masahiro tanakaSince my morning Masahiro Tanaka update had a decidedly pessimistic tone, it wouldn’t be a ridiculous rumorfest without an immediately contrary rumor emerging.

As it has over the past few days, the optimism is coming from Bruce Levine, whose sources clearly believe the Chicago Cubs have a much better chance at landing Tanaka than, well, almost any other sources out there. That’s not to say Levine is wrong, of course; it is merely to note that, presently, as you steel your heart against disappointment, Levine’s position is the exception, not the rule.

From Levine:

There is a ton packed into that short, little tweet. The first thing you see, naturally, is what we’ve heard before from Levine (and Dave Kaplan, back in December): the Cubs won’t be outbid, financially, for Tanaka. You can choose to believe it or not (we’ve heard the same thing said about the Yankees and Dodgers at various times). It’s one data point.

There is also an implication there, though Levine is not explicitly stating it, that Tanaka’s agent has installed some kind of artificial blind bidding process. Obviously the previous posting system was a blind bidding system, but Tanaka is more like a free agent – he gets to choose where he signs. There was talk at one time that Yoenis Cespedes’ agent also tried to do a blind bidding thing (the idea is that you get the best price, because the high bidder ends up bidding against itself), but we also heard that each of the Cubs and A’s were at the same dollar figure – but different years (seems awfully coincidental if that was totally blind). In other words … I don’t think this will be a blind bidding situation, as great as that could potentially be for the Cubs. If Tanaka prefers New York, for example, his agent wouldn’t be doing him much of a service to look at the Cubs’ huge bid and say, “well, sorry, Masahiro, I’d love to take this bid to the Yankees and ask them to match it for you, but it was a blind bidding thing.”

Although I enjoy hearing these positive reports – they aren’t coming from nowhere – I remain of the mind that the Yankees still make the most sense for Tanaka, all things considered. The Cubs, as much as you hate hearing it, strike me as a close second. As I cautioned folks on Twitter:

If that’s how things play out, we’ll all simply do our best to be happy that the money was there to take a serious run at Tanaka. He simply preferred to go elsewhere.

But, um, maybe he’ll choose the Cubs and we can all smile for a minute.

  • DocShock88

    My question is if the Yankees have “won” the services of Tanaka why has it not already been announced? I would think if the Yankees are his choice they would be putting it out there for the press as soon as possible. I would also think that they would want to make sure they could get the medicals and paperwork done in plenty of time to not go up against the deadline. Maybe because it is not as clear cut as some think and Tanaka is really having to think through the decision? I don’t know, but I would think the longer this drags out the better the Cubs chances, or at least the harder they are making it to so easily dismiss them as actual suitors (even though some here and in Internet land suggest nobody would want to come to the Cubs because they are horrible).

  • Kevin

    I agree Doc – I feel (just guessing) the Cubs have the best offer out there and making it tough on Tanaka to say no. Does not mean he will not say no, but if the Cubs have the best offer out there and he prefers the Dodgers or Yanks, then Casey is going to try to get the others to raise it. So yes the longer it goes, closer to the deadline, the better I like our chances.

  • mjhurdle

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 13m
    One agent believes that there’s a mystery team to watch on Tanaka: Mariners

    mystery team sighted!!

  • Ivy Walls

    Been there with C-level exec’s, though sport entertainment is much different, but been where you are there offering more money/deal and the target is compelled to go back to his/her employer or other bidder whom he/she emotionally wants for a variety of reasons.

    Business always has a budget or limit, it is as emotional as rational and the line. My guess is that if Epstein/Hoyer are smart they have put the Cubs above the line of more money or terms, I think the out clause is more powerful than more years or they game him one or the other….4 yrs at $125M plus two club option years with buyout, or 8 years at another price.

    It is the bird in the hand and if $120 was the limit and no one really wants to go over that, remember $20M for the NYY is actually $25M or more and more restrictions forward, it could actually end up being $30M…

  • Johnny Chess

    Houston may be 4 but there are a lot of transplanted from all over US. Who still root for their previous teams. Hardly a loyal following.

  • ssckelley

    Would it help if we threw a fit?

    Us: Theo (daddy), I want Tanaka. Get him for me!
    Theo: I am sorry but it appears he wants to be with the Yankees.
    Us: I want Tanaka and I WANT HIM NOW!

    • Greenroom

      this is funny. See—> Varuka Salt for possible outcomes.

  • Rebuilding

    From Pinstripe Alley: “Now there is word coming out that Tanaka is deciding between the Yankees and Cubs. There were some rumors that he preferred the East or West coasts, leaving out Chicago, but now people think the Cubs offered a contract that is hard to walk away from.”

    • ssckelley

      This roller coaster ride is making me sick. I NEED OFF!

    • CubFan Paul

      “but now people think the Cubs offered a contract that is hard to walk away from”

      I’m prophetic

  • Xruben31

    There has to be at-least 1000 people named Tanaka on twitter and they all want to tweet none stop.

  • Ill see you at Sluggers.
    • Xruben31

      Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 3m
      Seriously, checking twitter to see the translation rumors & for it to only be about Tanaka’s avi was the greatest thing ever. Hilarious.

    • mjhurdle

      i am loving how out of control the mistranslation of this tweet has gotten.

  • Xruben31

    Prediction: Masahiro Tanaka will break twitter.

  • DarthHater

    This Tanaka tweet (by a Cardinals fan, please note) is so fantastic in so many ways, I just have to share it with you:

    BFIB ‏@BirdsOnBats06 1m
    Hey #cubs, your still gay weather you sign this Chinaman or not.

    • TWC

      Dude, the Chinaman is not the issue.

    • Jon

      Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian American, please.

    • DarthHater

      Dudes, blame Mr. BFIB, not me. It’s just part of beiung one of the Best Fans In Baseball. 😛

      • Fishin Phil

        Get a Brain, Morans!

    • Mr Gonzo

      That Chinaman really ties the rotation together..

    • Greenroom

      Ha, where to begin. Grammar? Spelling? Homophobic? Racism? I choose: all of the above.

      • willis

        Hahaha, definitely a tweet spewing of ignorance in so many ways. Hilarious. find.

    • hansman


    • college_of_coaches

      How to spot a Cardinal fan on the internet:

      Poor grammar – check;
      Homophobic statement(s) – check;
      Racist terminology – check;
      Thinly veiled insecurity – check;

      • Fishin Phil

        Add Mullet and Meth-mouth, and I think you’ve got it!

    • woody

      wow that is too much LMAO