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.

  • Jason P

    Well, the Yankees were desperate and they paid desperate money.

  • OlderStyle

    “you can be what you want to be, you ain’t got no responsibility…
    every man, every man is free, you’re a million miles from reality…”

  • smackafilieyo

    On a good note though guys!! Cardinals didn’t get him…who’s with me? Haha

    • miggy80

      Good point, if the Cards got Tanaka, with the other young talent they have, I would of spewed on my pajama’s.

  • Jon

    So what FA are we gong to swing and miss out on next year? Scherzer? Masterson?

    What a shock that a free agent would express desire to not play for a team that just lost 90+ games and is poised to lose another 90+.

    • YourResidentJag

      But they’re always going to be here for the taking. Just ask the prominents on this blog. :)

  • Spoda17

    I was all into the Tanaka hunt… but I am so glad we did not do this. Even if he is successful with the Yankees, and even if we can get into the $150 mill/yr payroll again, I think this deal would have made it a lot harder to fill the entire pitching need, not just one spot. Mitch Williams put it best on MLB TV the other day… 22-25 million a year for someone who only impacts 20% of your games… easier to swallow if you know the guy… a lot harder when you don’t…

    I’m happy we were in it until the end, but happier we did not sign him… if that makes sense.

  • Johnny Chess

    Time for Plan B Trade for or Trade Shark or resign Shark and Garza Take a hard look at the others. 155 mil split 3 ways 52 Mil / 2 ways 77 mil over 7 years. Basically 7 to 11 mil per year

  • Justin

    It seems the Cubs may want to start having the team on the field perform now.. So free agents have interest in going there and not being worried about being “flipped” at the deadline. They should sign all these compensation guys- Santana, Jiminez, and Cruz. At this pt screw their 2nd-4th rounders and make shit happen…

    • Noah_I

      And when two of Santana, Jimenez and Cruz are overpaid disappointments, what do they do then?

  • YourResidentJag

    Trade Shark to Toronto for a package centered around Aaron Sanchez. Cubs HAVE TO NOW.

    • Isaac

      If this deal exists, I agree…let’s get it done. Tanaka could have possibly bridged our kids with Shark, but now there is simply too much age separation to make an extension make sense.

  • Tmfelso

    How does this influence Shark’s contract situation? Tanaka very much influenced whether or not Shark thought there was a light at the end of the 90+ loss tunnel, more likely to get traded moving back timeline or more pressure put on FO to lock up a potential TOR in a potentially (young) pitching thin market?

  • waffle

    I always thought we had a shot, but a long shot

    Yet another reason (as if I needed any more ) to hate the yankees.

    boy is that a BIG player friendly contract

    Yes, I sorta hope he stinks now.

  • Diehardthefirst

    So let’s start contest how should $20 million be spent — winner gets satisfaction of being right if Cubs do it

    • Soda Popinski

      I’m hoping a chunk of that goes to a one year Nelson Cruz deal. The rest for one of the remaining starters…

      • YourResidentJag

        At this point, better to sign Vernon Wells.

  • ThePope

    Anyone “surprised” with this either has not been paying attention or is in severe denial…..

    • ssckelley

      I am not seeing many act surprised on here. How could we with Blackhawks posting this would happen a minimum of 100 times per day?

  • WKRP in Cincinnatus

    …And this is an overpay. Glad we were in the game, but thrilled we didn’t go this high.

    Now a new generation of Yankees fans can enjoy Hideki Irabu.

  • Jon

    We went from possibly getting Tanaka, then extending Shark and having a great 1-2 tandmen and possibly competing, to trading Shark and maybe winning in 2018-2019?

    Every f’ckin intentional FA that matters they swing and wiff on. Darvish, Puig, Tananka. I don’t want to hear the excuses. We didn’t get Tananka because they major league club is dogshit. Until we start to make incremental improvements and stop with these bullshit off season(Kotteras, Ruggiano) no FA worth a shit is going to take us serious.

    • bbmoney

      “We went from possibly getting Tanaka, then extending Shark and having a great 1-2 tandmen and possibly competing, to trading Shark and maybe winning in 2018-2019?”

      That seems like a bit of an overreaction.

    • ssckelley

      Vent brother, vent!

      But at the end of the day the Cubs cannot force players to come here, even if they can offer the most money.

      • Jon

        If they have MLB roster that isn’t a laughing stock, and offer the most $$$ then maybe they will start getting these guys.

        • BT

          Or if they have their own cable network and can afford payrolls over 200 million. But I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.

          • Jon

            By all accounts the Cubs offered as much if not more than the Yanks. I know this is shocking, but players do like to “win” you know.

            • BT

              I’m guessing the Cubs didn’t offer 25 million. I’m guessing the Cubs were in it until the Yankees blew everyone out of the water. If Tanaka wanted to win (you know), he wouldn’t have picked the Yankees. He would have picked the Dodgers (who “by all accounts” weren’t going to be out bid) or the Red Sox.

              But by all means, rant on.

        • ssckelley

          That might have played a part of it but all along the rumors were he wanted to go to a place with a strong asian community. The Cubs were only on his radar because they are the ones who were willing to break the bank to get him, which forced teams like the Dodgers and the Yankees to pony up more money. I don’t think the Yankees even had to match the Cubs offer, just get close enough to where it would not be dumb to pass up the extra money.

    • TWC

      “We didn’t get Tananka because they major league club is dog shit.”

      That’s just specious. You’re conveniently ignoring *all* of the “NY or LA only” chatter that has been floating around all off season just to continue your anti-FO crusade.

      • YourResidentJag

        And these players won’t be players for every additional FA. You realize these teams don’t care about tax penalties. Talk about specious.

        • TWC

          I’ll give you a few minutes to look up what “specious” means, Lou.

          • YourResidentJag

            Ok. Whatever. Notice you’re not exactly disagreeing with my premise. How interesting?

            • TWC

              Honestly? I don’t understand your premise.

              “And these players won’t be players for every additional FA.”

              I truly have no fucking idea what this is supposed to mean, especially in response to my comment.

              • YourResidentJag

                So, these teams (the Dodgers and Yankees) aren’t going to grab up any FAs they see fit for the teams, regardless of penalties? They’re always going to be in the conversation Tanaka, Ellsbury, whomever. How is that SO HARD to fucking understand???

              • YourResidentJag


                • TWC

                  You having a tough morning, Lou?

                  I still don’t understand your premise (but thanks for calling me a dope — the all-caps really drove home your point), especially as it relates to my comment.

                  Jon made a rather specious claim that the reason that Tanaka chose NY was because the Cubs weren’t any good. I reminded him that his argument was silly in light of all the “Tanaka’s preference is NY or LA” talk that’s been floating around all off season.

                  You made the decision to change the thread of replies to something about NY and LA always being willing to spend money on FAs — which is a fine point, I suppose — but it really has nothing to do with *Tanaka* and *his preference* for NY or LA.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    It doesn’t? So, if NY or LA weren’t always in the conversation for FAs of their choosing (whenever they need to grab them up), how could or would Tanaka not have a personal perference to play for them in 1st place? Yeah, I get that it’s not about the Cubs being any good or not, but really NY and LA aren’t by their very nature attractive places to play?

                    Piece of advice: don’t expect someone not to have as you say “a tough morning” when you drop a F-bomb on them. And yeah, they’re probably going to respond in kind back to you.

                    • TWC

                      I accept your apology, Lou.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Thanks for understanding, TWC. 😉

      • twinkletoez

        I agree TWC. From the start everyone said his preference was to play on one of the coasts either LA or NY. And as soon as he signs with one of those teams, all the front office haters on this site are blaming the rebuild and MLB roster for Tanaka not signing with the Cubs.

        The cubs could have won 90+ games last year and that would not have changed this outcome.

        Remember the Yankees were an 85 win, 4th place in their division, non playoff team last year.

    • Lou Brown

      We didn’t get Tanaka because we didn’t take on a 175 million Dollar risk, while giving him the chance to walk after four years if he turns out to be as good as advertised. Its not like the Yankees got him cheap because our club is “dogshit”. They paid a high price.

    • BT

      You don’t want to hear the excuses because you are not being rational. Tanaka didn’t turn down the Cubs because he didn’t want to play with Darwin Barney. He turned down the Cubs because he wanted 25 million a year. Period.

      • Jon

        He get’s 22 million a year. The posting fee goes back to his original club.

        • BT

          Oh my God, that changes…nothing.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Joel Sherman ‏@Joelsherman1 3m
    #Yankees #dodgers #Cubs were finalist for Tanaka. #Yankees went from 6 yr offer to 7 in past few days, told without that could not do deal

    • Cizzle

      Ironically it was for a 7th year that only gets paid if Tanaka sucks (if he’s good, the Yanks will only get to pay him for 4 years).

      • YourResidentJag

        He could also renegotiate like Sabathia.

  • psu415

    Um…I never wanted him anyway! Yeah. That’s what I’m going with. Nothing takes care of anger like some good old fashioned denial

  • Jim

    I don’t if this has been said, but I’d like to congratulate Blackhawks63 for picking the heavy favorite to land Tanaka and sticking to his guns while we all mocked him – way to go out on a limb there, Blackhawks!

    • Soda Popinski

      Sorry to inform you, Jim, but about 30 mins ago Blackhawks started really doubting his prediction. Per Blackhawks1963 himself (or herself):

      There is emerging sense that Tanaka’s selection will be made public by no later than this evening, “American” time. Still seems to me that Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka are trying VERY hard to make the Dodgers work. In my opinion the Tanaka’s overwhelming preference is to play in Los Angeles. Would he take several million dollars less to play in LA? He just might. I also still think that the Yankees are his fallback option. I can imagine the Steinbrenner boys and Cashman are throwing more money onto the fire to distance their offer from the Dodgers.

      • ssckelley

        He has been saying that over and over and over and……….

        • Soda Popinski

          It was the first time I saw him really leaning towards the Dodgers. It was always Yankees Yankees Yankees.
          And this is the last time I’ll mention Blackhawks posts. I’m so already over it and regret even bringing it up.

          • ssckelley

            He as saying that crap last night as well, but yeah I am ready to put this all behind me as well.

            I am disappointed but even more relieved that this is finally over.

  • Beer Baron

    At least Emperor Bud’s new posting system allowed a low payroll team to get the big international free agent this time. So that seems to be working well.

  • Steve

    Well Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge.

    Now, lets shift into ” I hope he sucks” mode…..

  • SenorGato

    So are we doing the usual? Pretending this OK and a part of Epstein’s master plan? A round of applause for trying hard?

  • @justinjabs

    I’m pretty disappointed. Stupid Cubs Convention getting me excited about the Cubs.

    I thought maybe signing Tanaka could also sway Samardzija towards reaching an extension, but that’s out of the question now too.

  • umfan83

    I’m glad you are comforted that we can spend money. I never thought that was an issue. The issue is that the type of players the Cubs are willing to spend money on, players in their 20’s with all star talent or potential are rarely available. The only 2 that I can remember coming on the market during Theo’s tenure are Tanaka and Cespedes, and while we put competitive offers on both, we didn’t get them.

    In my opinion, the Cubs HAVE to win these types of bidding wars if they want their plan to work. If they can’t win these wars, you have to hope that you get at least 2-3 stars from the prospects you are grooming right now. While its possible with the talent we have, its definitely not a sure thing.

    • aaronb

      At least we can leak that we finished 2nd in the bidding.

      I do wonder why Theo can’t seem to close any of these non basement deals anymore though? Especially since he has the green light spend as he sees fit.

      • willis

        Because the cubs haven’t shown a commitment to win at the major league level in 5 years is my guess. If another team is close, the cubs will lose out on the player. Big time players don’t give a crap about 2016-2017, they care about now. So, if an organization that shows that commitment to winning comes close or slightly outbids the cubs, they’ll always pick the other team.

        This is as shocking as the sun coming up.

        • aaronb

          Who cares about big time free agents? The Cubs have the 4th overall pick in the June draft.

          That is what we need to be focusing on here people.

  • clark addison

    I’ll bet the presence of Ichiro had a lot to do with Tanaka signing with the Yankees. They also have a stronger history with Asian players than the Cubs.

    • umfan83

      Him and Kuroda were supposedly reasons why he chose NY.

      Guess Fujikawa isn’t as respected.

  • 26.2CubsFan

    Isn’t it time to change the SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS!!! meme to the Yankees? The Dodgers are so last off-season…

  • NorthSideIrish

    Steve Berthiaume ‏@BertDbacks 4m
    #Yankees have spent half a BILLION dollars this winter & still have Kelly Johnson likely starting at 3B & Brian Roberts at 2B.

    OK, maybe my grapes are a little sour today because I really enjoyed this…

    • Jon

      Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are still a good bet to outproduce what we have at 3rd and 2nd this year.

      But let’s keep pointing and laughing at the Yankees! Oh woes is them!

      • jp3

        I’d love to have Brian Roberts at 2B this year. I’d rather cross my fingers and hope he stays healthy than watch Barney bloop balls out of the infield once every 5 ABs

      • ssckelley

        I will wait until the end of the season to point fingers and laugh at the Yankees, but only if this move takes them over the luxury tax threshold. IMO this is bad business move for the Yankees to pay that kind of money and not win the World Series, or at least get there. But if they succeed then it is hard to argue against it.

        If I am in the FO of the Yankees it is World Series or bust now.

      • SenorGato

        LOLZ they arent as frugal as us! Thats the game!

  • Ill see you at Sluggers.

    Well if I was right about anything, it was that I knew the Cubs would “try” but eventually lose out on Tanaka. I just hope Theo & Jed don’t go on a “we put the money out there for the taking” rant to cover their butts. Actions speak louder than words. That being said I’m not upset by any means that we didn’t sign him to a 7 year $155M deal. That’s way too much for someone who pitched both games 6 & 7 in the Japanese world series and has never played in the MLB yet.

    • TWC

      Oh, good. You were right. Thanks for letting us know.

  • Diehardthefirst

    If Tanaka proves his worth then Shark value plummets because he hasn’t proven anything-

    • aaronb

      If anything it makes the reported 5/55 for Samjay sound kind of silly. He stands to make at least an extra 50 million by testing free agency.

      Price of poker is going up folks!!!

      • Noah_I

        Not if he keeps pitching like he did the last two seasons. He’ll be right in the Santana/Jimenez/Garza boat.

        • aaronb

          I figure all three get more money. At least more annually than Samjay was offered.

      • hansman

        When you factor in that 2 of those years are arb years where he will be lucky to make $12M combined, that suddenly becomes 3/42 or $14M for those years.

        Considering it is an arb buyout, that is reasonable.

  • Patrick G

    So I’m guessing the cubs are more likely to try and trade Shark?

  • Scotti

    “isn’t an ace-caliber talent”

    Debatable. Chris Sale wasn’t supposed to have ace-caliber talent. Zack Greinke wasn’t supposed to be able to pitch for a big market. The list goes on and on. Tanka has several plus pitches. He could wind up being an Ace-level pitcher. Best of luck to him.

  • Ron Swansons Mustache

    Glad to see all of the idiotic comments and suggestions resulting from Tanaka’s decision are plentiful here.

    • jp3

      He sucks, didn’t want him, Cano, Ellberry, Beltran, Choo, and McCann or you know, anyone with remotely any talent. I’d rather sign all the bench utility infielders and all the 4th OFs… Ok ok so that’s a little sour grapes maybe

      • SenorGato

        Wow, that almost went in! You should be the center!