masahiro tanakaThis weekend was the Chicago Cubs’ opportunity to shine as the team for Masahiro Tanaka in the rumor world. Before them, it was the Mariners. And then the Yankees. And then the Dodgers.

The Cubs got their 15 minutes, and now it’s back to reality …

  • Writing for the New York Times, David Waldstein hears from an official with an NL team involved in the bidding (Cubs? Dodgers? Diamondbacks?) that his team is expecting that the Yankees will ultimately be the Yankees, and outbid everyone else. Disinformation? Truth? I’ve said all along that, absent a hard-and-fast desire to stay under the $189 million luxury tax cap, it is hard to believe the Yankees would allow Tanaka to sign with another team because that team is offering him more money. The Yankees need him badly. They have plenty of money. They clearly have the desire to get him. Again: unless $189 million is a hard rule, there’s little reason to believe money is going to be the reason Tanaka doesn’t sign with the Yankees (barring the kind of obscene, reckless offer even the Yankees wouldn’t make). It will have to take something else to get him – the kind of personal idiosyncrasies we can’t possibly know for certain (geography, challenge, being “the man”, etc.). Well, something else, and also making sure the financial offer is right there with the Yankees.
  • As for all of that big-time spending stuff as it applies to the Dodgers, here’s where I land: I, of course, think they can do it, too. I’m just not convinced they’re going to be quite as willing to go nuts (like the Yankees and Cubs, for example), given the Clayton Kershaw extension, and given the presence of Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu in the rotation already. I’m not saying they won’t do it – you never count out SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS – but I just don’t see it as quite as likely.
  • Jon Morosi writes about the Cubs as Tanaka contenders, acknowledging that the Cubs really want him, but struggling to come up with good reasons he’ll actually choose them.
  • Some bonus Tanaka GIF’ing and scouting from Baseball America.
  • It’s impossible to sort fact from fiction in anything related to Tanaka, but I think it’s interesting to consider how it all could be playing out behind the scenes if the things that we believe to be true are actually true. Imagine that the Cubs are the high bidder, primarily because they know they have to be the high bidder to have any chance of overcoming the geographical and competitive lures of Los Angeles and New York. Until you’re told that Tanaka is actually going to accept the Cubs’ deal, there is no incentive for you – the Yankees or the Dodgers – to match the Cubs’ offer. They can rely on the geography/competitive stuff to keep their offer down until the last minute when they know precisely how high they have to come to get a deal done. So, in that way, it makes sense that the Cubs would be the “leader” in the bidding, maybe right up until a deal has to be completed in a couple days. Then, the preferred team(s) swoop(s) in, ups their offer just enough, and closes on Tanaka (after his agent returns to the Cubs, explaining that they can get the money they need from a preferred team, and the only way the Cubs can get him now is if they make an obscene, reckless offer). It’s not hard to imagine things playing out this way, as unhappy as it may make you.
  • Blackhawks1963

    Let me just say this for all the warped individuals on here who think this is a game of being right or not right on Tanaka. When Tanaka signs with the Yankees or the Dodgers (and he will) I will NOT come on here and say I told you so. That’s not the sick twisted end game here folks.

    I repeat myself a small fraction of the amount of posts devoted to those who selectively read the tea leaves to augment their argument that Tanaka will indeed sign with the Cubs.
    It’s the point of being bat shit goofy…”he doesn’t want to go to the Dodgers to be a number 4 starter…the Yankees suck…there is no pressure if he signs with the Cubs…Mrs. Tanaka will be perfectly happy counting her millions while living in Chicago six months a year….Mrs. Tanaka has no talent….blah blah blah, blah, blah”

    • Jon


      • DarthHater

        Yeah, definitely signs with the Yankees. Yeah. The Yankees. Definitely the Yankees. Yeah. Cubs suck. Yeah.

    • mjhurdle

      so if not the Cubs, who do you think actually signs Tanaka?

    • Jon

      You promise to not rub it in if Tananka doesn’t sign with the Cubs, but in the 0% chance he does indeed sign here, will you just leave?

      • Ron Swansons Mustache

        Considering there is a 0% chance there is absolutely no reason for him not to agree to those terms.

      • FullCountTommy

        I did stumble upon our friend Blackhawk1963’s twitter account (@same name) last night thanks to a Dave Kaplan reply. Check it out, it bears a striking resemblance to his repetitive posts on the BN comment pages haha

        • mjhurdle

          I just checked that out. I really like Blackhawk’s tweet calling Sherman classless, which was about 4 tweets after Blackhawks called David Haugh an ‘a**hat’ for mentioning the Blackhawks on Twitter.

          • Jon

            Blackhawks1963 ‏@Blackhawks1963 Jan 18

            @davidkaplanshow Rodman should be deported for treason. His US citizenship revoked.

          • Isaac

            And two weeks after calling Starlin “garbage”.

    • Jim

      You have no insider information, you took the easy position of the Yankees always get what they want, so obviously they will get Tanaka.

      If you had even a smidgen of inside info, then we would all give you credit but from the beginning you have taken the easy way out.

    • TWC

      “I repeat myself…”

      Yes, you do.

      • DarthHater


    • http://BN Sacko

      for someone saying people are warped about being right or wrong you sure are making a point you are right..I tend to agree but I’v heard your point enough to know what it is. How warped is that?

  • soultosoul

    It’s impossible for me to wrap my head around this kind of money. 120-160 million dollars. Wow. To me, I think what the hell’s the difference? Whichever it is, he will be financially set for the rest of his life. He will make more in one inning of work than most of us will make all year. Just gotta believe that other factors will be important. Maybe I’m naive, but at that point is money really the deciding factor?

    I’m sure his agent and his wife will have a big influence on him, but as an athlete I feel he’s going to go where he can have the “best” career. Biggest stage of New York (probably not too many WS in next few years)? 2nd city (bright future after 1-2 down years. God-like status if he helps break the curse)? Or showtime revisited in LA ($$$ plus a team that will compete and probably win 1-2 WS during life of contract, but will be just one of the guys)?

    As I said previously, my $$ is on LA. Hope I have to eat those words. I love verbs for breakfast.

  • DarthHater

    Twitter is such a wonderful resource:

    Twat #1: The Cubs have just signed Tanaka.

    Twat #2: The Dodgers have just signed Tanaka.

    Twat #3: The Tanaka derby is down to the Yankees and Cubs.

    We now know so much more than we did before.

  • FullCountTommy

    TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 3m
    Hearing it is down to #Yankees and #Cubs for Tanaka derby.

  • NorthSideIrish

    TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 3m
    Hearing it is down to #Yankees and #Cubs for Tanaka derby.

    Does anyone want to estimate the % chance they Yankees have of signing Tanaka?

    • FullCountTommy

      Beat you!! haha, but I’ll take a guess of 70-30 Yankees. The funniest thing to me here is that there have been reports out of Chicago and New York that neither team will be outbid for Tanaka. Is there an eleventy billion dollar contract in Tanaka’s future?? Perhaps Texas with a $ in front of it??

    • Jim

      No need, it’s 100% Yankees, just ask Blackhawk.

    • JB88

      That is certainly interesting. While I’ve never liked the Cubs’ chances against the Yankees, there is plenty of precedent for Theo & Co. beating the Yankees in head-to-head negotiations (albeit, with the caveat, that it is next to impossible to compare the Cubs to the Red Sox with a straight face).

    • Blackhawks1963

      Yankees 100%
      Cubs 0%

      …if the assumption is the Dodgers are out. Which I don’t believe for a second.

      • Bilbo161

        Bla bla Blackhawks.

    • Patrick W.

      Yankees 197%
      Cubs 312%
      Yakult Swallows 2%

    • Assman22

      It’s been Cubs or Yanks since Friday…Yoko was hell bent on LA and Tanaka was hoping for West Coast so LA was still a possibility if his demands caved(and they haven’t)…LA never really stepped up to the plate financially after the Kershaw deal…still should be done by Wednesday…

      • DarthHater

        I’m sure calling her “Yoko” is really going to help…

        • willis

          I laughed…

  • cubman87

    Why do we need Tanaka when we have Clark the Cub? I mean he can pitch right?

  • Patrick G

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Tanaka has to be signed and have everything like physicals and what not completed by Friday? So well most likely hear something Weds, latest Thursday?

    • JB88

      If he’s in Japan, currently, then you have to believe that the teams are going to Japan for the physical. If you take that into consideration, you might be able to delay a decision until Friday, but only if the clubs are on the ground at the time of the signing. Given that most clubs wouldn’t jump through that level of hoop, you probably need a decision by COB Tokyo-time Wednesday to give sufficient time to either fly someone in or fly Tanaka to the States.

      • cubman87

        yeah the international date line.

  • cubman87

    one person says it’s down to yankees and cubs, now everyone is reporting it? Gotta love twitter.

  • Jon

    The Tanaka prop bet isn’t up on Bovada anymore :(

  • AdamAE24

    This is why to me it doesn’t make sense for the Cubs to have such a huge offer on the table at the moment.

    If they’re going to blow everyone out of the water, they’re going to do it at the end not the beginning.

    • augiepb

      I don’t necessarily agree.

      From all accounts the Cubs have been negotiating from a position of weakness from the start. The location of the city not being a coastal town and the team being nowhere as near ready to compete this year as the Yankees, Dodgers, etc make it probably necessary to offer big right from the start to have their offer taken seriously.

      They don’t have enough going for them to just swoop in at the end and steal Tanaka, because of who they are right now (unfortunately) they will have needed to be an extremely high bidder maybe even THE high bidder since day 1.

  • ssckelley

    Jeez, this Tanaka thing is a roller coaster ride.

    If he does ultimately sign with the Yankees at least we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the Cubs forced the Yankees back over the luxury tax threshold.

    Ok, typing that did not make me feel any better.

    • Brett

      Haha. This comment is so very 2014 Cubs fan. It’s also spot on.

    • ChicagoJoe

      I’m ok w/ that.

      While Tanaka would be great, there is still so much uncertainty in relation to $$ being spent. The Cubs have gotten farther in this thing than I ever thought and the optimism has risen daily over the past couple of days. So it is win win for me.

      Tanaka is not going to take this team to the promise land.

      Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Bryant, next year’s FA crop of SP are what will. He is a piece to the puzzle, but not sure even if he is the biggest piece out of that aforementioned list.

      But damn, I think I would ask for April 8th off immediately. Tanaka @ Wrigley for Opening Day.

      • cubman87

        and yet Rivera wouldn’t pitch him in the #1 spot lol…

        • FullCountTommy

          Rivera?? Is Mariano coming to the Cubs?!?!?! Opening day is Shark’s start, end of story

          • notcubbiewubbie

            if he is here?????????????????????

        • cubman87

          Uggh i meant renteria…don’t know why i typed Rivera…

          • ChicagoJoe

            Shark has March 31st regardless of Tanaka signing…

      • Patrick W.

        Ask for April 4th off.

        April 8th is a 7pm start.

        • ChicagoJoe

          Man, didn’t even see that.

          Forgot about this whole added night game thing. We are like a real baseball team.

          • notcubbiewubbie

            now if we could just get rid of the roof tops

      • BenW

        I wouldn’t count on any of next years FA SP coming to the Cubs. I’ll be surprised if most even hit FA.

  • DarthHater

    I usually don’t enjoy this style of humor, but this one was pretty good:

    ‏@FakePeteGammons 2m
    If he’s met Theo, #Cubs get Tanaka. I gave Theo my panties 1st time I laid eyes on him. He didn’t even ask for them. This is Peter Gammons.

    • FullCountTommy

      Absolutely fantastic, and still kind of believable

    • BRIAN

      LOL, that’s awesome!

      • Cheese Chad

        “This is Peter Gammons”. Well if that doesn’t ensure that it’s Peter Gammons, I don’t know what will. That, was funny.

  • arta


  • Stogie

    The Yankees will sign Tanaka. I’d wager my right arm on it.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      if you are the one armed man next week watch out for dr. richard kimbel.nyuk nyuk

  • cubman87

    many people on twitter now saying Cubs outbid everyone for Tanaka but he might take less money to play for Yankees???

    • willis

      That’s exactly what I’m expecting.

  • Pingback: Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Blind Bids? And Cubs Lapping the Field with Theirs? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • cubman87

    So the Cubs are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If the Cubs spend the money and get Tanaka, we’re told why do you spend that much for someone who hasn’t played a game in MLB yet? If we don’t get him, than we’re accused of being cheap and not spending the money to get him. Gotta love it….SMH

  • CubsfaninAZ

    Dodgers were only in on it to drive the price up on the Dbacks. If they wanted Tanaka they wouldnt have signed Dan Haren or they would have sent Beckett off in a trade. They knew with the Cubs and Yankees bidding against them they could eventually get it passed what the Dbacks could afford (rumored 6 yr 120mil). Thats the only reason they are even involved. The Yankees and Red Sox do this to each other every year so that it limits how much they can take on in trades during the season and also doesnt allow your main competition to get a sweet deal on someone who can beat you out of your division. Cubs and Yankees are the front runners, Mariners I can see still be around, if he’s going to take less for comfort level than Seattle would be as good as anywhere else and he’d be alongside another Japanese Ace there. Diamondbacks just might reach . But I’m still thinking theres 2-3 more “mystery” teams out there. Phillies, wouldnt shock me, theyd get younger and open the door to trade Cliff Lee to a desperate team for a huge haul. That Kershaw extension was huge, and might make more teams gamble on Tanaka. I mean think of what its going to take to sign a Scherzer or Price when theyre free agents now? They might be thinking Tanaka at 150 mil is a discount. Love to be the fly on the wall during all the Tanaka meetings.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Something that may be getting lost in the situation. The Yankees will be going over the luxury tax limit by signing Tanaka. Thus they will pay a 50% penalty for that amount over.
    So basically, a 20 million dollar a year contract for Tanaka, becomes $30 million a year for him with the tax included. Over probably six years.
    A massive overpay like that makes no sense. He is not Clayton Kershaw, and the value of the contract is extremely skewed. I have always thought that the lower posting fee would help a team like the Cubs, over the Dodgers or the Yankees. It creates most of the contract as going against their cap, and incurs a big penalty for those teams.

  • Stogie

    Take the fan card away for a minute. Would you pick Chicago over the Yankees or Dodgers? I wouldn’t. He doesn’t want to come here to lose every year.

    • Cyranojoe

      Your “every year” is flawed prognostication at this point. But yes, I’d choose L.A. That said, I *live* in L.A., largely because I like it. As for the baseball teams, I’d think that the Dodgers are a slightly better bet for Tanaka, if he wants to win as a team rather than be “the man” (Kershaw has that position wrapped up). And the social options and career opportunities for his family/wife will be significantly greater in southern California. That said, if the Cubs’ offer is several million more than the Dodgers’, then it’s probably not worth staying in L.A., depending on how they value her career.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Five years ago, the Cubs finished 13 games ahead of the Dodgers, and 9 games ahead of the Yankees. Teams fortunes go up and down.

  • Kevin

    MLB Trade Rumors reports the Astros may have met with Tanaka in LA. So I guess perhaps the are the mystery team?

    • Xruben31

      Tanaka has said he wont sign with a small market team, even if they could afford him. But of course if they offer him $200 million or something they can have him.

      • Jason P

        A) When did he say that?
        B) Houston is the 4th biggest city in America.

  • Xruben31

    ChrisCotillo 45m
    Rival exec pursuing Tanaka says he heard the #Mariners were in early, but “not much lately”

  • Xruben31

    Un-Tanaka-related Cubs tweet:
    Javier Báez ‏@javy23baez 2h
    @JorgeSoler68 said he needs 5 more followers to get to 2,000 please help him out so he can leave me alone. Lol @JorgeSoler68 @JorgeSoler68

    Sound like good friends.

  • Pingback: Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Oh, Internets … (Also, Increasing Pessimism) | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Pingback: The Tanaka Story, the Cubs’ Actual Chances, and the Importance of Narratives | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()