masahiro tanaka[There was actually a fair bit of interesting things coming out of the later panels today at the Convention, and I’ll have more on that tomorrow. For now, I’ll get to what you really want.]

Today, while I was deep in the throes of CubsConning, Bruce Levine was busy doing impressive work on the Masahiro Tanaka front. Among his tidbits today:


Taken altogether and the clear implication is that, as we’ve heard before, the Cubs are very seriously interested in Tanaka, have made a legitimate offer, and the ball is in his court on whether he is willing to come to a rebuilding team in Chicago. Whether anyone can rightly say the Cubs are the “leader” for Tanaka right now is a tougher call, given that other interested teams could simply be waiting until the Cubs made their best offer so that they can match or beat it. That said … it’s still nice to hear.

The front office was, understandably, asked repeatedly about Tanaka today, and although they didn’t give anything up, Jed Hoyer re-affirmed that there are negotiations taking place that involve the Cubs. But Theo Epstein was quick to add that there are a lot of teams interested in Tanaka, and we’ll just see what happens.

Incidentally, at the player development and scouting panel, Pro Scouting Director Joe Bohringer was very forthcoming about the fact of the Cubs’ deep knowledge of, and history scouting, Tanaka. They’ve been on him for years (though they’re likely on many international players for many years). That is not to say he was giving anything up about specific involvement in his availability, and he didn’t give up anything on what the Cubs’ scouts think of him.

  • Xruben31

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 3m
    AL scout just told me that he believes Cubs offer is very strong but still believes that state of team will make it tough to land Tanaka.

    • Voice of Reason

      With the money being similar of course the state of the cubs will be the ultimate factor.

      Its what I’ve said from the start

  • Jason P

    So it appears the Diamondbacks offer was 6/120 and an Sbnation report has the Dodgers at 6/115. Those are very beatable offers.

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      I think Assman might of been dead on when he posted earlier…

      January 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink | Reply
      Cubs offer to Tanaka is in the neighborhood of 6/125…out clause after 4…standard for Close these days…

      • Jason P

        I think they could probably add 5-10 M onto that if they wanted to, though that’s just a hunch.

        • cubbiekoolaid2015

          6/135 sounds good to me. A pitcher of Tanaka’s caliber/age doesn’t come on the market too often, and when you take into account that he doesn’t cost you a prospect(s), I think overpaying a little bit may be well worth it.

  • Xruben31

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 5m
    Finally, NL scout I just talked to believes Tanaka is worth risk, + Cubs willing to spend huge. However, not a contender is huge impediment.

    • Threat Level Midnight

      Meh. If the Cubs made the biggest offer, and put some distance between theirs and everybody else’s, they’ll get him. Plain and simple. These other factors are important, but only the deciding factor if the all the bids are close to one another.

      • MichiganGoat

        I chatted with Kaplan on twitter and asked about which contenders he thinks would give offers that could win. I see the Yankees in a horrible tailspin too many aging giant contracts, Dodgers don’t need more pitchers, Arizona makes sense but Kaplan says Cubs can beat their rumored offer. The Cubs have a bright future and he can be the face of the staff and team. I’m sure his agents are showing him all this.

        • YourResidentJag

          SF is lurking in the weeds. They could use him.

          • MichiganGoat

            Everyone could be lurking but SF is not a name I’ve heard.

            • YourResidentJag

              Levine who mentioned repeatedly on here says they’ll be big players in the Tanaka sweeps.

              • MichiganGoat

                Okay I missed that thanks for the info.

      • Voice of Reason

        Dude, the bids are close.

        • MichiganGoat

          Based on what? Right now we only have speculative reports and figures- do you have something else you’ve seen?

        • MichiganGoat

          Can you tell me when he said this? I just look through his tweets since November and didn’t see SF mentioned, was it in a column or a broadcast?

          • YourResidentJag

            Levine mentioned it late Dec on the baseball show he does on 670 the Score. Unfortunately, the Score doesn’t post it as a podcast. Why? Don’t know.

    • Voice of Reason

      At kaplans tweet:

      Absolutely not being a contender is a huge impediment. It will either be the ultimate factor or play a huge part in him passing on the cubs.

      He’s just not coming to Wrigley field, guys.

      • MichiganGoat

        Why because next year we won’t be competing? There is plenty of future competitiveness to sell, but none of that matters he will go where he gets paid the most. The talk of being on a contender, wife’s career, Japanese presence is just narrative to spin a story. The money is the story.

        • Voice of Reason


          Money is far from the story this time. Cubs say they don’t be outbid. He will go where he feels best chance to win and best fit for family.

          Money is not at all the story.

      • Greenroom

        So, just so we are clear. You don’t think the Cubs will sign Tanaka? Haha. *smh

  • SenorGato

    This is the most baseball excited I have been since the draft. I am nowhere near that excited right now but could reach it later. Its Tanaka or bust in a pretty serious way. Nothing theyve done makes sense without this signing.

    My favorite head comp for Tanaka is Mike Mussina.

  • BenW

    Good to see the Cubs offering serious money. At least if the Dodgers, Yankees, or Angels match the offer, it will cost them all far more in luxury tax money as well.

    And just my thoughts, but does adding Tanaka immediately make the Yankees contenders? That rotation could be quite terrible. CC and Kuroda both were awful down the stretch last year, and the rest of that rotation is full of question marks. The bullpen isn’t great. Their O should be solid, but reliant on a lot of guys who were injured for some time last year (Tex, Jeter, McCann).

    • Blackhawks1963

      The Yankees will field a lineup card that sports Ellsbury, Beltran, Gardner, McCann, Texiera, Soriano and Jeter. Plus a bench that includes Ichiro, Wells, Roberts, Ryan, Cervilli.

      The Yankees pitching staff could include Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova and Tanaka. Plus Robertson fronting a deep bullpen that might also still be in the market to add Balfour.

      The idiots who want to right off the Yankees are just that, idiots. The Yankees don’t rebuild…they reload. And they have 28 World Series Championships in their hip pocket to validate it.

      • itzscott

        Sorry BH, but that may have been a killer lineup 6-7 years ago, but injuries & age have taken their toll.

        Soriano & Jeter are on the cusp of packing it in. Teixiera is chronically injured, as is Ellsbury. Beltran’s best days are behind him & that rotation scares no one. Add to that Mariano Rivera is gone with no reliable replacement in sight.

        The Yankees are in the same position the Cubs were in when Hendry was fired.

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        Every single one of those guys you listed except for McCann, Nova and Ellsbury are on the downside of their career and are not going to get any better. Their performance could fall off a cliff at any point. You’re listing a bunch of guys who will either be retired or useless when Tanaka is in his prime. Seriously, Ichiro and Wells? Thanks for the laugh this morning. Tanaka may end up in NY but not because of the cast of players you just listed.

        • Threat Level Midnight

          Just make that Ichiro in that pairing. The Yankees designated the great Vernon Wells for assignment.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Tanaka signing advocates say that would show Cubs are serious about competing now. Well, what about the lack of power and speed? What have or will the Cubs do now so Tanaka et al will not be pitching from behind most games? And breaking the bank on Tanaka leaves no funds to sign free agents to fill the need. If the up and coming kids are expected to produce now then are the plans to surround Tanaka et al with half dozen rookies? Point is that signing Tanaka elicits more questions than answers assuming he’s the HOF candidate many are forecasting. If he’s not then that raises a whole slew of other questions

    • Blackhawks1963

      Free agency isn’t how you build a ballclub. A strong farm system is the backbone of winning. Free agency should only be used in Chicago as the complementary tool, not the main focus. I want to follow the St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Texas and Atlanta model for winning. And I remain 100% supportive of Theo, Jed and Jason because they are doing this the RIGHT way.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Probability o’ meter has been adjusted….

    Yankees – 75%
    Dodgers – 25%

    Dodgers offered a lower contract offer, but the pull of Los Angeles might be too much for Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka to pass up.

    Cubs? – 0%
    White Sox – 0%
    Diamondbacks – 0%

    • Bret Epic

      Do you have any sort of credible link/source or is this the Blackhawks1963 meter?

    • TanakaWillBeACub

      the Yankees nor dodgers are not going to get him its going to be the cubs like ive said all along its going to be the cubs offering him 175-200 million including posting fee over 7 or 8 years quit posting false information its the cubs 55% the Yankees 35% and the dodgers white sox and diamondbacks at 5% each

  • brainiac

    tanaka will be a PR victory of epic proportions, including for your resident pessimist writing. but if they don’t it’s not only going to be a huge letdown, but highlight just how terrible the ricketts are at this business, and just how many blunders theo has made since he got here. it’s going to look hopeless for years and have a permanent effect on the mood of fans for the rest of theo’s tenure, which will end with his contract.

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  • Ivy Walls

    WOW, this AM the bird flew over my cookoo’s nest and said something similar to Assman. It’s the insurance policy plus the extra cash. They know his emotional button where he was in the same story in Japan, a lovable loser where he lead them to victory.

    Upsets happen, there has to be the right circumstances, NYY and Dodgers have spent their wads, AZ and others not at the top and none willing to offer that insurance (out) at before he turns 30.

    Cubs could actually have a pitching staff that rivals the NL, three bona fide 2-3 level starters, an innings eater at an experienced 5 and a promising level three starter with arms to fill in. Bullpen could be more than credible if Arodys materializes with the likes of Grimm, Ramirez and the slew of arms they have and loaded up with.

    Cut down a run a game and they might have the makings to bring up rookies who would have cover to succeed.

  • BenRoethig

    Two things worry me, 1) Chicago has a very small Japanese-American community. 2), he can’t win now…though that would change big time in hurry with Baez and Bryant protecting Rizzo within the next season and a half.

  • Diehardthefirst

    I would hope that if Cubs decide to make 2014 another rebuild year that they then trade Shark before opening day so team knows that they will be doing it without his overhanging contract issues