2014 Cubs ConventionThe 2014 Chicago Cubs Convention comes to a close today. I’ll have a great deal for you in the coming days about the things that were said, as well as my experience.

In the meantime, more Masahiro Tanaka stuff, because obviously. With a signing deadline of this Friday, and the need to have all of the t’s crossed and i’s dotted by then, we will probably learn of a deal – either the fact that he’s agreed to one, or (more likely) which team he’s selected – by mid-week. That’s just a couple more days after today for anyone who is calendar-challenged.



Yesterday, Bruce Levine reported positive signals throughout the day about the Cubs’ chances of surprising everyone and actually landing Tanaka, but Gordon Wittenmyer quickly offered a rebuff:



A couple of scouts offered similar takes to Dave Kaplan:

I think it’s fair to surmise at this point little more than we already thought entering into the weekend: the Cubs are very seriously pursuing Tanaka, are not putting on a show, and believe they have a chance – likely a very small one – of actually getting Tanaka. The headwinds, of course, remain the rebuilding state of the club, the potentially less attractive city in which the Cubs play, and a lesser ability to toss out perversely ridiculous money with the knowledge that if Tanaka busts you can paper over that mistake later.



Ultimately, to get Tanaka, you get the sense that the Cubs will not only have to offer him the most money, but will also have to convince him that joining this particular team at this particular moment in time is going to be special (which I tend to believe is a fair sales pitch). And Tanaka’s going to have to be attracted to the idea of being “the man” on his team.

There is a lot of chatter at the convention about specific numbers, and about how high the Cubs’ offer might be (some folks say it’s strikingly large). Jesse Rogers hears from a source that the Cubs could go as high as seven years and $25 or $26 million per year. Depending on where you look and to whom you listen, I’ve heard others mention a similar range, but I’ve also heard numbers much lower. As Rogers aptly points out, this is a particularly secretive process, and it’s hard to get solid information. I’d add that, given the strong incentive for teams to provide disinformation, and an agent’s incentive to drive up the price, it’s really hard to be sure what’s accurate and what’s agenda.

As for other suitors, a report out of Japan indicated that at least five teams – the Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and White Sox – have made formal offers to Tanaka, each being for more than $100 million over six years. Although reports at this stage aren’t going to mention such things, you should probably prepare yourself for the fact that whichever team gets Tanaka is probably going to have to give him an opt-out clause halfway through the deal. It sucks, but it’s the price of playing poker.

Tick tock, and all that.




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