    http://www.beaconsathletics.com/inside_athletics/hall_of_fame/dump_bios/masamoto_nao

    Nao Masamoto is the Cubs video guy and he functioned as the Cubs interpreter for the interview.

  • http://Mshipart.com soultosoul

    Agree with the article. Landing Tanaka would signal a turning point in the rebuild. I know we have some amazing prospects for the first time I can remember in my Cub fan tenure, but they’re still a few years away.

    Tanaka may, of course, not pan out at all or be merely average, but, as Sharma said, for a team that has lost 90 games the past three yearswe need some sign that the rebuild isn’t a never-ending process. The only answer we get is wait a few years. This would really signal a light at the end of the tunnel (to me anyway).

    Having said all that, my money is still on the Dodgers. It’s really tough to outbid them these days.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Gardena California would be best place for Tanaka and family if looking for small community which means LA is winner – Seattle if large city

    • half_full_beer_mug

      Exactly where do you pull this cr@p from?

      On second thought, please don’t answer this.

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