sad thoughtful catIf you aren’t interested in hashing out any of the particulars of how it came to be that the Chicago Cubs were very involved in the Masahiro Tanaka process, but didn’t actually sign him, you can stop reading here. As of today, I’m not too interested in it, myself. My pot is actually much more stirred by the rooftop news.

But, for posterity, the narrative surrounding what happened in this Tanaka process is going to start forming today, and people will want to look back on it – a month from now, a year from now, five years from now – and use it as the basis for arguments. So, while it’s fresh, it’s important to get some things down on paper.

First, and foremost: the Cubs were genuinely interested in landing Tanaka. There was no dog and pony show, and there was a serious effort made. Tanaka was a real fit for this organization, and they were willing to spend serious money to get him, even if there was reason to suspect it would be difficult to convince him to sign on.

Secondly … I’m just not sure they could ever have actually signed him. I expressed my reservations about the Cubs’ ability to land Tanaka from day one, based not on anything the Cubs could or couldn’t do, but based on a simple question: if I were Tanaka, what would I do? Coming to a foreign country, signing the primary contract of my MLB career, and having no personal ties to any particular team … I’d probably want to sign with the Yankees. They are a perennial contender playing on the biggest stage in the world. They always spend the money necessary to field a competitive team, and they have the most storied history in baseball. Hate ’em all you want, but if you were in Tanaka’s shoes, you, too, would feel the pull.

According to the New York Daily news, Tanaka did feel that pull, and truly wanted to be a Yankee.

Throw in the Yankees’ desperate need for pitching and unlimited resources, and this was always an easy call. So why were we led to believe the Cubs had a legitimate shot? Well, because, as reports indicated, they probably did “lead” – in terms of the bidding – for a stretch this past week. But as I wrote a few days ago:

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.

It gives me absolutely no pleasure to have been right, but it looks like that’s exactly what happened. The Yankees waited things out, probably got a sense that Tanaka really wanted to join the Yankees, and upped their offer just enough to get him at the last minute over the Cubs (who appear to have been the runner up). As Joel Sherman reports, the Yankees were at six years for some time now, but were told the deal wasn’t getting done without going to seven years. The New York Times reports that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs were indeed the final three teams for Tanaka, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he was told, although the Yankees’ final offer was the highest, the others weren’t far off.

To me, that suggests that the reports of the Cubs being at seven years were accurate*, and the Yankees knew all along what they were going to need to do to get Tanaka. The Cubs pushed them to that edge, and the Yankees stepped up.

*We can play some word games with what the Cubs’ “offer” was, but what matters is how high they were willing to go. All indications this afternoon are that the Cubs were willing to get up into that 7-year, $150 million (plus posting fee) range, if it would get the deal done. Since it became apparent at some point that Tanaka wanted the Yankees and the Yankees wanted Tanaka, maybe the Cubs never actually reached that level. You could say that, therefore, the Cubs didn’t have the money to get Tanaka, but only because they couldn’t blow the Yankees’ enormous offer of the water (because of course they couldn’t (and shouldn’t)). That’s really just a matter of semantics. The Cubs were willing to make an enormous offer, but, unless they went absolutely insane with an offer, they still weren’t going to get him.

You can call that the Cubs getting Sanchez’d again – and maybe they did – but that doesn’t mean the Cubs did anything wrong here. They targeted a guy they really wanted. They saved their ammo to get him (limited ammo that, given the state of the organization, they weren’t inclined to spend on any of the free agents who’ve already signed anyway). I’ve got to believe they were led to understand they had a real shot at him. Given the fact that, at the last moment, the Yankees came up to slightly exceed the Cubs’ offer, it appears obvious that the Yankees, for one, believed Tanaka would really consider going to the Cubs.

So, what’s the “story” of the Tanaka pursuit, as we contextualize it down the road and re-tell the story of the Cubs’ progress as an organization? Is it that tanking for several seasons kills your chances of signing star players, even when you’re willing to pay? I’m not so sure I buy that in this particular context, given Tanaka’s apparently particularized desire to go to the Yankees (and or desire to be on one of the coasts). And, hell, the Mariners got Robinson Cano, after all. If you spend the money, they will come.

Is the story that the Cubs couldn’t afford the one guy they targeted? Again, I’m not so sure it is, given that it doesn’t sound like the Cubs were going to be able to sign Tanaka absent one of those instant-regret kinds of contracts. By most accounts, the money was there to commit $150+ million to Tanaka, which has to be taken as a positive signal going forward. If the Cubs don’t sign any legitimate, big money free agents next offseason? Well, then this is the part of the Tanaka narrative we can revisit and consider anew. For now, it looks like money wasn’t so much of the issue as the “fit.” Tanaka is a person, you know. He has a say in this.

So … I don’t have much of an over-arching story to sum this all up. The Cubs don’t make moves – or, well, try to make moves – in a vacuum. Other teams want these players, too, and sometimes shit just happens.

I guess I’d call this a “To Be Continued” kind of thing. The Cubs weren’t aiming, with their offseason, to build a contender in 2014. That much is clear. Not getting Tanaka doesn’t really do any harm, therefore, to the 2014 team. Not getting him, however, does a great deal of harm to the possibility of being competitive in 2015, absent a series of moves made within the next 15 months to make up for that lost value (trades for near-term impact pieces, free agent signings, etc.). In theory, the Cubs should have the money and the prospect assets (together with, hopefully, a couple prospect breakouts) to turn the corner in 2015.

I hate that 2014 is being punted, but it became the right approach a long time ago for a variety of reasons. When I think about the Cubs missing out on Tanaka at this time next year, though, I want to think about how it all worked out in the end, because the organization still lined itself up for a competitive run, starting in 2015.

Then this entire Tanaka story, and the entire narrative we build around it over the coming weeks and months, becomes little more than something talked about in passing during meaningful September Cubs game in the years to come.

  • CubsFaninMS

    Tanaka is a perfect example of why The Plan isn’t “The Plan”. Clearly the front office has its characteristics regarding how it manages the team and the minor leagues, but they are often at the whim of either (1) factors outside of their control or; (2) a threshold or line to avoid crossing that makes a decision ill-advised. They have to smartly invest. Yes, at some point, there may be a time to go bananas and overspend for someone. Now is not the right time for that. If they would’ve strapped on a Soriano-esque contract with Tanaka in 2016 (or our perceived window of contention), it would’ve made more sense. Despite the fans’ disappointment (including my own), this was the right thing to do. Tanaka is a bus, not a Virgin space shuttle. There will be another one around the corner and it will be a better time to invest in such a player. I guess my main point here is that, although they may have a “playbook”, they cannot lay out a script on each step they will take to success. If they do so, it will hinder the rebuilding plan. They have to be opportunistic, depend on their scouting department, and bid strongly based on the confidence in the player they are bidding on.

    • ssckelley

      I say the Cubs going after 25 year old Tanaka fits “the plan” perfectly. It is these types of players the FO said they would be in on.

      • YourResidentJag

        And yet Jon is right. This has a 1990ish feel to it all over again. The second decade I’ll be experiencing this.

        • MattM

          I totally agree….

      • CubsFaninMS

        You are correct. Going after Tanaka fits into the plan perfectly and that is exactly what they did. The front office has beefed up their scouting department tremendously over the past two years. For now, I’ll trust that their scouts that went to Japan to estimate Tanaka’s worth and MLB potential didn’t see him as worth the risk at 7 years/$155 million. Their MLB scouts have been relatively (I could make an argument for removing the “relatively”) successful in the past few years with Schierholtz, Feldman, Maholm, Navarro, Gregg, Wood. It’s not my money so I would’ve been perfectly happy if we signed Tanaka at this rate. That being said, it’s not my money and I trust their scouts and business decision here. Yes, Tanaka was a special find. But so was Abreu, Dice-K, Iwakuma, Fukudome, Darvish. I still stick to my “bus” analogy. Opportunities will arise over the next few years. I believe it’s a smart idea to spend wisely now and overspend during our window of contention. No one knows how Tanaka will play out, but initial reports are that this is an overspend. I wish him luck coming over to the states. Hopefully he’s not an “extremist conservative”. lol We don’t want to see Cuomo shoe him out of town.

    • Brocktoon

      There will be another 25 year old starting pitcher who costs nothing but money just around the corner? Nobody in next year’s class is as attractive, and that’s before half of the top talents get extended by their current teams.

      ’16 has Miguel Cabrera who is hopefully blocked here, and David Price who will almost certainly have been traded and extended before he hits the market. Maybe we can sign Samardzija then after we’ve traded him away for prospects.

      • Luke

        This may be a case of perfect being the enemy of pretty darn good.

        Bailey, Masterson, Scherzer, and Shields would headline my list. I strongly doubt those guys are all going to get extended, and any one or two of them would look quite nice in a Cubs uniform.

        Sure, no one of them are as good as Tanaka (probably), but a division contending rotation can still be assembled by including some of those names.

        • Kyle

          I know this is just my prediction, but they’re not going to do it.

          They’re just not going to go out and get multiple guys to 5-7 year deals for big money that are around the age of 30 in the same offseason.

          They’ll be perfectly content to make a smaller signing, maybe even one Jackson-sized, and let the farm system percolate for another year.

          • Bill

            This is what ticks me off about the FO tanking seasons with a smile on their face. How many of those guys won’t get extended? The ones that don’t, how much will they cost in years/dollars?

            Anyone bet the cry from many fans on here will be, “why should the Cubs offer big $/yrs for a 30+ pitcher when the team sucks”. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Theo makes the team so bad he’s got fans actually happy they aren’t spending to get better. Don’t get Scherzer because we suck so bad it’s not worth the money. It’s incredible fans have let him (Ricketts) get away with this and then thank him for the great work he’s doing. Really? Sure, great job of improving the farm system but when are you going to work on the big league club. Do fans have to wait 7 years for the prospects to come up and give us a “core group of players” before Theo/Ricketts decide to actually spend money.

            It’s bizarro world.

          • YourResidentJag

            Another year? Try two….it won’t be until before the 2016 season that we’ll see a big FA signing.

  • salesguy

    The best thing the cubs can do to be competitive, is to end this rooftop fiasco. We are hamstrung as an organization, and this sideshow involving these vultures, that call themselves business owners, and their crooked in their pocket politician needs to be brought to a conclusion. We lost for one reason today, we tried to go toe to toe with a bigger organization, with deeper pockets, that didn’t flinch at offering a contract that won Tanaka, and truth be tod, probably could have gone higher. That’s a lousy way to fight, if we want to be a championship organization, we will either need to play hardball, or leave town. Myself, I look at this situation as a cautionary tale. Prices for impact talent are only going to go up, and unless we change something, we risk being consistently outmatched in fights like this. Think about this, they tore down Yankee stadium, and built a new one that is packed, year in and year out. So if we can do that, why stay in this dysfunctional situation?

  • spence-iz-a-cub

    I don’t understand how the SP will be good enough for 15’… Unless you’re banking on Edwin to bounce back (big time). and shark to still be there. And we woo some FA on hope… Just don’t see it. I’m sold on the lineup to come however

  • Diehardthefirst

    In fairness to Theo he still has 3 yrs left on contract signed Oct 2011

  • Mr Gonzo

    I wonder if Kenta Maeda will post next off-season? He looks intriguing:

    • Jason P

      Unfortunately, NPB stats only tell so much. Maeda’a stuff — about 90 mph on the fastball with no “out-pitch” — suggest he’s probably more “Suk Min Yoon” than “Masahiro Tanaka”.

      If Maeda ends up a #4 or #5 like many seem to think he is, then I think we could probably produce a similar quality pitcher from our farm system for much cheaper.

  • 70’s Cub

    Brett! I think this system sucks compared to the other professional sport leagues. In fact this system has finally made Wrigley Field-WGN-Roof Tops and Wrigleyville “Chicago” community financially obsolete Cub business partners. Yankees benefitted from this off season’s posting rule change as well as the timely Arod rulings. Yankees get three free agents from playoff teams plus top Foreign Arm and still counting. Brett can you or/any BN follower explain how these Cub business partners can help the Cubs compete? Secondly how does foreign players from places like Japan, Cuba get put in better financial positions as compared to players that are U.S.A citizens? These guys should get league min. for 3 years/3 arb.years plus initially go through some type of draft. Damn Shark-Price together don’t make what Tanaka is going to get.

  • 70’s Cub

    I’m venting and pissed at MLB! Sitting through a five year rebuild and watching good Cub loyal business partners become obsolete sucks.

  • cavemancubbie

    Salesguy nailed it. The Yankees tore down the ‘house Ruth built’ to build a new stadium with, I assume, better facilities. So much for nostalgia and history. Wrigley sits in a basically residential neighborhood, not conducive to a modern sports venue. Wrigley field is a loser not just by being old but being in a city that doesn’t give a damn for them, except as a cash cow. The stadium plays differently during the season, requiring two different teams. Day games take the toll of players during the dog days of summer. Player facilities are crap. I believe 100+ years without a WS win cannot all just be laid at the doorstep of ownership, management or a curse. I just don’t think Wrigley is a competitive venue for winning baseball. I grant you Wrigley is a pretty ball field with the brick (which maybe a player hazard) and ivy but that can be duplicated in another venue. I personally would be glad to donate 100 bucks to Rickett’s to get out of Dodge!

    • willis

      I agree here. Screw Wrigley Field. Its only housed losers since I’ve been around and for damn near 65 years before that. I highly doubt Ricketts has the balls to do what you and others suggest but it would be welcomed. Atlanta JUST built a stadium in 1996 for the olympics, and they are building another one on the tax payers dime in a wonderful part of the metro area. Are we to believe that the Cubs can’t build a state of the art stadium to get out of a shit hole that has been around for 100 years?

      Winning>>>>Nostalgia and memories. If this Wrigley renovation/expected revenues are being held up…still? Yeah, get the hell out of there.

      • 26.2CubsFan

        Worked OK for Boston didn’t it? In a neighborhood. Old stadium. Only housed losers for 80+ years. And then boom, consistently competitive and multiple world series. And oh btw, they had the same guy running the team as the Cubs currently do. Curious.

        • cavemancubbie

          Both Yankee Stadium and Fenway are in not what you would call residential neighborhoods. The neighbors didn’t care about night games. Yankee stadium has a parking lot and situated in a sports complex. Fenway is mostly commercial and education. Certainly the politics are different. Wrigleyville needs to be condemned, followed by a wrecking ball !!!

  • Spoda17

    I posted this this morning, but I am not too sad about this… Also, the Yankees will have to pay Arod for three more years after this year, so they are going to have crazy finances for the next four years no matter what..

    As for the rooftop assholes… I agree. I am actually at the point to say thanks Wrigley for the memories… but I am ready to move on.

  • frankhutch

    I’m glad we didn’t pay that much money for tanaka but I really have a hard time finding a team that is gonna be worse than the cubs next year. It’s gonna be historically bad. They have the worst everyday lineup in baseball. 110 to 115 loses doesn’t seem like a reach

    • Blackhawks1963

      100 losses seems probable. I’m still supportive of Theo. He does know what he is doing.

  • Blackhawks1963

    It’s time to dump Wrigley Field and move on. It’s been a crumbling den of losing and misery since 1945. Move to Arlington Park and tell Mayor Emmanuel and the rooftops to pound sand up their asses.

    • willis

      That would be awesome if he would nut up and do it. Instead they are stuck in renovation purgatory and it’s holding back the second front of the rebuild.

  • hawkboy64

    Brett I’d agree with most of yr take on this but whatever happened to Tom ricketts and theo Epsteins comments that every season Is precious and an oppertuniy to win. and It would be nice to see the cubs actually get a big fa signing done instead of always bring played by players who never wanted to bd here .

  • Bilbo161

    The Cubs just red to force the rooftops to capitulate by actually starting to work on alternate facility plans. If the Cubs were to make real plans to leave and say that Wrigley would only be used for a few games a year for nostalgia’s sake, and mean it, the rooftops would just collapse and go along. Lets face it. They can’t afford to have the Cubs leave.

  • waffle

    I would like to know the real deal on the finances. Where they stand what are the challenges, etc. etc. Everyone on this board knows and understands that the cubbies should be one of the higher revenue producing teams in the league. To NOT put a good product out there is hurtful and probably costs them money. If the cubbies were competitive my guess is that they would pull in another .5 million fans or so with all of the added revenue. Say $100 for each one of those heads? 50 million. And would put them in a better position for their negotiations on the new TV deal.

    Something is gumming the works methinks.

  • Rooster

    Please Rickett’s for crying out loud…get the hell outta WRIGLEYVILLE! Take the team and run. What good are the rooftops if there’s no baseball to watch? This is just plain greed and we’re the ones paying the price. I’m done with the Cubs, rooftops, drama, and Wrigley. DONE!

  • TanakaWillBeACub

    he will be a cub when I get mlb 14 the show I will be trading for him before I start my franchise :)

    • Voice of Reason

      Hey tanakawillbeacub:

      Maybe you should change your name to clueless?

      • Luke


        We also have a JulioZueleta lurking around here. Should he change his name as well?

        Usernames are like a miniature museum of Cub history. The story of the franchise, as covered by Bleacher Nation, is told in part by the chosen user names. That’s part of the charm of the place.

        Besides, when Tanaka opts out in four years he may very well be one of the best pitchers on the market, and if he is the Cubs will very likely pursue him. He may yet spend part of his prime pitching for the Cubs.

        • Evolution

          There you go…

          Tanakawillbeacub should stay with the name…wear it with pride. The reason we root for trades, signings, front office activity, or any minutiae…is that it’s all a part of hope.

          Being positive isn’t a crime. Hoping for that next great move is emblematic of everything we’re waiting for…that thing that puts over the edge.

          Those who laid back and lobbed grenades…pretending they knew the inside mind of the process…and now gloat with “I told you so” never really knew better than any of us. Nor will they the next time…

          I’ll take hope every time…boom or bust.

  • jp3

    I’m sure he did feel the pull of the Yankees but someone in our FO should have locked Tanaka in a room with a VHS/TV combo and made him watch Rookie of the Year. He’d have felt the pull of Gary Busy

  • brainiac

    this post is a little bit meandering compared to your usual economy writing style.

    it’s because you’re looking for a middle of the road narrative to replace the obvious one: “the plan” is quickly becoming an Econ101 case example of institutional mismanagement.

    if you purposefully devalue the integrity of your organization, its health and brand suffer.

    • brainiac

      hah, i bet this is a two bourbon night for Brett. B)

      • Professional High A

        2 seems more than reasonable.

        • brainiac

          i’d give Brett 5 and a pan pizza tonight, easy

          • Brett

            Heaven …

    • Brett

      To the extent it’s meandering, that probably has something to do with the fact that it’s 1500 words attempting to sum up weeks of build-up, project years of future discussions, and do so within hours of the news.

      It’s not because of that other stuff. I usually drive in the middle of the road.

      • hansman

        That sounds dangerous.

        Fitting for “Ace” I suppose.

    • Luke

      ““the plan” is quickly becoming an Econ101 case example of institutional mismanagement.”

      I’d be curious to see an Econ 101 level paper making that case.

      Toss it up in the Message Boards when you get it written.

      • MattM

        So now I just think that Epstien thinks Cubs fans are stupid. Here is Epstien’s latest doozy to Carrie Muskrat!

        “This season starting, we don’t show up in Spring Training saying, ‘Hey, let’s get ready for 2000 whatever year down the road,'” Epstein said. “We’re trying to compete and win as many games as we can in 2014. We want to show improvement, and we’d love to show a lot of improvement. There’s room for improvement.”

        Really Theo? I guess its easy to improve on 96 losses. The funny is that he’s now saying they don’t subscribe to a year when he sold everyone on a specific year when he came in. It must be nice to continually change your business plan! Very interesting!

        • Luke

          It’s Muskat, not Muskrat.

          • MattM

            I like Muskrat better….

            • CubsFaninMS

              …but if you’ve lurked around the Cubs blog/comment sections long enough you’d learn that it’s as common is calling a guy named Richard “Dick” and then chuckling violently.

        • mjhurdle

          hmmm, interesting coincidence that MattM starts posting again, and now Theo is thinking that all Cub fans are stupid.
          Very Interesting!

          • MattM

            Oh he put a smiley face after it so I guess according to the rules it’s a joke making it ok.

            That sounds mighty douche like. :) Notice the smiley face!

            • mjhurdle

              it was a light-hearted joke. In all serious, i don’t think it is a coincidence.

          • hansman

            Nah…He just saw your avatar.

            • mjhurdle

              i take umbrage sir.

              • MattM


    • Voice of Reason


      Jesus…. the cubs missed out on the signing of a Japanese pitcher who nobody knew about a year ago and now the entire rebuild is done, finished, over with.

      Hell we just learned a month ago that he was going to be available.

      Are you diehard in disguise?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Time for a new thread Brett- this Tanaka story has become never ending. More ink on this kid than on any other topic since the hiring of Theo.

  • Ivy Walls

    Don’t get me wrong, I am fixated on seeing the Cubs suddenly turn it around and be relevant again at the top of the standings. But I am also focused on seeing finally the Cubs become a stalwart franchise like the Biggee’s including the NYY, StL, Bos, LAD, SF, Phila, Det, except for StL all big mega market teams.

    Okay, that said forcing the NYY to spend big bucks again and again will pay dividends later as to wearing down this behemoth of a franchise. They spent way too much on Girardi and now three FA’s to maintain a pretender status as their pipeline fads and the crunch of a luxury tax will eventually hurt. Though MLB will have to finally come to terms and put in a hard ceiling as to a salary cap.

    I hope they smart and spend a little and sign another pitcher that costs them a 2nd round. I think that is important. Getting a Hammel or Malholm is just pushing around the furniture. But then again that might be what is all they can do right now.

  • Fastball

    I say good for the Yankees. They got the player and we didn’t. This one isn’t hard to get over because I never had my heart set on Tanaka. I think the big mistake was comments such as we won’t be outbid. That comment alone was doom for the Cubs. Like the Yankees and Dodgers or any other team with money are scared to compete with the Cubs. Cubs still don’t win and that has to stop but it won’t in 2014. One way to not get relabeled with the same label is too not engage in the charade of being Sanchez’d. You keep being the one holding the dirty end of the stick nobody is going to take you seriously. Except for agents trying to get the most for their client on a competitive team. Two offseasons in a row our FO got played by a smart agent. Boras was right about the Cubs. You don’t like a major market team pretty soon you aren’t a major market team. Cubs might be in the 3rd largest city but they are not a major player Major League Baseball. Ricketts should just stop with all the renovation bullshit. Put up a big jumbo torn in LF. He isn’t blocking the view of a bar over there. Then just tell the city he is going to keep playing the dump called Wrigley until its condemned or falls down. If I was him I would find a way to tunnel under the stadium and put I the player facilities he needs and some offices or whatever. I would then lower ticket prices equal to that of those in Iowa. City of Chicago and thet Tunney lose a shitload of tax revenue. Wrigley will be sold out. Beer sales go through the roof. Nobody notices who the hell even plays for the Cubs until we have some superstar talent actually show up and deliver. Stop all this nonsense and stop jerking us fans around with all this bullshit you got going on. If it was a relationship with this much drama all the time there would a divorce or somebody would be rolling down the driveway to the curb with a cab waiting for them. Just tired of all this nonsense. So keep building the system and stay away from all this FA stuff. Make trades or draft and unless some agent like Boras eventually wants one of his players on the Cubs we just say talk to the hand.

  • Fastball

    You won’t slow any of these organizations into financial woes by driving up the cost of a player a year and $X million dollars. These owners have so much money they fart thru silk. Look at the Yankees this deal ain’t shit to them. This kind of deal never has been even a speed bump in their business plan. They could spend $250MM a year on payroll and not even blink. They sure as hell are not scared of the Cubs FO or Tom Ricketts. Or any other for that matter. Not being mean but that’s reality.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Tanaka insists on Ato Hitotsu being played over loud speaker when he pitches- that ought to go over well in the Bronx

  • Jorbert Solmora

    Wow, haven’t had this much traffic in a day since the blogathon!

  • Fastball

    That’s funny

  • 26.2CubsFan

    I’m amused to see all of this TOM MUV TEH TEAM ALREADY comments.

    They’re the CHICAGO Cubs. The team belongs in Chicago, not in some strip-mall laden, cookie cutter suburb. Suburbs are for minor league clubs. If you want parking, go to the mall. If you want to go to a baseball game, take the damned train. The Yankees do just fine with their baseball stadium in the middle of an urban neighborhood. So do the Red Sox. Hell, so do the Cardinals, and they don’t even SIGN ALL TEH PLAYRZ!

    It’s not complicated – Theo and Ricketts are trying to follow the same model Boston did. The condition of the team is way worse than that of the Red Sox when Theo took over, and the political process of getting the stadium approval is slower. That doesn’t mean it can’t work. It means it’s going to take more time. The Red Sox didn’t have to move to the suburbs to be consistently competitive. Neither did the Yankees. In fact, name 1 team that has moved from an urban center to a suburb in the last 30 years and had success. Anyone? In fact, the trend has been to move INTO city centers, like SF moving from Candlestick to their park on the water and in the city. Oh yeah, they won a world series too.

    Seriously, get over your MUV TEH TEAM!!! bs. It’s not going to happen, Ricketts doesn’t want it to happen, and it’s not even a proven model for success.

  • 70’s Cub

    The Cubs should just play Astro’s for the next two years and stock up on cheap young talent. F these big time agents, whatever happened to the concept of qualifying offers before dragging your “fan base the customer” through this bullshit. Please don’t play Henry and sign old washed up crap, just find young kids and hold them in the mirrors so they can’t play BS games with their agents until they reach age thirty.

  • gcheezpuff

    At some point over the life of this contract I hope the Cubs not only make if to the World Series but face the Yankees and win. Right now it might be a pipe dream, but after the biggest draught in sports, I don’t want to just win a WS, I want to do it against the Yankees.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Yankees won WS in 77 and 78 due in part to good pitching including by Dick “Dirt” Tidrow– Tanaka has steep road to climb to be better than dirt.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo may be looking for way to pacify fans with surprise signing — Grady Sizemore?

    • Luke

      Didn’t he just sign a contract?

      • Diehardthefirst

        Yep- Boston a couple hours ago- would’ve been interesting comeback story