Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Blind Bids? And Cubs Lapping the Field with Theirs?

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.

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

250 responses to “Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Blind Bids? And Cubs Lapping the Field with Theirs?”

  1. SenorGato

    The past three years and the Future are kind of riding on Tanaka. Failure to land this destroys the rebuild, and there’s no joke in that. The news I read makes me an optimistic fellow and I am mostly sure he will be a Cub. Still need it to be official because participation trophies are no longer enough to keep this FOs dream rebuild alive.

    1. mjhurdle

      “Failure to land this destroys the rebuild, and there’s no joke in that. ”

      umm……what?

      1. SenorGato

        No joke or stutter there. Their little rebuild goes to crap without landing Tanaka. There’s nothing they have in house to make up for missing out on him, and he plays a position where the Cubs need almost a whole new bunch.

        1. Cyranojoe

          How? Huh? You’re overstating this guy’s value tremendously. There’s every possibility that he’s been overused and his arm falls off next year. There’s absolutely no guarantee that he’s anywhere near as strong a pitcher as, say, Yu Darvish — in fact, all the scouting reports that came out before the bidding began made it clear he is absolutely not expected to be as good as Darvish. Odds are decent that, even if Tanaka’s not a bust, he ends up simply being a good #2. So please, provide your argument as to why missing out on Tanaka has anything to do with how the Cubs play out in two years — and don’t forget how very strong the free agent pitching market is going to be next year.

          1. SenorGato

            He is instantly the best pitching talent in the org with only Shark as competition. Not sure if anyones noticed that their last ML ready high impact move was Rizzo almost two years ago.

            there is nothing simple about “only” being a “#2.” The Cubs dont even really have that right now, nor is there anyone coming.

            1. Cyranojoe

              OK, I’ll accept that Tanaka would be one of our best pitchers by far. So?

              How does *not* getting him “destroy” the rebuild? Still don’t see an explanation.

              I agree with the idea that it’d be great to get pitchers of Tanaka’s talent level sooner than later. But it doesn’t interfere with the timeline, seeing as there is no (official) timeline.

              1. SenorGato

                Correction: He would be THE best.

                The answer is it just does. If youre unhappy with losing the answer is obvious. If youre oK with cheap and rebuild and other things that barely matter then i guess its less obvious. I believe Kyle has addressed it…2015 offseason has enough need without rolling more over due to nonsense.

                1. Patrick W.

                  Well that settles things. The answer is it just does.

                  IT JUST DOES PEOPLE!

                2. Cyranojoe

                  AH. So the answer is you’re tired of the rebuild and you don’t care to see it to the next stage. You wanna be done, and when you see (well, hear about) talent that could get us a leg up, you wanna buy it NOW MOMMY NOW, GIMME!

                  Apologies for infantilizing your perspective for the sake of a joke. I do understand now, though. You are speaking for those who are (understandably) tired of the rebuild concept and don’t want to give it another year for the prospects to get out of AA ball.

                  I don’t blame you, not fully, but I’m not giving up on the rebuild this year. If we’re not playing at at least .500 or better ball in 2015, then I’ll go through my closet and see if I can’t find my pitchforks and torches to come join you. Until then…

                  1. SenorGato

                    Tanaka doesn’t finish the rebuild so already off to a bad start.

                    So what about those guys is more appealing? America? Not enough.

                    1. Cyranojoe

                      Not saying they’re more appealing, although, damn, David Price? If not for the recent injury history shadowing him….

                      But even without him or them, I still see a rebuild un-destroyed by their absence.

                    2. SenorGato

                      Take off the Cubs prospects colored glasses and its a litttle easier to see. Believe it or not, even with the super spects of the future backing them a future rotation anchored by CJ Edwards and Travis Wood and Justin Grimm is probably going to cause some wincing for the Cubs.

                    3. Cyranojoe

                      I just don’t see a failed rebuild as automatic, that’s my point. No Tanaka? CJ Edwards, Wood, and Grimm not floating your boat? You don’t think we couldn’t trade a couple of prospects for a decent pitcher? Is it *really* Tanaka or total bust in your eyes? That’s the thing I can’t see.

                    4. SenorGato

                      Part of the problem might be expectations? I do not see how it is feasible to put together a great enough rotation to max the best years of the upcoming bats. I would STILL want a Masterson next year with Tanaka, without him its Masterson plus another major ~30 YO rotation FA next year. Probably not how anyone in the FO would want to do it.

                      Realistically they absolutely need this and the vast majority of the indications are that the FO is treating the situation as such.

          2. Kyle

            “Destroy the rebuild” is further than I would go, but we’re not in a great spot for the next couple of years without Tanaka. Without him, might as well dump Samardzija too and we’re years away from building a championship pitching staff.

            1. SenorGato

              Not in a great spot puts it lightly. If things go well without him then theyre on pace to maaaaaybe be those all bat Rangers teams. That would be the happy outcome.

            2. Cubbie in NC

              I think that if the Cubs get Tanaka, it puts a lot of pressure to retain Samardzija on the Cubs. Without Tanaka the we are too far away excuse to not extend Samardija is more relevant.

              Then trading some prospects for a #1 or a big free agent signing makes a lot more sense.

              1. SenorGato

                With Tanaka they have way more flexibility on the Shark situation – trading him OR extending him becomes a little easier to take. Ideally Tanaka sets a ceiling for a Samardzija extension since I doubt Shark is better, and maybe it makes Shark a little more willing to stick around for less money and win with the Cubs.

        2. Stogie

          You’re forgetting the possibility Tanaka fails miserably.

          1. SenorGato

            Anyone can fail miserably. Tanaka is less likely to do so than the vast majority of MLB hopefuls.

            1. Stogie

              He’s been pitching to inferior Japanese talent. I highly doubt the winning team for him will be happy with their decision in 2-3 yrs.

        3. Kevin

          Missing out on Tanaka means that its all over? Really? Suppose Tanaka was not even posted, then the rebuild would have been over as well? My as well give up? Really?

          1. SenorGato

            What is the point of supposing that? An escape from reality? That would suck and its good that he is available now.

            1. Kevin

              The point was missing out on Tanaka does not mean the rebuild is over or its all doom and gloom like some are suggesting that if we lose Tanaka that its all over ….. I disagree. That was my point. Had he not even been posted I do not think people would be suggesting the rebuild is over and a failure. Since it is not.

              I may not have specified it clearly but that was my point.

    2. Wilburthefirst

      Failure to sign would certainly not accelerate the rebuild. but don’t see issue from your perspective at all,

      1. SenorGato

        Failure to sign does more than not accelerate. This is about keeping pace. Failure to sign actively retards the rebuild.

        1. Cyranojoe

          Pace with what? Based on what? Here, I’ll help: the Cubs need front-line pitching come 2015 and beyond. They don’t really have that coming up the ranks in the minor leagues.

          But that’s where I lose you. Are there no good pitching free agents coming up in 2015 and 2016? 2015 includes Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, James Shields, Justin Masterson, and Homer Bailey. 2016 may include David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, Mat Latos, and Kris Medlen.

          How is a pitcher from Japan definitively so much better than any of these guys? Or are you saying that the Cubs *must* get a top-of-the-line gamble — no sorry, you mean starter — for 2014 in order for the rebuild as you define it to succeed?

          1. brainiac

            now that theo has destroyed the infrastructure of the mlb squad, there’s no incentive for a player looking to make a splash in the states to play in a midwestern city with unreliable promise for the future. he’ll sign with the dodgers or something and the cubs will take so long to rebuild theo will get disgusted with his tethers and leave for another team. jed will become the new president and he’ll only sign players from the waiver lines.

            1. Cyranojoe

              Huh? What infrastructure was destroyed? Did we have a contender the year before Theo showed up?

              Ah, memory…

            2. BT

              I’m going to go out on a limb and say your non-Tanaka prognostications don’t happen. At all.

            3. Kevin

              He destroyed the infrastructure? Can you elaborate please because I dont think anyone gets what you are talking about?

          2. SenorGato

            How?

            - Younger
            - Best control and command
            - No injury
            - No pick comp
            - Probably a top 1-2 fastball in that bunch andalmost definitely 1-2 in stuff
            - Hes actually available
            - No injury history
            - Only Price can match his pedigree

            I would like to hear why those guys are even in the same tier? Is being American/playing in America so much of a plus? This team would need AT LEAST two of those guys to hit without Tanaka…

            1. SenorGato

              Oh, and good luck getting them here after a Tanaka-less 2014 here.

            2. Cyranojoe

              No injury? Have you seen how many pitches Tanaka’s thrown in his career? In the MLB, they’d be taking bets on how quickly his arm will fall off — in ST or in April.

              And yes, being in America actually *is* a big plus. It shows you have experience with the 162-game long season. Endurance over a long season is important, and different than throwing a ton of balls over the short season… otherwise you’d be able to list more than a handful of successful Japanese players, let alone pitchers.

              Tanaka-less 2014, I hear you. On the other hand, the prospects will be ostensibly coming into next ST expected to take the starting spots. Even with Tanaka, you think this team as composed is *likely* to do .500 or better?

              But now we’re arguing quality of the team as opposed to the destruction of the “rebuild” concept, a much more reasonable debate. You have a right to feel Tanaka’s really valuable to the Cubs — I agree, even! But the get-him-or-it’s-a-failure rhetoric is what I and I think others found frustrating/ridiculous in your comments. The rest is absolutely a fair matter of opinion/fact worthy of discussion.

              1. SenorGato

                Yeah no injury – as in he has not suffered an injury. He has also left the first injury nexus while a healthy guy like Masterson will be entering the second one. You knock the man for his pitch counts (with no injury) to then lecture me on how we don’t know if he can endure…I’m not getting it but it sounds like a load to me.

                I feel like quality of the team and rebuild are connected…Must just be me.

                1. SenorGato

                  Wait so seriously…The one point in those guys’ favour is their perceieved endurance levels? Yet you’re actually arguing what I’m saying in that Tanaka is a must for this rebuild? Hmmmmk then.

                  1. Cyranojoe

                    Not the one point. A major point. And I attempted to make a distinction between the kinds of endurance that Japanese pitchers have compared to MLB. I welcome being schooled on this — I don’t know much in this area, I’ll admit. In any case, I’d say that Tanaka *looks* to be one of the top FA pitching options in the next 2-3 years, which does help your case, but unless he was clear and away the best and everyone else was *crap*, I couldn’t agree that that point supports the thesis that *without* Tanaka, the rebuild is a failure.

                    And I must be misreading this second post you made in reply to yourself. If you’re saying what I think, then things are getting silly.

                    1. SenorGato

                      A major point is debatable and still only makes it one…

                      Not sure what you want but guys like Kuroda, Iwamura, Darvish, and even Dice-K have taken full starter workloads and succeeded in fairly recent to recent MLB history. This isnt even a real knock at this point.

                      I have noooooooooo fn clue how a top 2 (most likely THE top) SP FA over the next 2-3 years is anything but a must. Throw in age, no comp, probably still a “cheap” contract compared to similar American FAs who still hit later….Still dont get how this is questionable.

              2. Scotti

                “No injury? Have you seen how many pitches Tanaka’s thrown in his career? In the MLB, they’d be taking bets on how quickly his arm will fall off — in ST or in April.”

                Tanaka has had more recovery time between his starts than MLB (or even MiLB) pitchers get. That’s a HUGE difference. The problem arises when he comes to the States and starts throwing on 4 days rest.

                1. Cyranojoe

                  I’m willing to admit I don’t know enough about predictable health/arm problems in pitchers and what are red flags and what aren’t. But if this isn’t a problem, why don’t we see more successful Japanese pitchers translate over to MLB? Serious question.

                  1. SenorGato

                    Have you noticed that a lot of Japanese pitchers
                    ARE working out and that there are more of then than ever? This isn’t the 90s.

                    1. Cyranojoe

                      Nope, I haven’t noticed beyond the general sense that more are working out. Happy to have a blind spot corrected. So, Darvish, Kuroda… who else?

                  2. Scotti

                    “But if this isn’t a problem, why don’t we see more successful Japanese pitchers translate over to MLB? Serious question.”

                    The players like Matsuzaka (Dice-K), Darvish and Tanaka all have clean MRI’s coming in (they wouldn’t get these big commitments if they weren’t clean). I’ve long advocated a six-man rotation. A six-man might have helped Prior and Wood as well.

              3. Scotti

                “Even with Tanaka, you think this team as composed is *likely* to do .500 or better?”

                I’m not the OP but, Yes. The starting five is very good (including Samardzija), the bullpen is improved and, while I’m not a positive regression guy, I do believe that 2013 was close to Rizzo’s floor and you’ll see a massive improvement from Castro. I also think you’ll have Baez up and productive for about 3 months (not so with Bryant) and I’m more bullish on Lake and Castillo than others.

                So, well above average starting pitching, slightly below average relief (which is marginalized by more starting IP) and above average defense (Castillo, Rizzo, Barney and Castro (yes, he’s above average)) leaves room for a below average offense (that actually supplies some power). If Olt is healthy then that impacts both defense for the better and offense for the better.

                1. Cyranojoe

                  Cool. :) I’d like to agree. Just not so sure, particularly in terms of the outfield and the bullpen being upgraded. Kind of a matter of how things bounce, which makes it difficult to say “likely”.

                  1. Scotti

                    There are certain things I’d expect and certain things that could go either way. I’d expect Tanaka–like Darvish and Matsuzaka–to be better than average but not by a whole lot in his first year. I’d expect a lot of fan support and excitement around the team and that really does drive the players.

                    I do, regardless of Tanaka, expect a significant improvement from Castro and about the same from Rizzo and Castillo. And, I’d expect an improvement from Samardzija–just him keeping pace with what he had accomplished through 2012 and the first half of 2013 (I’d love to see him in a 6-man rotation).

                    I’d expect an improvement from the bullpen because Marmaol was toast and we were committed to Rule 5 guys and reclamation projects.

                    You would obviously get some other surprises (good and bad). But, IMO, the above improvements would be those that you can count on. The talent is latent and the skill sets are proven.

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          There was a very real chance that Tanaka was not even going to be posted. That he might be could not be in the X-year plans because which Japanese players might get posted is difficult to predict. Like FAs, you simply cannot count on them appearing.

          As such, we would have to take the opposite view: landing him accelerates things (this is a “freeby” outside the usual talent pool from which you can recruit), not landing him leaves us where we would have been had he never become available or of interest.

          1. DarthHater

            Failure to ignore logic destroys the rebuild. :-P

          2. Kyle

            Where we would have been if he’d not been posted *and* had just more or less passed on an entire offseason.

            It’s not that great of a position to be in, at least for a couple more years.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              No, it’s not a great position in which to be, but it’s the position in which a lot of teams find themselves. The Yankees are very much in this position, too: they have a pitching staff that has been deteriorating for a couple of years, but they haven’t been able to make a big upgrade in some time because of the lack of top-notch starters available as FAs, and because teams like the M’s outrageously decided to sign their starters to long-term contracts instead of letting the Yankees have them.

              (Having Pineda never throw for them because of injury also has hurt the Yanks’ long-term plans: it’s possible that he could come back and pitch well, but after 2 years of not pitching in MLB and at least one major surgery, that’s a huge “if”.)

              1. Kyle

                Hooray. Our future is shaky, but so is a lot of other teams’?

    3. DarthHater

      So, if Tanaka had never desired to go the US in the first place, or if MLB had failed to renegotiate the posting system, then the entire Cubs rebuild would have been destroyed as a result, eh?

      1. itzscott

        Only if the US never existed

    4. FullCountTommy

      I don’t understand your logic here even a little

      1. SenorGato

        Probably bc youre overly content with what has been going on. its not sunshine and lollipops bc ppl really like 4-5 prospects.

    5. frank

      Seems to me a *slight* overstatement. So there will be no one available, ever, that they can sign to help in the rebuild? I get that it doesn’t help if they lose out on him, but c’mon.

      1. SenorGato

        Nope, too many underrate the present. Or you can name me his equal substitute that will be readily available for just money…Not even a contest to me…Wont see as great a fit in FA until MAYBE 2016, and that is with luck.

        1. frank

          I understand about underrating the present; however, it’s impossible to try to look into the future, as you’re asking. Up til a short while ago, it wasn’t even a certainty that he would be available. And he may not be as good as some are saying. I agree that given what we know, he fits perfectly for what they’re trying to do, but I will not go so far as to say that the rebuild will be shot if he doesn’t sign here.

    6. Kev

      Excuse me, Señor, but saying it would “destroy” the rebuild is a bit hyperbolic, no? “Destroying the rebuild” isn’t failing to acquire a single pitcher, it would be obliterating our farm system, which, in case you don’t recall, Jim Hendry did a few years back, and it sucked, and we’re still seeing the consequences.

      Tanaka is just one player. Fear not, for other free agents will emerge, both within MLB and internationally. I’m sure that Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t even on your radar until a couple months ago and now suddenly he’s the keystone to our entire organization in your eyes. Think about that for a moment or two.

      1. brainiac

        i agree with this. tanaka isn’t a savior, and even if we do sign him you’re setting him up for failure. i do think that the cubs’ PR system of making promising for the future while doing nothing with the professional team is making people angry, so his signing would be a huge score for morale. enormous really. but he’s just one pitcher and one piece. if we don’t get him we’re looking at a crumbling tower of babel by the end of next year when one or two of the minor leaguers don’t pan out.

  2. ari gold

    There is absolutely zero chance that Tanaka is coming to the Cubs – Blackhawks1963

    Had to get it out of the way

  3. itzscott

    Funny, but I don’t see these types of positive Tweets coming out from the Yankee writers.

    1. DarthHater

      “Funny, but I don’t see these types of positive Tweets coming out from the nattering nabobs of negativity.”

      FTFY ;-)

      1. itzscott

        The truth lies somewhere between the nattering nabobs of negativity (plagiarizing Spiro Agnew??) and the Kool Aid addicts.

        1. DarthHater

          Please! Plagiarizing William Safire (who was plagiarized by Spiro). :-D

          1. itzscott

            Yes….

            I forgot….

            Agnew was better at stealing from others than stringing words together

  4. Mr Gonzo

    Thank goodness this isn’t a drinking game… yet.

    1. itzscott

      Drinks?

      Did someone mention drinks??

      1. Cyranojoe

        LOL. I love it.

        Tanaka wants a place for his wife’s career to flourish! DRINK!

        He wants to be “the man”! DRINK!

        He wants to join a winning franchise that’s ready to compete in 2014!

        Ah, hell. DRINK.

        1. itzscott

          I’m there, man

        2. Mr Gonzo

          Positive Levine tweet – one drink
          Negative Wittenmyer tweet – three drinks
          Obsessive Tanaka Post on BN.com – shot of whiskey and a tall boy

          1. Cyranojoe

            Alcohol poisoning incoming…

  5. salesguy

    “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.”

    Brett,
    I’m sure I understand your logic here, the Yankees have an aging roster that is a literal time bomb for injuries, in fact though it is a talented roster, I would doubt the starting 9 plays together less than 100 times this year. What I see is an aging roster, with little young talent on the Horizon, few pieces that they can trade off to “reload” with young talent, and almost no payroll flexibility, in fact given that, I really think projecting a .500 team for even the next 3 years is a stretch. I can understand if you made this argument for the Dodgers, but If I’m Tanaka, and I’m looking forward, how do the Yankees make the most sense? You keep making this argument, I just want to understand how you get there.

    1. itzscott

      You failed to include the fact that pretty much all impact players have been tied up with long term contracts by their teams, won’t become free agents and consequently aren’t/won’t be available for the Yankees to buy to surround Tanaka with over the length of his contract.

      1. Ron Swansons Mustache

        Agree completely with salesguy and itzscott. I understand completely that the Yankees are considered the favorite but strongly disagree that the Yankees make the most sense considering the points laid out above. If I had to pick a team to join starting in 2015 moving forward based on future success I would choose the Cubs over the Yanks. I don’t think the Yanks do anything in 2014 either.

        1. Cyranojoe

          Dodgers continue to make the most sense in the now and the long-term, honestly. Then, I’d have to learn more about wtf is going on in Seattle before landing in Chicago, if I was Tanaka. My own gut would say Chicago, but I don’t know what kind of youth movement they have going on over there with the Mariners.

  6. Diehardthefirst

    My advice to Tanaka- if you come to a fork in the road then take it

    1. Cyranojoe

      Can’t believe I’m responding to diehard, and with a racist joke to boot…

      “Fork? I assume the man uses chopsticks!”

      1. CubChymyst

        It takes skill and some practice to use chopsticks. More power to him. :)

    2. DarthHater

      Well-known fact that life-long use of chopsticks affects grip and shortens the career of Japanese pitchers. :-P

      1. Drew7

        C’mon, Darth – a true DH line would go:

        “Hearing chopsticks shorten careers. If true a fork-only clause in contract is a must as Carpal Tunnel would cause cripple budget.”

  7. woody

    I get the feeling that LA isn’t going to go gonzo in this bidding process. They have all the factors in their favor in respect to proximity to Japan, Hollywood (for his wife) and a much larger Japanese community and the beautiful weather. That said I get the feeling that it’s down to cubs and yankees. And for once the yankees seem to be really flawed. They have the A-rod drama along with no farm system and aging players. I have to think that Tanaka’s agent is aware of all of this and is laying out the pros and cons for him. Basicly it comes down to playing for a contender now that has maybe a two year window before they self destruct or a team that may not be cometative for the next two years, but potentially a power house after that for many years to come. I like our chances.

    1. itzscott

      I live in NYC…. The consensus among baseball fans here is that the Mets will get to the WS before the Yankees do.

  8. itzscott

    If Tanaka signs with any team other than the Cubs, I’d urge Brett’s wife to keep him away from razor blades.

  9. brainiac

    Let’s be real here – Tanaka has no incentive to take slightly more money to come play for a team with unpredictable owners not set on winning. We’ve had team austerity measures for several years, and while a table cornucopia looks nice, it doesn’t change the stank of your mother’s meatloaf.

  10. cubman87

    so many idiots on twitter its hard sorting out the BS from reality…

  11. Lou Brown

    I am not seeing how the Yankees make more sense either. I just assumed the Yankees would be throwing out the most money, and that would be how they ended up with Tanaka. But I could not see any reason why he would take less money to play on a geriatric squad, that couldn’t hold onto its one “young” productive free agent. If they are building only through free agency, letting the most talented free agent on the market leave them is not a good way to start. Seems to be a franchise on the way down for the next few years.

    1. woody

      Exactly, and LA has to figure they can get a discount because of all of the favorable fators the west coast has to offer. Not that LA doesn’t have the money, but will they is the question. I think Hanley Ramirez is a FA after this next year and it’s going to take some dough to re-sign him. I am 99% sure it is all yankees and cubs. I hope the news comes tomorrow.

  12. Patrick W.

    Cubs sign Tanaka and trade him to Mariners for Cano.

    Hahahahaha I’m Diehard now.

    1. DarthHater

      “I’m Diehard now.”

      Getting a little full of ourselves there, aren’t we? :-P

  13. josh ruiter

    I understand this whole showbiz wife, coastal geography, winning baseball thing, but I don’t fully understand how that applies to the Yankees?
    They have been a winning team, but it seems to me that the majority opinion is that it will be hard to get FA studs in this new CBA with teams locking up young stars early and for a long time. Unless I guess, they are resigned to fielding a team year in and year out of guys well into their 30s and pay them until they are damn near 40. Tanaka is 25 and is in it for the long haul, and the Yankees age, payroll, and lack of a solid farm system seems to suggest a window of regression at least in the next 3-4 years. Pair that with a division that features clubs all on the rise and using youth movements to sustain it, and the Yankees are a long shot to be highly competitive during this contract. The Cubs on the other hand have roster of young guys, payroll flexibility, and farm stocked with talent that is rising quickly. More money, more young talent to surround Tanaka throughout the contract, and more payroll flexibility than the Yankees seems like a no brainer to me.

    1. josh ruiter

      As for the location, it’s already well established that Chicago has the 6th largest Japanese population in the U.S. (and has a ton of homegrown showbiz talent). In a day and age where a plane is only 5-8 hours from any location for a movie/show/music production and it’s hard to argue that as a significant factor. factor in only 81 games a year, or less than 1/3 of the year in Chicago for Tanaka and they could easily have a home elsewhere and just rent a place in Chi-town for home stands.
      Lastly, Tanaka has shown to be a guy who loves a challenge and embraced that with his team in Japan. In NY he is another face in the crowd of high-profile guys, but in Chicago, as Epstein has said, he will be the #1 of the rebuilt Cubbies, and he will be the man to lead the Cubs to the promised land. Sounds like a situation Tanaka would like to take head on.
      Besides all this…its well rumored that the Cubs have way outbid everyone else and its down to NY or the best contract…no sure thing, but 9/10 guys take the contract.

      1. brainiac

        these are all good reasons that he might sign here, so let’s cross our fingers. i can’t see one reason he would sign here besides money. but money’s a pretty good reason.

  14. DarthHater

    I was just looking at Tanaka’s Japan League stats and noticed that, in 172 starts, he has only 42 plate appearances as a batter. That seems like too much for a DH-system and not enough for a no-DH-system. Anybody know the rules on pitchers hitting in Japan?

    1. DarthHater

      At any rate, he appears to be a terrible hitter – which could be a reason he might prefer going to the AL.

      1. brainiac

        a pretty important point

      2. Patrick W.

        In Japan, the Pacific League adopted the DH in 1975. In 1988, the minor league Eastern League and Western League used it, but Central League farm clubs are allowed to opt out. The Central League never used the DH until interleague play began in 2005, when they used a DH on the road against Pacific League teams.

        From BR

      3. Diehardthefirst

        Last I looked Mariners are in AL and 4 hrs closer to Japan than NY

    2. Patrick W.

      It’s optional in Japan.

      1. Patrick W.

        (this was a joke)

        1. DarthHater

          Fool me once, shame on you… ;-)

      2. DarthHater

        The guy has two singles, one double, and zero walks in 42 plate appearances, and you’re telling me his team CHOSE to let him hit that many times when they could have used a DH? :-D

        1. DarthHater

          ack

  15. ramy16

    I like Tanaka. .however I think that the money we’re going to spend we could have both Santana and Jimenez! Heck with rotation of Santana, Jimenez, Arrieta, Wood and Jackson or Grimm…sound like a great shot to win the NL Central to me!

    1. Xruben31

      1: Santana is 31 and Jimenez will be 30 on the 22nd and they want 5 years each.

      2: They will cost us a 2nd round pick.

      3: They’re probable to regress in each of their remaining seasons.

      4: Samardzija, Tanaka, Wood, Jackson and Arrieta is a way better rotation.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Theo isn’t giving up a pick for Jimenez or Santana. Neither is happening.

        1. Kevin

          I hope you are correct, I do not want either Jimenez or Santana even if it was without a pick, let alone giving one up.

    2. ClevelandCubsFan

      No, no, no. First, that rotation is only moderately better than last year’s (when we had Garza). Second, we have no impact bats. Even with Rizzo, Castro, and Barney rejuvinated, that would MAYBE push us to 81-85 games (max!). And then Santana and Jimenez go downhill, and we lost a lot of money for no playoffs.

    3. Kevin

      Santana was looking for over 100 million dollars himself? Nether Santana nor Jimenez have the consistency, Santana is good ever other year and bad every other year – he will not be worth nearly what someone signs him for plus you lose the draft pick. That is a BAD contract waiting to happen.

      Jimenez stunk up the place for several years then had a good half and I dont think banking on him is a good idea, he is another bad contract waiting to happen.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, both have had pretty consistent peripherals. It is the outcomes that are inconsistent. The truth is, both are pretty good but not great pitchers. If you have these guys as your 3rd or 4th starters, then you probably have a pretty solid rotation: most of your opponents won’t have pitchers that good going #3 or #4.

        However, they are closer to icing than they are to cake.

        1. Kevin

          That is a good point Doc, but the problem I have is they want #1 starter, ace money when, like you said, they are #3′s or #’4′s on good team. I do not see either as a TOR starter or someone getting you to the playoffs.

  16. Cubsin

    The Cubs will survive with or without Tanaka, although I would expect them to contend earlier with him.

    Between the high cost of living in New York, the high tax rates, his relative lack of importance to the team and the fact that the Yankees are a deteriorating team with no farm system, he’s going to need more money, fabulous endorsement opportunities and a show business job for his wife to make New York a better fit than the Cubs.

  17. Kevin

    Anyone like the idea of brining back Matt Garza? He may be looking at a 3 year deal now, does not appear anyone is going 4-5 years. What do you think we could sign him for? Does anyone want him back? I would like to see the Cubs sign him and Tanaka.

    1. brainiac

      i think 3/48 would be a great haul with garza.

      1. Kevin

        I was thinking along the same lines 3 years – $15-$17 per year = 3 years $45-$51 million and your bid is right in the middle.

    2. Cyranojoe

      I don’t hate it, I certainly liked the guy for most of his time here, but it won’t happen — he’d bring in much more drama than he’d be worth, and I don’t buy a drop of the “clubhouse cancer” nonsense. Love Garza’s competitive fire and seemingly conflicting ability to keep things light and loose when he’s off the mound, but… RR will have enough to contend with this season.

  18. Blackhawks1963

    No chance Garza comes back. He wore out his welcome here. He’s an asshat and that is partial explanation for why he is still without a new team.

    1. DarthHater

      There’s a 100% chance he ends up in either NY or LA.

    2. Diehardthefirst

      When Garza was with team I advocated getting rid of him due to poor mechanics wearing on arm-can’t believe some want him back!

    3. mjhurdle

      the unfounded “Garza was a jerk” rumors are harder to squash than cockroaches.

      1. Rebuilding

        Why do you say “unfounded”? I’m not sure jerk is the right word. More like an immature personality that really wears on people. All of the Chicago beat writers have alluded to it and the same came from Minnesota and Tampa. Just the other day David Kaplan said mockingly that Rizzo got a big ovation at the convention and it was probably the first time he hasn’t gotten a Matt Garza pie in the face afterward

        1. mjhurdle

          Well, i guess if you change ‘jerk’ to ‘personality-type that isn’t loved by everyone in the world”, then they wouldn’t be ‘unfounded’.
          but i was actually speaking to the rumors that Garza was a ‘jerk’ or a clubhouse cancer, to which i have yet to see any evidence. Not to say there isn’t any, but I have done a little searching and can’t find anything more than the insinuation that, while he was liked, some other players weren’t as into his out-going attitude as much as others. Every time I ask someone who claims he is a ‘jerk’, i get “i read a report once’ or ‘i heard that all his teammates say this”, which to me is not very credible.
          Being someone that is fairly outgoing as well, i can attest to the fact that that attitude is not loved by everyone. But I have yet to see anything that suggests that his attitude is so bad that it is or would act as a deterrent to a team wanting to sign him.

          1. Kevin

            I wish more people had his attitude and if that rubs some of the players the wrong way maybe those players need to look in the mirror.

          2. Rebuilding

            I can’t really tell you any more than what I’ve heard and what has been alluded to by several columnists. Basically, he’s like that annoying guy in high school or college who has crazy ADHD and still acts like he’s in 6th grade. It was talked about at the time of his trades from Minnesota, Tampa and when he left the Cubs that each FO was happy to see him go

  19. Xruben31

    TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 6m
    I was told today by impeccable source they have real shot.

    1. DarthHater

      Sources are only impeccable until they get pecked. :-P

      1. hansman

        Booooooooooooooooooooooo

    2. Xruben31

      Ashley Bolton ‏@ABolt89 3m
      @TomLoxas when does your source expect a decision to be made?

      TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 2m
      @ABolt89 Wed.

      1. nkniacc13

        I wonder if that’s Wed in Japan or US

        1. Assman22

          Wed in the States…

  20. Diehardthefirst

    Shrewd move by Ricketts–Cubs pursued Tanaka and let offer leak only to send message to Shark that we think this much of a proven winner and since you are not then don’t get your hopes up

    1. DarthHater

      9179773544_c6c9157f29_n.jpg

    2. aaronb

      You can bet that “Cubs finish a close 2nd” is spread through media mouthpieces regardless of the Tanaka outcome.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        No, it will be echoed by the fans, even if the FO says nothing about it, just as it was for Darvish and Cespedes.

      2. DarthHater

        You can bet that some people will whine about media mouthpieces, even if “Cubs finish a close 2nd” is the simple truth.

    3. Kevin

      Yea, sure whatever you say, so Tom Ricketts made the offer for the Cubs, and he “let it leak” and now has sent a ‘message” to Shark ….. Ok, whatever you say ……..

  21. nkniacc13

    I wonder if they do or don’t get Tanaka if they make an offer to the Korean that has just come over and started to make rounds

  22. DarthHater

    Okay, this isn’t relevant to anything, but I found this excellent headline on the internetz:

    12061817826_2f12d02afb_n.jpg

  23. Isaac

    Everyone is assuming that because Casey Close has big time players on both the Yankees and Dodgers that they automatically have a leg up. Wouldn’t it make some sense for him to WANT Tanaka on the Cubs to show the diversity of his marketing ability (and also to accentuate the previous point, I.E. “Look, I have put major free agents in all three of the biggest markets, take your pick who you want to play with”)?

    1. Cyranojoe

      Ehhh.

  24. Diehardthefirst

    Cubs spend gazillions on Western Hemisphere development and so please explain why go elsewhere for expensive talent? Beyond me?!

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Because there is talent elsewhere, too?

  25. mjhurdle

    Interesting article from Mooney’s tweets
    Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 8m
    Bill Mueller sends message to Cubs core prospects by looking back on ‘04 Red Sox and that at-bat vs. Mariano Rivera: http://bit.ly/1mmN4wB

  26. mjhurdle

    Also, @BaseballsBestFans is killing it on Twitter.
    Apparently it is Pujol’s birthday, and Cardinal fans are out in force to let him know their true feelings :)

    1. hansman

      They should be loving him right now. He saved the cards having to pay him 21 million to be a regular.

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        Last game he ever played for them, they won the World Series. How many they won without him? Despicable how many Cardinals fans have treated him.

  27. Enjoytherebuild

    I am curious if anyone else heard Patrick Mooney on Sports talk live? He seemed to be sensing that the Cubs are out on Tanaka and he is going to the Yankees. I feel like he is pretty in tune with the Cubs FO, he doesn’t engage in wild rumor speculation. If he is hearing they don’t feel like they have a chance, that could be bad news for people hoping we get Tanaka. Anyone else hear it? Do you agree with what I came away with? Assman22, any inside info?

    If it was going to be anyone else, the Yanks always made the most sense.

    1. YourResidentJag

      Jon Paul Morosi feels the Cubs won’t get him as well.

      1. willis

        Willis believes that as well.

        Kaplan saying the cubs didn’t offer near what was reported really puts the cap on it for me. The only way the cubs would get him would be if they absolutely blew the competition away. And if they didn’t, they have no shot. He’ll be a yankee soon enough.

        1. Assman22

          Can’t confirm or deny Kaplan’s source…FWIW I was never able to get confirmation on the 7/160 offer nor any team’s BAFO…only the 6/125 offer…this has been held extremely Close to the vest…

    2. CubFanSince...

      Well…that’s a bummer. Although not disappointed, some positive to take out from this is Cubs’ willingness to spend big money.

      1. willis

        Rusin (barf) and Villanueva…get ready to compete for a 5th spot.

        1. Enjoytherebuild

          They’ll sign Hammels or Maholm. There is no way Rusin/Villanueva are the 5th starters

          1. willis

            I hope you’re right. I’d be very much down with that. I wonder if Maholm would come back though, knowing he’s nothing more than a flappable piece…I guess he could think if he pitches well he’d be on a contender by mid-ish July.

            1. Enjoytherebuild

              I think he enjoyed his time here, and I also think the Cubs are much further along than they were in 2012. I could see him being like maybe we could surprise this season, and if I am still around for 2015 we could definitely make the playoffs. Of course, if it’s Maholm. I like him, but I think I would prefer Hammels of the two. Still like both though

  28. CubsfaninAZ

    Man all the haters trolling through. Never seen so many pessimistic Cubs fans in my life. Whole reason to be a Cubs fan was the optimism, the “wait till next year” can do attitudes. And everyone hating on Tanaka, he wouldn’t be the bee’s knees this offseason if he wasnt for real. And his splitter makes him a great fit for wrigley. The FO is probably thinking Tanaka is #2, so I wouldnt be surprised if they still make a run at Sherzer or Masterson next offseason. Then they’ll be loaded with 3-5 rotational pitchers for years. So those who think its all doom and gloom its not, its just going to put more pressure on the position prospects to come through, because if they have to spend more on obtaining a #1 and #2, it makes signing a Giancarlo Stanton, or other needed star power in the field that much harder to do. As well as afford escalating arb salaries if the youth does workout. Masterson and Scherzer will command way more then Tanaka, but on field numbers might be the same. Tanaka is a great gamble for the Cubs. As far as all those who think the Yankees are a lock, their a few injuries away from crumbling, and they still have Arod coming back on the books after this season. So not much money to spend going forward, where Theo and Co can say hey in 2 years when we get a TV deal and renovations going, we will start throwing the dollars on everyone we need to win, so go ahead and show the MLB what you can do your first season no pressure, fit in, adjust to our schedule, then after that get ready to win a world series for years. Just gotta be a lil optimistic.

    1. aaronb

      I’d less call it “haters trolling thru”. And more so calling a spade a spade. Any truly intellectually honest fan can smell the funk of a top 5 revenue/profit club being misers once again.

      Either spend money and improve the product, or sell the team.

      Instead the Ricketts are acting like slumlords.

      1. Enjoytherebuild

        They are putting money into the organization, just because it doesn’t go into the major league product on the field doesn’t mean they aren’t spending to improve the organization. Anyone who looks at it in such black and white terms, i.e., why isn’t our big league payroll higher?….. we must have cheap owners, we live in Chicago!!!!

        Those people need to take a broader look at what is happening with this team. They need to judge where the organization is today compared to when the new FO took over.

        Calling the Ricketts slumlords is unfair by my estimation

        1. Kevin

          I am with you, they spent the most money in the international market this year, wrote the check for Soler, expanded the front office, scouting, state of the art Dominican Facility and brand spanking new spring training facility (yes that was mostly paid for by AZ). The bottom line is they have a young team and the veterans on the team are not that good (so not expensive). The payroll reflects the talent on the field.

          Now you can argue they should SPEND, ok but for who? Cano? That was such a bad contract even the Yankees let him walk. Jimenez? Santana? They are not worth anything close to what they are asking for? Jacoby? That is a terrible deal the Yankees made? Choo? Again watch the Rangers regret that in 3 years.

          Perhaps they should have gone after McCann othwerwise they are smart to not get sucked into paying top dollar for players who are average and getting stuck on those contracts. They are spending the money and with Tanaka they are showing when the player is young and good like that the money is there!

        2. aaronb

          Every team spends money on infrastructure and development. Many fans just didn’t follow it until we had nothing else to really follow.

          Contrary to some belief in the blogosphere. The Cubs weren’t staffed by volunteers before Ricketts bought the team. Big money was spent on lots of picks and IFA’s. Though we can certainly question the outcomes of that time.

          No spinning that money outlays are down significantly. Or that they’ve declined sharply every year of Ricketts ownership.

          1. Enjoytherebuild

            But you are focused only on the big league payroll. The Cubs baseball operations staff was among the smallest in baseball. No one is claiming the Cubs were staffed by volunteers, but they also were outspent and outstaffed by virtually every team in baseball.

            I don’t know this for a fact, but I would be willing to wager we have NEVER spent as aggressively on the IFA market as we did this past year.

            The overall point is that if money is not being spent on FA, but is being spent in other places to make the Cubs a better organization, you can’t call the ownership cheap. I guess it comes down to whether you believe Epstein or not. He believes the ownership is in this for the long haul. He has been completely transparent through this whole process. I don’t think he is lying.

            1. Kyle

              The money we’re spending on that stuff isn’t as much as the money we’ve shredded from MLB payroll.

              1. Kevin

                So what is your point Kyle? The Tribune company saddled the Ricketts with many bad contracts, Zambrano, Soriano, Bradley and Silva the bust. So when they get rid of a bad contract they should go out and get another? Who? Pujos? Hamilton? Fielder? Those were and are all lousy deals.

                1. Kyle

                  It is amazing to me how many fans think

                  “Slashing payroll” or “Going huge on the biggest FA every offseason” are the only two possible options.

                  1. Kevin

                    Then I stand corrected as I though you were infering to go crazy on FA contracts Kyle.

                2. ced landrum

                  The Zambrano contract ended up being a bad contract, but when he signed it wasn’t bad. It actually looked like a good deal.

                  1. Kevin

                    Ced of course it did that was why they gave it to him :-). I was just pointing out it was a lot of dead money on the books, not arguing whether it was a good deal at the time or not, that would be a separate debate.

                    Funny thing is, I think of all of them, Soriano’s 8 year deal looked bad from the start but wound up being the better value then the other contracts in hindsight.

          2. Kevin

            Who said the FO worked for free? Who said every team did not “spend” money on FO? But how much. The Cubs were way behind on that.

            Big money was NEVER spend on draft picks UNTIL RIcketts gave Hendry the green light. In fact Hendry was hamstrung on the draft budget, the good smart teams, like Theo’s Red Sox drafted players who were GOOD and paid them, drafted players who fell to the 10th round and later and PAID them first round money, so no the Cubs NEVER did that before Ricketts, they never spent what it would take and forced Hendry and some FO guys to draft guys they could sign.

            Example the year Ricketts gave Hendry the open wallet they spent 20 million on international and the draft. The White Sox 5 million. This was before the rules changed.

            Name one big International signing the Cubs made BEFORE Ricketts got involved? In two years he nailed it on Soler, writing the check, green lighting the pursuit of Cespedes and Darvish and then spend the MOST money last year then anyone and that was OVER the limits imposed by baseball and he paid the tax and the penalties. In other words he listens to his baseball guys.

            So sorry Aaron I think you are wrong.

            1. aaronb

              Maybe you didn’t follow closely until more recently? Jeff Samjay was given the biggest draft pick contract in MLB history pre Ricketts.

              We spent tons of money on guys in the Pacific Rim from 99-2007 ish. We also spent on a good bit of overslot draft and Latin guys.

              I wish we’d had more success doing it. But there was efforts made.

              Ricketts gets to look like a hero now largely due to rule changes and IFA and draft caps.

              1. mjhurdle

                “Maybe you didn’t follow closely until more recently?”

                you really love to begin your posts with nice little quips about how people who don’t agree with you are just not as honest, intelligent, dedicated, or been a fan as long as you.

                1. Kyle

                  It’s warranted. A number of fans have come up with this weird alternative history of the Cubs that bears absolutely no resemblance to what actually happened.

                  1. aaronb

                    Exactly This!

                    And I wasn’t taking a quip or jab at Kevin. I was suggesting he might not have followed as closely due to his stating “So sorry Aaron I THINK you are wrong”.

                    1. Kevin

                      Aaron you made a comment, I disagreed, you came back and pointed out Shark – that is how you debate. No offense taken. And I even then acknowledged it was a good call on Shark and simply made my comment that they did not spend on the overall draft and that was not a shot at you either. I was just chiming in and keeping some discussions open on the blog.

                  2. mjhurdle

                    if you have to resort to making those quips to somehow set up your argument, then your argument is either weak, or you have gone past actually wanting to discuss things in a respectful, rational way and are more interested in simply winning the internet with your witty online banter.

                    either way, it is hard to take seriously.

                    1. Kyle

                      If someone wants to find an excuse to not take me seriously, I’m sure they’ll find one. Cognitive dissonance is a helluva drug.

                      You’ll find out how annoying this all is. Come back in 15 years and have people constantly tell you that Epstein was trading prospects for MLBers in his first three years as a Cub or something else completely a-historical, and see how patient you are with them.

                    2. mjhurdle

                      “If someone wants to find an excuse to not take me seriously, I’m sure they’ll find one.”

                      more quips.
                      Don’t get me wrong, i love internet banter at times. but credibility is lost when every post has to be prefixed with some sort of statement that if the reader disagrees it is because they are looking for excuses, or aren’t as knowledgeable, or just haven’t been around long enough to become annoyed by people saying untrue things on the internet (thanks for that lesson btw :) ).
                      At that point, you have decided that winning the internet and fixing all those wrong thinking people is more important to you than actually being right.
                      That is when internet discussion descends to the level of a political debate where neither side is interested in changing their beliefs, they just want to look the best on camera.

                    3. Kyle

                      It’s not every reply. The people who get my respect have earned it with logic and an actual memory of Cubs history. I’ll grant they are rarer these days than I’d like.

              2. Kevin

                You are correct on Shark to an extent. He was not give the biggest contract in MLB history or even Cubs history but that was an example of Hendry winning out over the Tribsters sort of.

                The year they got Shark, I believe in the 4th round, they had no other picks before that (maybe one I need to check) so they grabbed him and paid him first round money – but overall that draft they did not spend money on the overall draft, just one player and that was only becuase they did not have the other picks to sign and spend money on. But good call on Shark.

                1. BT

                  They had a first rounder (Colvin maybe?), but no 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

                  In general, the Cubs did not spend big on the draft until Ricketts took over, despite occasional flashes.

                  1. Kevin

                    Colvin was a first round pick (maybe #16 overall) was that the same year? So then Shark was a 5th round pick and not 4th. That makes sense, I was not sure if they had one before him but then 3 no picks (nice money saved) and Hendry was allowed to go for Shark.

                    FYI Hendry liked RIzzo in the draft too, but that may have been the next year and he was not allowed to pay the high school kid what it would take – the Red Sox did.

                    1. Kyle

                      Samardzija was paid one of the top-10 contracts in MLB draft history.

                      It wasn’t just a case of “oops, we didn’t have as many picks as we usually do, so let’s give Samardzija a bit extra.”

                      They promised him $7.25m bonus if he committed to baseball, more than twice what any other player got that year. That bonus (though it was later torn up in favor of a 5-year, $10m guaranteed contract when he was in the minors) made the Cubs the biggest spender in the 2006 draft by a wide margin.

                      This was only a few years after they gave Mark Prior the biggest contract in draft history at the time (and still No. 2 to Strasburg).

                      The Cubs under the Tribune spent a ton on the draft. They didn’t always get results (although it wasn’t always as bad as some think, either). In fact, the most damaging cheap drafts in the last 20 years or so came under Ricketts in 2009 and 2010.

                    2. Kevin

                      If you actually read my response I simply pointed out that it was not the biggest contract in history but acknowledged it was a big one, and I even said good call on that to whoever posted.

                      I also simply was saying the reason they did that was they did not have 3 tops pioks thus did not have to spend money on the 3 high picks and overall they did not spend big money on the the draft but for one player whom I acknowledged was a good call by the poster

                    3. Kyle

                      “I also simply was saying the reason they did that was they did not have 3 tops pioks thus did not have to spend money on the 3 high picks and overall they did not spend big money on the the draft but for one player whom I acknowledged was a good call by the poster”

                      And that simply is not true.

                      They paid Samardzija more than twice what the second-highest paid player in the draft got.

                      A 2nd, 3rd and 4th round pick would, on average, cost about $1.5m. The highest paid player in 2006 in each of those rounds would cost you a total of about $2.7m.

                      Giving Samardzija $7m+ was because of an intentional strategy blow every other team out of the water in draft spending that year, not because they didn’t have 2nd-4th round picks.

                    4. Kyle

                      And, as others have noted, they went big on overslotting a few other picks that year.

                      Here’s an article from when it was happening:
                      http://sports-law.blogspot.com/2006/07/cubs-continue-spending-spree-record.html

                      The author sums it up nicely:
                      “I have been following the MLB draft each year since I signed my first minor league contract back in 1989, and I can’t remember this type of free spending on amateur players since 1996 when Scott Boras had a couple of his draft picks designated as free agents by exploiting a loophole in the Major League Rules regarding the tendering of contracts.”

                    5. hansman

                      “In fact, the most damaging cheap drafts in the last 20 years or so came under Ricketts in 2009 and 2010.”

                      Beg your pardon…Ricketts was not the owner in 2009.

                  2. AB1980

                    The Cubs did spend big in 2006. They spent an additonal 1.3 million to Chris Huseby, close to 1 million Drew Rundle, I believe (neither got past low A). They were a top 10 (maybe close to top 5) spending team in the 2006 draft.

                    1. Kyle

                      They were the No. 1 spending team in the 2006 draft by a wide, wide margin.

            2. Kyle

              “Big money was NEVER spend on draft picks UNTIL RIcketts gave Hendry the green light.”

              I’m *really* tired of ignorant fans discovering the farm system under Epstein and then inaccurately lecturing the rest of us on a history they know nothing of.

              1. Kevin

                Well Kyle I am tired of morons like you who do not know anything lecturing like they know everything.

                Look jerkoff, I did not rip you – I pointed out my disagreement. Like a tiypical loser who can not stand to have someone have a different side you lash out and call me ignorant.

                No Kyle I am aware of the Cubs farm system and others for decades. Since you think you are not ignorant why dont yo back up the mouth with facts?

                I acknowledged Shark was paid but then I explained why, its called doing your homework or knowing something – its called a fact. I pointed out how Rickets GREEN LIGHTED Hendry’s request to spend big on the draft and in the manner the Red Sox do it – he even advised Ricketts the rules may change and the time to do it was asap. Its called a fact.

                So Mr. Big shot Kyle why not enlighten us all with your knowledge of baseball that you seem so impressed (with yourself) – so instead of me being ignorant show me I am wrong (and when I am wrong I say so).

                Show me the history is wrong? Tell me the history oh Kyle the Wizard, enlighten me with tales and facts ….. oh yes one problem you have to know something of what you are talking about first and you sir obviously do not.

                Your ignorance shows more and more the more you post.

                1. Kyle

                  I already did.

                  You said “big money was never spent until Ricketts gave Hendry the green light.”

                  When Hendry was either the scouting director or GM, before Ricketts, he gave out two of the top-10 biggest contracts in draft history.

                  Does that not count as big spending?

                  1. aaronb

                    Not to mention all the money paid in the Latin Rim when Steve Wilson was scouting out there.

                    Hee Man Choi
                    Jae Kuk Ryu
                    Ha
                    Na
                    SS prospect in the Garza trade
                    Dae Eun Rhee

                    Just off the top of my head all got over a million bucks to sign as IFA’s.

                    We also had a period when Juan Cruz, Carlos Zambrano and Company was coming along where we put a strong emphasis in Latin America.

                    McFail’s strategy was much like Theo’s workmanship up to this point. Only with more work at the MLB level for an earnest effort at a true “Dual Track”.

                  2. Kevin

                    Yes Kyle on Shark and Prior. My point was the Cubs never spent on the overall draft. Yes you are correct they several times paid top dollar. Shark and Prior are good examples. But to have a good farm system you need to do that on all the picks, pick the best players and pay them.

                    I do not feel that cherry picking a player once every blue moon is an effective way to go. The best farm teams pay guys like Prior when the have the high pick and they also pull a Shark as often as they can drafting guys who fall and signing them for first round money like the Cubs did on Dillon Maples. Theo did it all the time. The Cubs you can count on two fingers. So they did not spend on the overall draft was my point.

                    Your point is they have spend several times on individual players. We are arguing to different things. And I simply do not feel paying Prior or Shark should give them brownie points, they should have been doing that strategy every draft!

                    1. Kyle

                      And you are *still* wrong.

                      People keep pulling up more and more examples of them spending on the draft, and you keep saying “well, except for that…”

                      They spent on the draft consistently, beginning with MacPhail’s hiring in the mid-1990s. Draft spending was never a problem until 2009 in the purgatory year when Ricketts’ bid was accepted but he didn’t actually control the team.

                    2. Kyle

                      Now that isn’t to say their drafts were always successful. Sometimes they were, sometimes they weren’t.

                      The drafts can be summed up more or less:

                      1995ish to early 2000s: Very solid, especially good at producing pitching. Some of it was traded in dumb trades, but the drafts were producing talent consistently.

                      2003 to 2006: The Stockstill years. He was terrible and the drafts were terrible.

                      2007-2008: The drafts start to turn around a bit under Wilken. Nothing spectacular, but some MLB contributors are taken. Missing on Vitters really hurts.

                      2009-10: The transition to Ricketts ownership and Hendry’s last hurrah cause the team to go relatively cheap.

                      2011: Ricketts grants permission to go crazy on overslots. The results are mixed, but Baez in the first round looks to be a home run.

                      2012-13: The Epstein/capped era. Early returns look very promising.

                    3. aaronb

                      The Cubs had a top ML system according to BA every year between 1999 and 2004.

                    4. Enjoytherebuild

                      Here is an article that has the top 10 spending teams and the bottom spending teams on the draft from 2007-2011. The Cubs are on neither. Clearly when you look at the discrepancy from the top 10 to the bottom 10 there is a substantial difference. Therefore, I believe it is fair to conclude that the Cubs haven’t been putting a ton of $$$ into the draft process. As I stated earlier they had a small baseball operations team. Since Ricketts has taken over, that has changed. So just because they haven’t spent on the major league roster, doesn’t mean he is a cheap owner. He is just choosing to spend in other areas. Given the state of the team when he took over, this makes a lot of sense.

                      Here is the article

                      http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/08/19/pirates-1-in-spending-on-the-draft/

                    5. Kevin

                      Kyle now you are talking my language

                      1995ish to early 2000s: Very solid, especially good at producing pitching. Some of it was traded in dumb trades, but the drafts were producing talent consistently.

                      Yes Trachsel, Castillo and some mid level guys, I agree, and it looked good since the Cubs usually had nothing – but they were producing major league talent but not consistent top talent, I agree.

                      2003 to 2006: The Stockstill years. He was terrible and the drafts were terrible.

                      AGREED

                      2007-2008: The drafts start to turn around a bit under Wilken. Nothing spectacular, but some MLB contributors are taken. Missing on Vitters really hurts.

                      You hit a sore spot with me on Vitters, oh the PAIN that still causes me ……Missing on the #3 pick OUCH. I really liked Wieters then …. Catching is hard to find and a switch hitting college catcher who can CATCH and throw, how do you pass? Wilken took Colvin – many thought he would go several rounds later but he wanted his guy – swung and missed. Then Wilken took Hayden Simpson, 1st round, many though not even in top 100 – another swing and miss.

                      2009-10: The transition to Ricketts ownership and Hendry’s last hurrah cause the team to go relatively cheap.

                      The first year they did not spend big in the draft then Hendry got his last Hurrah as you note below

                      2011: Ricketts grants permission to go crazy on overslots. The results are mixed, but Baez in the first round looks to be a home run.

                      Agreed, but at least they were playing the game. We all know many prospects will miss – as long as they draft the best players available and be willing to pay them then that is all we can ask and if they miss on too many someone loses their job and someone new drafts.

                      2012-13: The Epstein/capped era. Early returns look very promising.

                      Agreed again. Now of course Almora and Bryant were very high picks but I have faith in McLeod – but we need to see some draft picks hitting who were not first round. Pierce Johnson looks promising and there are more but its too soon to Judge that.

                    6. BT

                      I don’t know, I think I’ll go with Tim Wilken’s opinion when it comes to spending. His comment after the Cubs went nuts in 2011 draft ““Spending-wise, this year we are in the top third of baseball instead of the bottom third like we’ve been in the past,” Wilkens said. The same article states “In the past, the Cubs had never spent more than $6 million dollars in one year on any draft, although Mark Prior received $10.8 million over four years in 2000.” It’s also telling that after spending so much in the 2011 draft, the Cubs still don’t appear in the top 10 list that Enjoytherebuild posted.

                      My guess is, again with a few outliers, in comparison with other teams the Cubs were not big spenders on the minor league draft.

                    7. Kyle

                      It was more than just “Trachsel, Castillo and a few mid-level guys.”

                      Beginning in 1995 (career bWAR)

                      95
                      Kerry Wood (27.7)
                      Justin Speier (7.7)
                      96
                      Kyle Lohse (19.0)
                      97
                      Jon Garland (22.4)
                      Scott Downs (11.4)
                      Michael Wuertz (5.3)
                      98
                      Corey Patterson (9.8)
                      Eric Hinske (8.5)
                      Will Ohman (3.5)
                      00
                      Dontrelle Willis (20.3)
                      01
                      Mark Prior (16.5)
                      Ricky Nolasco (11.2)
                      Geovany Soto (10.0)
                      Ryan Theriot (6.4)

                      Few teams in baseball could match that sort of consistent draft production. Not coincidentally, it coincided with MacPhail instituting the same plan that Epstein is given credit for inventing by many fans. He expanded the scouting staff and poured money into development.

                      It fell apart partially because he gave Ed Lynch way too much rope, and partially because the game started to pass him by in the 2000s and all the infrastructure he built became out of date and faded away.

                    8. Kyle

                      Wilken is essentially referring to the 2009 and 2010 drafts, which we’ve already discussed as being the times the Cubs actually did go cheap.

                      And not counting MLB contracts because they aren’t spent in a single year isn’t a good way to judge draft spending.

                    9. BT

                      No Kyle, the only drafts he’s not talking about are possibly 2006 and definitely 2011. And not counting TWO contracts totaling 20 million dollars over 13 years (or am I missing someone?)really doesn’t change the argument much. The Cubs never spent over 6 million dollars. If you want to say they spent a lot more than that in 2001 and 2006, great, but in years that Shark and Prior weren’t picked, the Cubs were not spending a lot on the major league draft.

                    10. Kevin

                      BT that was my original point. I think in 2011 with Ricketts and Hendry they spent 12 million or so (20 million on draft and International) but that was the one year and the rules changed.

                      I agree with you, its not the one big individual contract once in a while (though I am glad they did that) its the overall money spend on the 30-40 picks. So is Shark gets 7 or 8 million and 3 million of that is for one year and they spent 6 million that year (just saying for example) then that would be 50% of their draft spending on one player. That is not enough!

                    11. Kyle

                      “No Kyle, the only drafts he’s not talking about are possibly 2006 and definitely 2011. And not counting TWO contracts totaling 20 million dollars over 13 years (or am I missing someone?)really doesn’t change the argument much. The Cubs never spent over 6 million dollars. If you want to say they spent a lot more than that in 2001 and 2006, great, but in years that Shark and Prior weren’t picked, the Cubs were not spending a lot on the major league draft.”

                      *sigh* This is why I have so little patience for this.

                      Exactly how common do you think it was for teams to spend more than $6m in the draft in that era? (Hint: It wasn’t, outside of the tip-top draft picks).

                      Apparently, how this is going to work is that I have to do all the work to show how much the Cubs spent in each individual draft and that it wasn’t out of line at all, but then you’ll say “But *besides* those years, they were always cheap” with no evidence whatsoever. Typical.

                      “I agree with you, its not the one big individual contract once in a while (though I am glad they did that) its the overall money spend on the 30-40 picks. So is Shark gets 7 or 8 million and 3 million of that is for one year and they spent 6 million that year (just saying for example) then that would be 50% of their draft spending on one player. That is not enough!”

                      The MLB draft is *incredibly* top heavy. If you have a chance at an elite talent, then your strategy should *always* be to spend more than half your money on that top talent if that’s what it takes to secure it.

                2. willis

                  Such name calling….

                  1. Kevin

                    I loved Kerry Wood from Day 1. Wood was what 5th overall? Prior obviously #2, Garland was he 10th overall?
                    Patterson 3rd? Did not Downs just sign with the Sox?

                    You are correct McPhail before he gave Lynch too much power was doing a good job, the Cubs stunk and had high picks like Epstein does and with Wood, Prior, Patterson and some other top ten pick he did not miss (but for injuries and not developing.

                    Lynch with the famous, Garland for Matt Karchner wow! Was it Lynch who traded Lohse for Aguilera as well?

                    My point from before was not to say the Cubs never had a good draft or farm system years ago – It was commenting on the overall spending on the drafts not the individual payment of a top 5 or top 2 or 3 pick in the draft but on the 30-40 picks, and I was thinking past 10-15 years. Not sure what they spend in comparison with the league in the 1990′s but I doubt even with the bigger money for the high picks the shrewder teams take picks that are hard to sign and when they fall to the tenth, 13th round etc, they take them and pay them first or second round money (their worth) and tallk them into signing while only risking a low pick and going “over slot” like Theo did with the Red Sox and other teams always did. Its not just spending money on your first round pick, its spending it on the ones who are not first round picks.

                    Hendry did it with Shark like was pointed out by a few above, but Wood, Prior, Patterson those were all top 5 picks. And good ones, I really would have loved to have seen what Patterson could have done if developed. He had the package!

      2. mjhurdle

        nothing like prefacing an opinion with “any truly intellectually honest fan”

        That way you don’t actually have to back up your opinion, you can just say that anyone that doesn’t agree is just stupid or lying to themselves.

        1. aaronb

          Please point out what was factually incorrect? Have overall outlays not decreased each year?

        2. Drew7

          Kind of like ending posts with, “Period”, “end of story”, or, “Nuff said” – it just causes me to take whatever preceded it with a grain of salt.

      3. fortyonenorth

        “Either spend money and improve the product, or sell the team.”

        Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. If you don’t like Cubs ownership, then vote for someone else. No…wait.

      4. Cyranojoe

        smh.

      5. CubsfaninAZ

        Well if we’re going to call a spade a spade, then you have to remember “Chicago Politics” were also in play in delaying the renovations. Daddy Ricketts was about to make ads against Obama, and Mr White House himself Rahm Emanuel stepped in to screw with business. ;) So rebuild took a slide a bit for that too, most people forgot about that poitical bullying, and the Cubs threat of moving and all that blah blah blah. Chicago’s a twisted place when it comes to its dealings, dont forget that!

        1. Kevin

          Its being reported now the Cubs and rooftop owners are close to a deal

        2. aaronb

          Not sure how any of that could really effect the rebuild of the roster. The Trib were running Wrigley the same way as Ricketts.

          They asked for a public handout…And have made vague promises to build at some point.

          I don’t see a real correlation between taking 5-7 seasons, and a Stadium renovation that may or may not happen over the next decade.

  29. mjhurdle

    Looking through some Yankee blogs and I have to say, they seen as uncertain as Cub fans about where Tanaka will end up.
    lots of disparaging comments about how embarrassing it would be to lose to the cubs though. Even a couple of their own ‘doom and gloomers’ that are predicting a decade of .500 level baseball due to the horrible Front Office. Good to see we aren’t the only ones with those types.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      We often disparage Yankee fans as the ignorant “Bernie Bronx” who genuinely believes that Derek Jeter is a great fielder. However, there are a lot of very smart Yankee fans who are very, very worried about the future of the Yankees right now. They are acutely aware that the Yankees were far and away the luckiest team in baseball last year: and Yankee fans do NOT want their team being a Cinderella story; they want their team to be the Wicked Evil Queen story. They also are savvy enough to know that they won’t win 14 games over their peripherals again anytime soon.

      This would not have been as big of a problem 10 years ago: but the days of the Yankees being able to “do whatever it takes to win” are gone. In the last 2-3 off seasons, the Yankees have not been able to fill key holes in their roster through free agency or “we’ll take that big contract off of your hands” trades the way that they were doing 10 years ago. Moreover, it seems that every couple of months, an assumed Future Yankee winds up signing a long-term deal with his current team. The farm system is bleak and barren: one reasonably savvy Yankees writer noted only somewhat sarcastically that the Padres’ current price of Headley is more than the Yanks entire farm is worth.

      So, the idea that Tanaka might look at the Cubs and see a better future there than with the Yankees is very much in line with what they themselves fear: and (as we all know) that sort of fear leads to all sorts of assumptions in a hurry!

  30. Voice of Reason

    Kids don’t sit “Indian style” anymore in school.

    They sit “criss cross applesauce”

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