new-york-yankees-logoWe may be at the end of the Obsessive Tanaka Watch …

Ken Rosenthal reports this morning that Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka has agreed to a seven-year, $155 million deal with the New York Yankees. The deal includes an opt-out after the fourth year. Throw in the $20 million posting fee, and it’s a $25 million per-year commitment over seven years. That was rumored to be the top of what the Cubs could come up with. It’s a huge, huge deal (with a nasty opt-out) for a guy who has never pitched in the big leagues, isn’t an ace-caliber talent, and has some workload concerns. But that’s the price for a 25-year-old, front-front-of-the-rotation talent these days.

If that’s the final deal, you can bet that the Yankees lingered around the six-year, $120 million mark for a long time before something – read: the Cubs’ offer? – pushed them to move upward considerably. And if that’s how things played out (I’m just speculating), it’s a pretty fair guess that Tanaka always wanted to go to New York (or L.A.), and was simply waiting for one of them to blink on the price.

As I’ve said for a while, Tanaka made too much sense for the Yankees, and the Yankees had too strong of a need (and too much money) for this not to happen. Their two-year quest to get under the $189 million luxury tax cap is obliterated, and they’ll be back to their spend-happy ways from here on out.

In the coming days, we’ll more fully flesh out the implications of Tanaka’s decision (what does it mean for the Cubs? for the free agent market? for the future?), but, for now, I’m just going to let this soak in. It’s an enormous deal for an unproven and risky arm, but the Yankees have the money (and the need) to take that risk. I can’t fault them for it.

I’m not as bummed as I thought I’d be – though I’m still a little bummed. Like I said this morning, I still really like the free agent crop of starters this next offseason. And now we’ve got quite a bit more confidence that the Cubs do, in fact, have the money to make some big moves if and when they’re inclined. It’s little comfort right now, but it’s something.

  • SenorGato

    Wooooooooooooooooooow. I dont even know what to say.

    • SenorGato

      I do know that I couldnt hate this franchise more right now. Better win Fujinami when that comes up.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Yeah…hate them for not spending stupid money for 100 million for 2 junk years plus 2 good years before he options out to make more. How dare they.

        • http://bleachernation Peoria cubman


      • nate1m

        Why if turns out the Cubs offer was the same would you want them to pay 28 a year for 8 years? If it wasn’t close ok but we don’t know

    • http://bleachernation Peoria cubman

      Best thing that could have happened for the Cubs imo, makes no sense to gamble rebuild future on a Japanese pitcher with a 4 year opt out clause. Cubs will not be ready to compete for at least 2-3 years, maybe longer. If he turns out to be greatest thing since sliced bread, we can go all in on him in 4 years. Let the Yankees take all the risk on the unknown, Cubs can’t afford to make wrong move just yet. I am sure Theo and co. are disappointed, but at the same time relieved. I am certain there will be a lot of kicking and screaming from Cub fans, but really the best outcome, stay on course with the PLAN…

    • YourResidentJag

      I guess you’d say “BUST” like last night, right???

  • CubFanSince…

    On the other hand I think, Theo was smart by not out-bidding the Yankees’ offer. Imagine the Cubs offering an opt-out clause after 4, out of which 2 would have been non-competitive and other 2 ‘hopefully’ competitive.

  • Justin

    So, is it safe to say the Cubs got Anibal Sanchez’d again?? I still don’t get why people think the Yankees will be good with Tanaka. Their roster is seriously older than shit, with so many injuries waiting to happen for those overpaid turds.

    • SenorGato

      Theyll probably be really good but age and cost is todays game!

      • Justin

        I disagree that they’ll be really good, and understand that cost is part of today’s game. But age is part of how to have a shitty team, which is why all these teams were jocking Tanaka…

        • Noah_I

          I think the Yankees would have a solid shot in some divisions, but will be pretty bad in the AL East. That’s just not a good lineup anymore, even with the additions of Ellsbury and McCann, and the rotation is ok, but nothing fantastic.

          I like Tanaka, but I’d be very happy if I’m a Red Sox fan. I don’t think the Yankees have the talent to compete with the Red Sox over the next two seasons, and the Tanaka signing is going to make it impossible for the Yankees to get under the luxury tax threshold, limiting the Yankees’ ability to spend in the future.

          I get why the Yankees made this move, and the other ones they made over the winter, but I still think that’s a meh team in that division.

      • hansman

        That’s awesome since 30 year Olds are going to resume aging normally.

        I will laugh, heartily, at Tanaka when he opts out at age 29 with the Yankees not reaching the postseason in his tenure.

        • http://bleachernation Peoria cubman

          That is very possible, then the Cubs can swoop in and nab him.

  • ThatCubsFan21

    So now that the “I hope he signs with us” ship has sailed, anybody hoping Tanaka ends up a bust? Two great things happen in that situation: 1) The Yankees get shot in the foot with their own gun, and 2) we can take a sigh of relief that we didn’t fork up a massive offer for him and get stuck with him

    *just trying to think of ways we can still get a satisfied feeling of him not signing with us*

  • AlbDaKID

    Untill we see (if we ever see) the Cubs’ offer I really dont know how to feel about it all. 155million is an overbid IMO, but how much did they overbid the cubs?

    • Required

      99 cents

  • LWeb23

    While the free agent class of SP looks nice next year, it should be noted that it’s a long time between now and November for players to resign with their current clubs, or get traded and sign with their new clubs.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      This is true but I have a feeling more players will start testing free agency especially pitchers.

  • Noah_I

    I feel exactly as I thought I would about this: slightly disappointed that the Cubs don’t have Tanaka, but also relieved they don’t have that much money tied up in him at this juncture for so long, especially with the opt out clause. That’s more than $22 million per year before the posting fee, and if Tanaka succeeds he’s going to be looking for more after 2017.

    This, however, does not look like a situation to me where Tanaka took less money from the Yankees than he would from the Cubs. I’d be surprised if there was a better combination of money and opt out available to Tanaka.

    • billybuck

      I agree. A little bummed but greatly relieved that the money is not tied up in one guy.

  • dreese

    Have fun being the youngest guy on the team by 5 years and never making the playoffs you’re whole contract length :)

    Wow I guess I’m bitter.

  • Rebuilding

    So, with the Yankees luxury tax situation they are paying Tanaka (with posting fee) around $36 million a year if he opts out

    • Rebuilding

      Should say they’re paying $36 million. Obviously it’s all not going to him

      • ssckelley

        Plus maximum penalties for anybody else they sign this year and if they are over again next year max penalties. This is why I asked the question below, if this move puts the Yankees back over the luxury tax then it will cost them a ton of money. I know they have it and all but it makes you wonder if they missed out on a rare opportunity to reset the luxury tax penalty.

    • blublud

      Actually, its more like 27 if he opts out after 4. But if he opts out after 4, it’ll be because he earned that money.

  • ssckelley

    So is this the ARod money or are the Yankees going over the luxary tax again? If they are going over this deal is going to cost them a crap load of money.

  • mjhurdle

    when i saw the Yankees go Tanaka, i had the sadz.
    when I saw what the Yankees gave him, it lessened that blow a little.

    We knew all along that he would probably prefer Yankees/Dodgers over the Cubs if all things were equal.
    So with this Yankee offer, the Cubs would have had to top it by a decent amount to get him here.
    I was on board with signing Tanaka even at 20 million a year. But to beat the Yankees, the Cubs would have had to go to probably in the 160-165 million range + 20 million posting fee.
    As much as I wanted Tanaka, I would have had some doubts if we spent almost 200 million for him.
    Time to move on. Still plenty to be excited about this year.

    • BlameHendry

      “Still plenty to be excited about this year.”

      Oh yeah, a trio of regressed prospects (Castro, Rizzo, Shark), 95+ losses, and dont forget our shining new acquisition George Kottaras!!

      Yeah, that’s REALLY exciting.

      • ari gold

        Castro, Rizzo, and Shark aren’t prospects you [name calling].

        [Ed. - Can we act like adults? Don't let that level of name-calling - I feel like a teacher - happen again.]

        • nate1m

          Whoa, no need for F Bombs.

          You’re right though

        • BlameHendry

          Alright listen here [name-calling], they’re young players with very little ML experience who are considered to still be in the development stage. I don’t give a fuck if ML playing time disqualifies them from the technical definition of “prospect” – they’re young, inexperienced, and developing (or at least supposed to be developing) and that’s the same fucking thing as a prospect.

          [Ed. - That's totally unacceptable. I get that it's a heated time, but don't let that level of crap sink into your comments again.]

          • Soda Popinski

            Dude, you’re really taking this Tanaka thing bad. Relax, man.
            (and it’s not the same thing as a prospect)

          • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

            It’s pretty easy to understand where hendry is getting at. We’re all just pissed because of the current circumstances and where our club stands in 2014. I’m pissed too and just for once, it’d be nice to win the bidding of an exciting player with huge potential star power. If ya wanna play with the big boys, you have to spend big and considering the payroll flexibility the Cubs have right now, I have no f***ing clue what their mentality could be right now. Just give the fans something to smile about. I think we deserve it, considering how patient we’ve been.

            • TWC

              The Cubs don’t owe you anything.

              • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

                I think they owe fans a reason to flock to Wrigley and going into 2014, having a shiny new player with the kind of potential Tanaka has would have been a good incentive for some of their fans. We’re happy, they’re happy, the ticket sales potentially increase, etc. I can tell you that I’m certain there are fans who decided not to attend any 2014 games that would’ve changed their minds if the Cubs landed Tanaka.

                • Noah_I

                  I bet that number is miniscule. Maybe a few thousand fans who both follow the Cubs enough to have been following the Tanaka issue AND who are so mad the Cubs didn’t get him that they’ve given up. That’s a tiny, tiny number. The vast majority of people who walk into Wrigley Field this season won’t know who Masahiro Tanaka is.

                  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

                    There’s also the Asian market to consider. Those who were fans of Tanaka will likely become Cubs fans too. Either way, it just felt like it could have been a pivotal point of the rebuild, at least to me.

                  • Scotti

                    “The vast majority of people who walk into Wrigley Field this season won’t know who Masahiro Tanaka is.”

                    Season ticket buyers pay attention. The VAST majority of tickets sold are season tickets.

                  • aaronb

                    The people who buy tickets don’t follow baseball? Sounds a bit naive.

              • Scotti

                “The Cubs don’t owe you anything.”

                Seeing that the Cubs exist solely because of its fans (not to mention far outpace any $/win figure), I’m pretty sure the Cubs would wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Nah, in the spirit of disagreement, TWC is proving himself once again to be the dopey contrarian that he is.

                • TWC

                  The Cubs are a business. They exist to make money for their investors/owners. They are not a public service.

                  Fans of the Cubs are fans by choice. The reasons for their fandom are myriad (and, I suspect, conflicting, contradictory, and often confusing), but they — we — still make that choice.

                  If you buy a ticket to a baseball game, the Cubs are obligated to do their best to ensure that you see a baseball game. Certainly, the team wants to win. The Front Office (conspiracy theories aside) wants to win. The fans want to see their team win. But they didn’t buy a ticket guaranteeing a win. They bought a ticket to see a baseball game.

                  “Seeing that the Cubs exist solely because of its fans … I’m pretty sure the Cubs would wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.”

                  Let me ask you this: is Levi’s obligated to make the best-fitting jeans? If you buy a pair of Levis and they don’t fit as well as you’d like, is the Levi Strauss company morally obligated to ensure your future happiness with their jeans? Of course not.

                  Like Levi’s, the Cubs make a product. You choose to buy it. You choose to support it. The Cubs are not morally obligated to support the delusion of your fandom.

                  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

                    So by your logic, businesses should not continue to find ways to keep their consumers happy/interested? That’s pretty illogical if you ask me. Companies are ALWAYS trying to find ways to get and keep ahead of the competition, to think otherwise is ridiculous. Pleasing consumers keeps consumers and finding new ways to please consumers brings new business, which ends up becoming profit. I’ve never known a business to turn down profit, unless it was a charity.

                    • TWC

                      You are entirely correct!

                      The issue is when the conversation turns into that company “owing” anything to their consumers. A business only has obligations (literally) to its owners/investors and creditors. It owes *them* a reasonable effort to maintain consumer interest and profitability. It is under no moral obligation to the consumer (other than to present their goods/services in a manner that’s honest).

            • mjhurdle

              So you would be ok paying a good Japanese league pitcher Kershaw-level money?
              I was all on board with the Cubs trying for Tanaka, and I get that prices for FA pitchers are rising. But this still seems like a huge risk at this much money. I wouldn’t have minded the Cubs getting him, but I would have been worried that he would ever be able to justify that contract.

              • Jon

                Tanaka got no where near Kershaw money. STop with the hyperbole.

                • mjhurdle

                  Kershaw – 7 years, 215 million – 30. million
                  Tanaka – 7 year, 175 million – 25 million (if he stays all 7 years)
                  Tanaka – 4 year, 108 million – 27.1 million (if he opts out)

                  obviously not exact, but as 25 million a year makes him tied with Cliff Lee as the second highest paid pitcher in baseball for 2014, behind only Kershaw. 27 gives him the second spot all to himself.

                  Not sure where you got ‘hyperbole’ from.

              • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

                My hope is since they didn’t get him, they find another wise way to spend that money on potential impact pieces, rather than bench fillers. I’m quite curious to what “plan b” is, if one exists.

              • Scotti

                This isn’t Kershaw-level FREE AGENT money. The only money we know about is Kershaw EXTENSION money. BIG difference.

                • mjhurdle

                  I was just talking about the money Kershaw is actually getting paid. Not what he might have maybe gotten paid.
                  Because he never hit FA, there is no proof of what he would have gotten, so it becomes speculative. I personally dont think he gave the Dodgers much of a discount, but i obviously can’t prove that. Just on’t see a reason why, so close to FA, he would give up much just to stay with the Dodgers. Could be way off though.

          • CubsFaninMS

            Blame Hendry and drown away yoru sorrows with several cervezas. Tomorrow is a new day, my friend. The sun will shine again, I promise.

      • mjhurdle

        Im pretty excited about 2014, but excitement is a very personal-opinion oriented thing, so I can’t really tell you to be excited.
        Hopefully at some point you find something to get excited about with this team in 2014.

  • hartmtown

    I can’t help but feel like this could be Fukudome part deux. I know he’s a pitcher and all, but sometimes the stud Japanese guy just doesn’t translate to MLB quite as well. Yeah, I realize it’s probably sour grapes to say so.

    Still, I’m a bit relieved we didn’t spend 160 million + on an unproven commodity. The problem is where to spend it. There just aren’t that many guys who come up in FA that are worth the money anymore. Hopefully a good chunk of next year’s pitchers crop make it to FA. And I gotta think it’s time to trade Samardzija for some younger, high upside arms.

    • ssckelley

      Big difference between signing a 31 year old free agent and a 25 year old. The Cubs did get decent value out of Fukodome’s first 2 years.

  • Ron Swansons Mustache

    With that contact, I’m disappointed but a little relieved at the same time if that make sense.

    Homer Bailey next offseason.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Well orchestrated Bud- Bravo!! Skewer ARod so Yanks get Tanaka– there oughta be a law against this – hope ARod wins appeal just to burn the Yanks

    • fortyonenorth

      I find myself agreeing with this. No love for ARod, but MLB and the Yankees are complicit in the whole deal. I would be delighted to see ARod win.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Unless you think there’s a plausible scenario in which Selig goes after everyone EXCEPT ARod connected worth Biogenesis then I don’t think that makes sense.

    • YourResidentJag

      Actually, Bud needs to be blamed for single-handedly ripping to shreds what little parody might have existed in MLB with the new CBA.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      News Flash! A-rod already lost his appeal. Doesn’t have a friend in the world other than the ones he pays.

  • Jon

    I’m glad the Cubs didn’t get Tanaka at that money. It’s better for the RIcketts bottom line and helps the Cubs chase their “most efficient” team award.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    If the Cubs pushed this bid up I’ll be satisfied.

  • V23

    Brett, can you please the post the link the Bears BN nation? I’m now onto the NFL Draft.

    • nate1m

      The NBA trade deadline is only a month away. Don’t go jumping the gun

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m glad we made them pay! Hahaha. Let’s hurry up and sign another bargain basement pitcher and play ball.

  • d_seg1

    Just as always, not surprised, but disappointed. The life of being a Cubs fan. Wouldn’t have wanted them to go that much, especially with the opt out. Bring on MaHolm…woohoo

  • Medicos

    Happy to hear that Tanaka signed with another team.. At least the Cubs FO made a super effort sign him. Now let’s spend some of that money on proven veteran ML pitchers such as: Garza, Maholm, Arroyo, Karstens, Santana, and Marquis.

    • Jon

      lol, this is such a “loser” mentality, but it’s probably something they will do.

    • AlbDaKID

      As far as effort to sign Tanaka is concerned, how would you define effort? Rumor is they were in the top 2 but at what price? I hope for a little bit more transparency from the FO about the negotiations.

      • BT

        Tanaka’s camp specifically asked for FOs to keep quiet about negotiations. Every GM asked about Tanaka said the same thing.

  • BlameHendry

    Just to depress y’all further, It’s very likely the Yanks will STILL get under the lux tax threshold by backloading the contract. They’ll likely do what the Dodgers did with Kershaw (Kershaw’s salary for 2014 is only $4M, accompanied by a $18M signing bonus)

    • blublud

      They can’t do that. It does matter how its pay out, the AAV is what counts against the tax threshold.

  • blublud

    I can’t say I’m mad. I said all along that 6 yr/120, and that’s including the posting fee, was as far I would go. 6 yrs/120 without posting fee was an overpay. I got caught up into the hype, I must admit, but I’m glad, or at least hope, that Theo in no way was willing to come close to this offer, match this offer or beat it.

  • Isaac

    It’s simply too much money. Glad it’s the Yankees.

  • josh ruiter

    I am sad…b/c of all the things mentioned throughout the process. 25 year old, front of the rotation type, for only money…tears shed is okay here?
    BUT…I also arrive at a point this morning of cautious hope? I had one concern in the Tanaka sweepstakes…that it would rush the rebuild. Yeh, I know everyone wants it now…but with Tanaka, EJax, Wood, etc. you can almost assure a Shark extension (IMO), and all of a sudden you have an established rotation built for the now, and a roster still playing catch up. That often results in pressing young guys before they are ready or signing big names and drowning out prospects.
    I still want to win in 2015, and they may have just gotten more difficult, but there are 3-4 other teams who also missed out on Tanaka who are looking to win now and just whiffed on the biggest chance of the offseason. That also drives up the price on Shark now to those teams. All of the Blue Jays, Mariners, and D-backs want another front line starter but don’t have tremendous payroll flexibility to work with. They all have deep farm systems with elite level pitching talent. Maybe now they will be more willing to part with that pitching talent to acquire a cheap already front-end ready starter?
    I guess we’ll see.

  • cmuir

    Long time reader, first time poster ;), but that’s a lot of money for an unproven arm. On the other hand, if, when the figures come out, the Cubs offered anything close to that, Tanaka made a huge mistake.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Where the hell is Blackhawks? He must be gloating now!

  • http://BN Sacko

    The best note about all this is that Cubs do have the money. Sign Shark and help solidify what are all ready Cubs players. Get 2 more FA pitchers one a top end starter and there is still money left over from $155 million.

  • Johnny Chess

    My Guess Cubs were at 135 mil plus post 7 year no opt

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My guess? The Cubs made the same offer as the Yankees, in every way. The Yankees matched it, because Tanaka preferred the Yanks if all else was equal.

      Again, just a guess.

  • Required

    I’m sure he’s great in Japan but, he hasn’t faced one MLB hitter. Other than Ichiro Suzuki name one Asian hitter that’s a everyday player?

    • blublud


    • Edwin

      Norichika Aoki .

    • josh ruiter

      I’m just going to point out he is not an everyday player or a hitter. More relevant here may be the argument of other Japanese pitchers who have found success…Yu Darvish, Hideo Nomo, Dice-k (until injury), Kuroda, amongst some others with mixed success. On the same token, next year is another guy in the same talent level (or close) as tanaka we can go after then.

    • JadeBos

      Anyone remember Tadahito Iguchi? Old infeilder for the White Sox? He posted a 903 OPS (4th) and 23 HRs last year at age 38 in the Pacific (tankawa’s league) right ahead of Casey Magehee who the Marlins just signed for 1 yr 1 mil.

      Not that it means everything, but Tanaka’s average fastball is 90.7mph.

      I see it as the Yankee’s just gave 4/100 to a 2/3 AT BEST! and an extra $75 million if he scuffles. Which I think he will. Have fun going from AAAA to the AL East.

  • smackafilieyo

    Yankees IMO could careless about the threshold tax 1. Aroid would’ve been on the books in 2 years anyhow so they’d be over and 2. The amount of jerseys they’ll sell alone in japan of tanaka’s will pay for him and his tax amount

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