jeff samardzija gatorade showerIn the wake of the market-clearing move by the Yankees to sign Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract (with an opt-out after four years), we’re going to see a number of immediate, and rapid reactions to the news.

Among them:

  • The top tier pitching free agents – Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana – could sign very quickly hereafter. It’s no secret that the market for them ground to a halt while a number of teams waited on Tanaka (and those pitchers, commensurately, waited to see how much he’d get). That doesn’t mean discussions with those pitchers ceased, and it’s quite possible that everyone already knows where things stand with them, pending the Tanaka decision.* In that case, signings could happen within a matter of days. Despite the Cubs’ interest in Tanaka, I don’t expect them to be in on any of these three (older) pitchers (absent an absurd bottoming out of the market for one of them). They stand to decline sooner than Tanaka (meaning their best years could be over before the Cubs are good), they each come with significant performance and/or health question marks, the latter two cost a draft pick, and the Garza/Cubs thing has already been done. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees, who need more pitching than just Tanaka, sign one of those three, by the way.

*Even if the Dodgers and Cubs aren’t in the market for those three names, it takes only one team – like the Yankees – to be involved with those guys for the market to cease during the Tanaka negotiations. The Diamondbacks were also involved in both arenas, as well as, possibly, the Blue Jays. Buster Olney today suggested that the freeze in the starter market may have been unrelated to Tanaka, but that strikes me as poppycock. Put yourself in Matt Garza’s shoes: why in the world would you agree to a deal before knowing how many teams will actually be available to bid on your services? And why would the Yankees sign Garza before they know whether they’re getting Tanaka? The Tanaka decision had a hard-and-fast end date. There was no reason for these pitchers, and the other teams, not to wait.

  • Together with the top tier pitching free agents signing, you’ll also see a break in the mid/lower-tier pitching market, especially as it relates to the Cubs. Although the Cubs do have the pitching necessary to field a five-man rotation, the quality of depth trails off as you get into the 5th/6th/7th starter range. As we’ve seen time and time again, those guys make considerable starts over the course of the year (particularly if there are sell trades). Expect the Cubs to sign another starting pitcher, and the three most connected names we hear are Jason Hammel (my preference), Paul Maholm (not terrible), and Scott Baker (might still be waiting on a big league offer).
  • Get ready for an uptick in Jeff Samardzija trade rumors. Tanaka heading to the Yankees is good for the Samardzija trade market, since they have long been a poor potential trading partner for the Cubs, given the lack of elite, high-level prospects in their system. In other words, Tanaka to the Yankees didn’t take a legitimate potential Samardzija suitor off of the market (so, in that same way, you’re now rooting for the Yankees to sign one of the three remaining top starting pitchers, too). I still think we’ll see the free agent market sort itself out before there’s another wave of credible, serious Samardzija trade rumors. At that point, perhaps we hear rumblings of another run at extension talks (recall, the Cubs and Samardzija still have to work out his 2014 salary, so they’ll be at the table together anyway). I don’t think we can say with certainty that Samardzija will be traded this offseason simply because Tanaka has now decided – that was always coming – but we can say that the rumors will pop up again. From there, if there’s no trade and no extension, Samardzija’s will be an exceedingly hot name come June and July.
  • Those Samardzija trade rumors – the ones coming later this offseason, I mean – will undoubtedly be preceded by David Price trade rumors. I still think it’s a very strong bet that Price is traded this offseason, though the impact to the Cubs here is most likely going to be related to the Samardzija trade market (as opposed to the Cubs going after Price). Still, trade rumors involving an elite talent like Price are always fun to watch. The Dodgers and Mariners seem to make the most sense for Price.
  • The remaining positional free agents will sign eventually, but, unlike the pitching free agents, I don’t see their holdup as entirely related to the market freeze. Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew, and Kendrys Morales likely haven’t yet signed because their price tags – relative to talent and draft pick compensation – are too high. I don’t see the Cubs being involved there, either.
  • Oh, and one other piece of fallout? The sky-is-falling crowd will be out in force for a couple weeks, proclaiming the failure to sign Tanaka as an indication of … well … something. I can’t for the life of me figure out what, given that the Cubs were willing to commit $150/$160/$170 million (or whatever) to the right guy when he was available. Given that he wasn’t going to put the Cubs over the top in 2014 anyway, what exactly is the “message” that failing to sign him sends? Sure, it sucks to miss out on young talent, but there are other avenues in 2015, since that’s the year that matters. Take a peak at the free agent starting market for next year, consider the availability of Cubs money, and consider the Cubs’ timeline. The sky is black, but it is still where it always was.
  • Cubs49

    We’re gonna need night vision goggles to even see that murky path.

  • Jon

    I just really think the “The sky-is-falling crowd” in the last bullet is extremely condescending.

    We have lost 90+ games the past two seasons, and are poised to lose another 90+ in 2014. The sky has already fallen

    This was a TOR arm, in his prime (25)not tied to any compensation(prospects, picks, etc). These really don’t come along oftern.

    He had the potential to change the entire trajectory of the rebuild, with a Shark extension and other arm, that’s a formidable rotation and in theory, you are competing in 2015.

    I love how people that clearly state how much this does “suck” are labeled as “chicken littles” smh.

    Who’s excited for the s*hit show in 2014?

    • aaronb

      Looking at a 4th consecutive 90+ losses. And 5th consecutive losing season.

    • dw8

      This TOR arm could strikeout more than a guy per inning in NPB. Let’s pump the brakes on TOR tag here.

    • Corey C

      Condescending? really?

      That entire crowd is condescending to me as a Cubs fan.

    • regimezefelerski

      I’m sure you’ll have a nice retort, but here goes:
      You must be the speech police. Brett’s condescending, another poster is racist. You call others names and that’s okay for you. i’m amazed at folks who can post what they want but call out those who will post your their honest thoughts. No name calling, just post your opinion and leave others to theirs.

  • Required

    Carrie Muskrat just tweeted the rooftop deal fell through.

    • Jon

      Time to move to Schuamburgh.

      • Required


    • Kyle


      • Jason P

        My thoughts exactly.

    • itzscott

      Bad week for the Cubs to give up smoking/drinking/sniffing glue.

      • smackafilieyo


    • aaronb

      No worries…It’s part of “The Plan”.

      • Required

        Of course , of course!

    • Jason P

      Good lord.

      • Required

        How are we going to sign a top FA if we can’t even come to terms with our “friendly” neighbors across the street. Bad week for us Cub fans.

  • MichiganGoat

    Now is a good time to step away I’ve got more important things than the black lash over a pitcher.

    • Edwin

      Racist. 😉

  • itzscott

    Somehow I’m getting the impression that all professional athletes simply use Chicago teams as leverage with no true intentions of ever playing in Chicago…. Tanaka, Anabel Sanchez & Dwayne Wade immediately come to mind.

    Maybe if Chicago teams weren’t such dupes and told everyone they weren’t interested from the get go this will stop already.

  • brainiac

    can we get a new GM already? one that doesn’t alienate his current pitchers before trading them for nothing, and who’s able to actually sign a decent pitcher? Jed is becoming a walking disaster area.

    • Voice of Reason

      A new G.M.? The front office is doing exactly what they said they would do. You’re just going to have to be patient.

      In response to your points:

      1. He traded Garza for a nice little return so you’re incorrect that he alienates current pitchers before trading them for nothing.

      2. He signed Feldman last year and Edwin Jackson so you are wrong that he is not able to sign a decnet pitcher. I didn’t like the Jackson signing, but there was a story on this website that he pitched to the grade level of a “B” in 2013.

  • cubsfan1594

    So without Tanaka now does the rotation project as
    1. Samardzija
    2. Ejax
    3. T-Wood
    4. Arrieta
    5. Rusin/Villanueva

    • When The Musics Over

      You might have to remove Shark from that list.

      • cubsfan1594

        That rotation looks very bad without Shark

        • Voice of Reason

          The rotation looks very bad with Shark

      • Noah_I

        I don’t think Samardzija is traded this offseason unless the Cubs are blown away by an offer, which I don’t think anyone will be willing to do at this juncture. The Cubs will revisit trading Samardzija in July after he either shows something that makes other teams believe he is more than a mid-rotation starter, or firmly establishes himself as nothing more than a mid-rotation starter.

        • YourResidentJag


    • Noah_I

      My bet is the Cubs add Jason Hammel, and the rotation projects as: Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Hammel, Arrieta in that order, with Villanueva in the pen and Rusin either in the pen or Iowa.

      I actually kind of like our bullpen, though. It won’t be great, but should be MUCH better than the last couple of seasons, where you won’t be forcing someone who doesn’t have it anymore (Marmol) into high leverage situations or be forcing someone who better fits as a LOOGY into a setup man role (Russell). But since our bullpen should be Veras, Strop, Parker, Russell, Wright, Villanueva/Rusin, and then whomever the 7th guy is, with Fujikawa hopefully coming back in the first couple months of the season, I actually like that group fine.

    • JasonP

      I wouldn’t presume to put Shark as the #1 of that group, but the fact that he probably deserves to be there is depressing.

      On all counts, the sky isn’t falling, it has fallen. There is about zero hope for a winning season in 2014. Signing Tanaka wouldn’t have changed that, but it would have made every fifth game much easier to get excited about.

  • Jon

    “But sources said remarks made by Ricketts and Team President Crane Kenney at last week’s Cubs’ convention mirrored Ganis’ remarks and angered the rooftop owners.”

    Guess I’m not the only one that though his “showtime” reference was stupid.

    • When The Musics Over

      Isn’t it about time to just pull the old scoreboard and put thew new jumbotron in centerfield? Wouldn’t that solve so many problems. If people can’t get over that old relic in the spirit of helping this team compete, I don’t get it.

    • Chef Brian

      Yeah. You’re in fine company.

  • N.J. Riv

    The Yankees have really made the Cubs their bitch this off-season. First Girardi and now Tanaka. I guess don’t mess with the big boys, I suppose.

    • Chef Brian

      Oh please give it a rest. They got the pleasure of over paying for their manager and an unknown quantity pitcher. Pair that with their over paid, old, tired roster, empty farm system and they are sitting pretty. The only bitches will be their fans after this season.

  • Corey C

    Jesus. The “sky is falling’ people really piss me off. Just go be whitesox fans, and don’t come crawling back when we’re competitive. What’s another losing season to us? really? Patience.

  • http://BN Sacko

    I realize Tanaka was a somewhat long shot but isn’t this going to continue be a problem in signing the FA this FO is looking for in the future when we continue to field teams like we will have this year and their possible flips. With no way in knowing how the Minor Leagues will be coming up. What I mean is why are any Tanaka type players want to sign with us? We can kiss Shark goodbye now.

    • http://BN Sacko

      When does the oh crap stop and alright start?

  • Kyle

    And now the rooftop deal falls apart, and we’re going forward assuming we’re going to get sued. Something we just delayed the renovations by a year to avoid.

    That’s game 5 and 6. All we need is to hear that we’re never getting a TV deal and we’ll complete the Cubs “three crushing losses in a row” trifecta.

    • aaronb

      The silver lining is that it delays ownership having to make any capital investment into the stadium.

      They now have a scapegoat for why they can’t compete until 2020 if they choose to use it.

    • Internet Random


  • Diehardthefirst

    I disagree that Shark will be hot commodity- he’s peaked and by All-Star break he will have become the hitters best friend- Cubs should make a trade before season starts

  • rabbit

    just heard on the score that the yankees offered 25 to 35 mil more than any other team

  • roz

    I am hugely skeptical of that, and the fact that it came from the Score doesn’t help.

    • rabbit

      sorry espn 1000 from a tweet from Boston Globe reporter Nick Cafardo

      • mjhurdle

        Nick Cafardo ‏@nickcafardo 20m
        Dodgers cubs white sox Astros and dbacks in the hunt in the end with tanaka but Yankees bid was an estimated $25-$35 million more than rest

  • gocatsgo2003

    If you could work the word “poppycock” into all future posts, it would be much appreciated.

  • Diehardthefirst

    20% of that contract is kickback to Tanakas team and he will have IRS audits up the gazoo which is the last thing Cubs need

    • Voice of Reason


      You must smoke some really good pot!

      • Fishin Phil

        Sure, but his glaucoma is completely gone now!

  • hawkboy64

    I do understand the cubs not getting tanaka and not signing these older pitchers who won’t help bc the team won’t be good until those said pitchers are in effective but I’m waiting to see wht the excuses are in 2015 when the cubs punt again there’s always 2016:).

  • Diehardthefirst

    Tanaka projected to be a .500 pitcher in Yankee stadium and slightly better on road – 15-10 not worth 25 million year

  • notcubbiewubbie

    155+20 posting fee stupid money for an unproven quantity.didn’t really want him hope he turns into soriano for them.

  • Carew

    Bummer, but whatcha gonna do.

    Now that’s over, I would be willing to pay Ubaldo Jimenez, only Jimenez of the upper tier, and someone like Hammel.

    I do feel like Tanaka made a huge mistake, just speaking as a baseball fan, but I don’t blame him either.

  • willis

    I do think the Shark market heats back up now. He doesn’t want to deal with this crap much longer, and surely doesn’t want to take less than he can get on the market to be on a horrible team going forward. Other teams and more importantly the cubs front office know this. Remove him from the rotation and you’re looking at 100+ losses for the year and a good shot at the #1 pick in 2015.

  • Corey C

    Fuck it. Just block the roof tops view. Let them sue. The Cubs have more money than the neighborhood does.

    • sleepy

      I kind of like this idea. Time to quit fooling around. The rooftops are never going to let the Cubs do the renovations they way they want. If they want to play hardball then let’s go. The Cubs should drown them in legal fees. They’ve been a PIA for too long. Time to stomp them.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Memo to Theo: put down the vodka tonic and pick up the phone to call the Angels about trading Shark before pitchers report

  • tobias

    It’s being reported that Tanaka received a full no-trade clause. If that was the deciding factor then I’m glad that Tanaka didn’t sign with the Cubs especially when one doesn’t really know how Tanaka’s pitching is going to translate over here.

  • Diehardthefirst

    7 player Padres deal- see Theo- just pick up phone- it’s easy

  • Ballgame17

    “When the Musics Over”, they could eventually put jumbotron where old CF board is, but that’s a historical landmark so that’d be a whole other process. I’m assuming the $25-$35 mil gap from Yankees and everyone else was the additon of the 7th year. After letting this digest for a few hours, realizing how big that contract is, I’d be really nervous about every start he made. He could possibly live up to the contract, but I don’t think he’ll be able to exceed it.

    Can we see what the Dodgers would want for Kemp for the love of God? If they ate a little $, the Cubs could get Kemp for $16-17 mil/year. Granderson just signed 4/60mil so it’s def worth the risk. I know Theo doesn’t mess with PED players, but I’d kick the tires on Braun too. Not so sure he’s welcome back amongst his teammates that he blatantly lied too…

    • Jon

      The dodgers are not trading us Matt Kemp.

    • JacqueJones

      The problem is that the dodgers would rather eat more money to get a better prospect and the cubs would rather eat more money so that they dont have to give a better prospect, so a match is really hard.

    • mjhurdle

      Please no to Braun.
      1) i have no clue how good he is when off PEDs
      2) There is a difference to me between a guy that quietly uses PEDs to get more money buts owns the punishment when caught (still don’t like it, but it is more understandable) and someone that is willing to destroy an innocent person in an attempt to avoid punishment

      Just my opinion though

      • frankhutch

        They would have to trade half their farm system to get braun

  • frankhutch

    Matt kemp is broken

  • Jon

    Man, I’d take Braun in a heartbeat.

  • Ballgame17

    Kemp’s injury takes a full year to recover from and that year was last year. He should be ready to go and I think he’s a good buy-low candidate even though it would take a lot to get him. I just don’t see how Braun could be welcomed back with the Brewers. Even though they’re small market, I could see them willing to eat some $ as well. Cubs have to be willing to take a chance at some point….