Sunday Morning at the Convention: Closing Things Down, Waiting on Tanaka

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

355 responses to “Sunday Morning at the Convention: Closing Things Down, Waiting on Tanaka”

  1. Ballgame17

    I’m agreeing with you two about players with passion. People already think you’re one of the best, why the self-proclamation? My only issue is the interview. The Crabtree thing was just the clincher. I guess I’m more of an “us” type guy than a “me”. You’d NEVER hear someone like Russell Wilson, Brady, Manning say that about themselves…it’s team first. I’m a coach and played teams sports throughout college, so maybe that’s why team first mentality is ingrained in me…

    1. blublud

      I was a long time coach, now I referee and I also played in college. I also know there no I in team but you can’t spell team with the M and the E.

      1. MichiganGoat

        I’m pretty sure there is an “I” in team… see

        1. jp3

          I can’t believe when Sherman did that interview he didn’t curse on live TV and top it off with a backhand to Erin Andrews for her follow up question. She looked scared to even ask it. He probably is the best CB in the game, not relatedly clinically insane.

          1. blublud

            JP3, this probably means he had control over himself the whole time and putting on a show more so than ranting and losing it. Sherman has always been animated. Mostly out of choice.

            1. jp3

              Well he fooled Erin Andrews because she looked terrified. Blublud I agree that he’s the best corner in the league but as far as “in control” I highly doubt it. He’s closer to Jeremy shockey antics than Tebow. For the record Tebow did all that nonsense because it was what he did well in pumping his team up. He had to do that because he was a terrible QB when it came to most aspects of his game, he could run a little but dang he sucked.

              1. blublud

                Maybe. But Sherman has always been kooKoo. Honestly, he lives to talk and put on a show in front of the media. I highly doubt he was personally that mad, because if he was, he would have tried to fight Crabtree. The dude is a show, and IMO, he was doing what he does best, putting on a show.

                As far as being the best CB. No doubt. A healthy Revis is the only one close.

    2. blublud

      In other words, the Heat are a team, but take Lebron(ME) of that team and how good of a team they are won’t matter.

      And on that note, I’m in Atlanta getting ready to walk in the Velvet Room to celebrate D Wades 32 birthday with the Heat. I met Micheal Beasley, Noris Cole and Mario Chalmers earlier today. Lets see how close I can get to the VIP without looking like a Groupie. LMAO


  2. Ballgame17

    haha, c’mon…we can agree to disagree. I wouldn’t want a Sherman type as a teammate. I don’t care how good he is.

  3. Ballgame17

    I gave some crap to a ref this morning after he told my other coach “don’t worry about what I’m doing”. Still looking for my first bench-minor…

  4. GoCubsGo

    How do you make Richard Sherman not talk smack? Make the catch he just owned you on. Holds true for every sport. Make a play, or a stop, and they’ll have no reason to talk smack.

  5. cubmig


  6. Joshua Edwards

    Wow, ol’ Gordy Witty out with a new hit piece on the Cubs’ “spending gap” today. Man, he must be desperate for readers. I didn’t think he’d be trolling this heavily.

    Primarily he argues that the Cubs have money to spend on Tanaka but a crappy MLB record. He conveniently neglects the fact there was little value to be had or players who fit the Cubs needs which, you know, REALLY helps his argument.

    Anyway, his “article” is a load of cherry-picked B.S. used to fit a narrative convenient for getting internet attention (read: click$ and traffic).

    I had a friend at the convention (aside from our man Ace, here) and I heard different stories about the same panel. I just think he’s full of crap.

    So ignore his total fluff piece. I mean, when is he going to start using his access to post something useful?

    1. fortyonenorth

      Wittenmyer’s columns reek of partisan opinions tailored to a south side audience. You have to wonder whether his Cubs sources have dried up and this is his idea of retribution. His columns are so lacking in credibility. I particularly like that his takeaway from the convention is “the message delivered by management…[is that ] this process might take …until the end of the decade.”

      1. Jon

        You guys hate Wittenmeyer because he doesn’t serve you up the kool aid you so desire

        1. fortyonenorth

          You’re a smart guy, Jon. Why don’t you add something to the conversation instead of dropping the tired “kool aid” gimmick?

          I don’t know Wittenmyer and certainly don’t hate him. He’s entitled to his own opinion–but not his own facts. If the Cubs management/ownership said (or insinuated) that the rebuild would take until the “end of the decade” it would be pretty big news–don’t you think? I haven’t read that anywhere other that Wittenmyer’s piece. If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to retract my statement. Otherwise, for him to corrupt their statements to fit his petulant narrative is irresponsible.

      2. jp3

        So this is an interesting comment in Witt’s piece:

        “One of the things we were smart about was not to put a timetable on it,” baseball president Theo Epstein said as the convention opened Friday, acknowledging unforeseen delays in some of the business-related parts of the plan.

        I’m not a Theo hater but that’s mighty convenient for him to not put a timetable on winning…. We could literally be watching his whole tenure as a 90+ loss a year franchise.

        1. CubFan Paul

          “One of the things we were smart about was not to put a timetable on it,”

          Which is a lie.

          Theo&Co clearly led us to believe that we would be competing in 2015

          1. jp3

            Well we are going into year 3 of his tenure and it’s not looking promising for sure. He’s got until spring training next season to look like we might be fielding a winning team before everyone jumps off the “trust in through train”.

            1. jp3

              Theo not through. Sorry.

            2. blublud

              I disagree. Theo has 5 years to show a turn around. And thats just yo show a turn around, not compete for a Chip. From a personal stand point, I would rather we lose for a couple more years and have a mostly home grown team. However, I doubt we a go pass next off season when the TV money will be there, the reno money will be there, not to mention the money that’s already there, despite reports that there is none, with adding significant pieces.

              1. jp3

                Yes I agree maybe we’ll have added income but why do we act like panhandlers right now? The Cubs have PLENTY of change to spare so that Luis Valbuena isn’t our opening day 3B. That’s crazy that we can have a 3B and 2B in Barney that is the best we can do, not to mention all our 4th platoon OFs. Aren’t you from NC?

                1. blublud

                  Yeah. I’m from NC. I don’t think there was an upgrade available at 3B. Drew is still available, but his price is steep and his bat only looks good in the middle, not at a corner. Also, why spend money to block the one position that currently has 3 guys who be MOB ready by the end of year.

                  I am surprised we didn’t add a better outfielder.

                  1. jp3

                    Yes we added Ruggiano as another flipping OF that I saw play many times in Durham and he was far from the best player on those teams. I guess I’m annoyed that I’ve seen quite a few teams here that would give the Cubs a run for their money in a best of 7 series the last couple of years.

                  2. jp3

                    Who is going to be ready by the end of the year at 3B? I like our chances that one of the 3 will be adequate but I’m tired of waiting on unestablished players being banked on as a future solid player, Villanueva is far from a sure thing, Baez may play SS or 2B, and Bryant might not even be an IF when it’s all said and done. And yes Drew isn’t the answer for anything, I’d rather cheapo bat flipping Valbuena for that matter

          2. MichiganGoat

            Theo did what any good leader does, talks in doublespeak so he isn’t guilty when things don’t happen as fast as everyone wants and if we finger lucky he can take all the praise. Why does this shock and upset everyone? This is what CEOs, presidents, and leaders do. And 2015 could still be a turning point. If we sign Tanaka, Baez and Bryant and others make a slash, and the rest of the team progresses. I know that’s a lot of ifs but that’s what success is built on… a lot of “ifs” hitting and exceeding expectations.

            1. blublud

              Theo and doublespeak, please say it ain’t so. :-D

  7. Diehardthefirst

    No but how about Barney?

  8. Rebuilding

    The reaction to Richard Sherman cracks me up. Everyone is upset that their gladiators aren’t civilized enough after the contest for a proper interview. Most of these guys are animals unleashed every 7 days to make you sit on your couch and drink beer. Everyone then wants them to be upstanding gentlemen the other 6 days of the week. So he trash talked – big deal – he just made an unbelievably athletic play to secure what these guys put their lives (with the concussion evidence out this isn’t hyperbole) on the line to accomplish.

    1. Jon

      Can wait till Peyton and Demarius light his ass up in two weeks. Then we’ll see if he still talks.

      1. Rebuilding

        I think he definitely guaranteed that everyone outside of the greater Seattle metro areo will be rooting for the Broncos.

        1. blublud

          In 41 career games, Sherman has like 60 pass deflections and 20 interceptions. He also has 168 tackles and 4 forced fumbles in those games, great numbers for a corner, symbolic of a corner that even if you make the catch on him, your not going to break it. If Mike Trout is off to the best start of a career in baseball, Sherman is off to an even better start to his football career. Look up other corners less than 3 season into their career and compare the numbers. I also follow Seattle closely because Russell Wilson played for my favorite school in college. I have watched some part of all 32 games over the last 2 seasons. I can’t recall seeing one QB/receiver duo “light his assistant up” over the last 2 seasons. Maybe I missed something, and it’s possible less he did get lit up, but I also just looked up his games and couldn’t find any evidence.

          1. blublud

            That supposed to “light his ass up” not assistant.

          2. Rebuilding

            Here is a great article from Deadspin about Sherman. All analytical football sites have him as far and away the best corner in the NFL:


    2. jp3

      Rebuilding you are 100% right. I’m not upset, I was actually shocked he didn’t backhand her on her follow up question. You’ve got to be a a little-lot crazy to play that sport professionally and Sherman is probably somewhere in the middle.

      1. Jon

        What a stupid comment. “You go warrior! No go beat a woman, you earned it!”

        1. jp3

          I’m not advocating that, what are you talking about? I’m just saying he looked like he about snapped on her. Those guys are almost all a little crazy.

          1. Jon

            Plenty of players play this game at a violent/high level without making a penis of themselves.

            My favorite player of all time,Walter Payton, simply handed the ball to the official after he scored. It’s called acting like you been there before.

            1. jp3

              Meh Barry sanders also did that and was by all accounts a great person, even though his dad did make sure to let him know he was the 2nd greatest RB of all time throughout his career. They are more or less exceptions to the rule, for every Walter Payton you can give me I can give you Aaron Hernandez to match.

            2. Rebuilding

              And Sherman did a little WWE style trash talk. So what? That’s not equivalent to beating a woman, Jon

              1. Rebuilding

                And based on my Facebook and Twitter Sherman pretty much guaranteed better ratings 2 weeks from now. With all thats going on in the world, Middle America has found a Public Enemy #1 and it is Richard Sherman

                1. mjhurdle

                  i doubt Sherman’s comments move the needle on the ratings enough for anyone to notice.
                  maybe if it was a week 11 game or something, but this is the Super Bowl. it probably means that there will be a lot more Bronco fans at Superbowl party though.

                  1. Rebuilding

                    Maybe. Like I said, based upon what I’m seeing on social media there are a lot of people who could care less about Broncos/Seahawks who are going to tune in just to see Sherman get lit up

                    1. Rebuilding

                      Maybe the Sherman stories will save us from a couple of the Manning family introspectives

              2. Jon

                Again, I could make a laundry list of players, defensive backs, WR’s etc..that do their job on the field without the wrestling like crap. Not a fan of it. Sherman is definelty the exception, a real dick. Which is fine. Like I said, will he be talking when Peyton lights his ass up in 2 weeks?

                1. Rebuilding

                  Sure. But you don’t think you are going to find a higher preponderance of crazy in guys that do what NFL players do. And ultimately all he did was give a Ric Flair style postgame interview

                2. blublud

                  Sherman is actually a pretty smart guy. He attended Stanford university where academics are more important than football and graduated with a pretty high GPA in communications. I pretty sure he knows how to do an interview, as I seen a really good interview of his on ESPN. I’m also pretty his act is a show as he isa pretty animated dude. His act is actually making him money and is also the reason he is able to talk other players out there game. Some people like it, some don’t. Either way, the guy is great at what he does, however he does it.

                  1. Jon

                    6 catches 150 yards and 2TD’s. That’s what DT has in store for him in 2 weeks.

                    1. blublud

                      You are a joke dude. I never seen anyone put those numbers up on Sherman. Not Megatron and Roddy White. Not even Larry Fitzgerald. But youre predicting demerius Thomas will put up those number. Hilarious.

                    2. Jon

                      Bluebud the only thing worse that a Seahawks fan, is a bandwagon seahakws fan like yourself.

                      Of course, “bandwagon seahawks fan” might be redundant.

                    3. blublud

                      I’m not a Seahawks fan. I am a Russell Wilson fan(NC State). But Sherman is the best right now. Respect it.

                    4. Jon

                      PFF thinks Brent Grimes and Revis were the two best corners in 2013.

                      And while I like Deadpsin and think they are great at what they do(i.e drawing wangs on mascots)…I’m not sure I fully buy into their scouting analysis.

                    5. Rebuilding

                      “Sherman was second to Revis in Pro Football Focus’s yards per snap in coverage. This is a preposterous number on its own, but Sherman’s targets per snap in coverage—the Deion metric, basically—is 9.5, the best figure in the last two years. There’s a huge drop down to Revis at 8.8. Sherman also leads the league in interceptions, QB Rating against, and coverage snaps per reception, and has one of the lowest ratios of YAC to total yards allowed of all cornerbacks. He is a beast.”

                    6. blublud

                      I’m a Buccaneers fan and Revis is the shit. And I understand Metrics. Most Metrics say Revis was the best corner, and Brent Grimes just went stupid in Miami coming off an Achilles injury. To think, my Bucs almost signed him too. But if I had to choose one, I would take Sherman. There are plenty of metric that suggest he was the best also. Revis is the only one close I dont trust Grimes to repeat his as he was never this good before the injury.

  9. Jon

    Hey remember when Roddy White was lighting Shermans ass up last year? He was still talking them, which I will give him credit for, at least he is consistent.

    1. blublud

      I remember both games, the playoff game and the regular season game, vividly. 5 catches for 76 yards and 1 catch for 20 yards is hardly lighting Sherman up.

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