masahiro tanakaAt the end of an exhausting process, Masahiro Tanaka elected to sign with the New York Yankees on a seven-year, $155 million deal (with an opt-out after four years, and a no-trade clause). The Cubs are believed to have been the runners up for Tanaka.

You can understand my surprise, then, to see Patrick Mooney and Gordon Wittenmyer reporting with confidence that the Cubs’ final offer to Tanaka was a mere six years and $120 million (with no opt-out, and, presumably, no no-trade clause). With multiple reports that the Yankees and Cubs, together with the Dodgers, were the finalists for Tanaka, and reports out of LA that the Dodgers were outbid by the Yankees and Cubs by “a decent amount,” it would seem that the Cubs really were the number two bidder for Tanaka, behind the Yankees. (Dave Kaplan has reported as much, as well.)

So, here’s where I’m having trouble: if the Cubs were the runner-up for Tanaka, but bid only six-years, $120 million (without an opt-out and without a no-trade clause) … why did the Yankees blow that offer away with an additional year, an additional $35 million, and additional (and very valuable) clauses?

Do the Yankees hate money?

Did Tanaka hate New York so much that they simply had to outspend the field by such a wide margin to get Tanaka to choke down his hatred for the Yankees and sign on?

See where I’m going with this? I’m really struggling to reconcile these things.

I believe that Mooney and Wittenmyer have sources that say the Cubs’ final (official) offer was six-years and $120 million, and I don’t necessarily doubt those sources. But unless the Yankees received the message that there was a team pushing them to up the offer to the range in which it landed – particularly when considering that Tanaka’s clear desire was to sign with the Yankees – they had no reason to climb as high as they did. Is is possible that the Cubs’ final offer was just $120 million, but they let agent Casey Close know that their ceiling was actually higher than that (if they really felt like Tanaka would agree)? That would square with reports from Dave Kaplan, Bruce Levine, and Jesse Rogers, among others, in advance of Tanaka’s signing, which implied (or outright said) that the Cubs were willing to go much higher than $120 million over six years.

That’s just about the only way to explain the Yankees’ over-the-top offer. Someone had to be pushing them. And if it wasn’t the Dodgers, and if the Dodgers and Cubs were the next two bidders … well, it had to be the Cubs. And six-years, $120 million from the Cubs doesn’t push the Yankees to a seven-year, $155 million deal (with an opt-out after four years, and a no-trade clause).

So, if I’m trying to wrap my head around why the Yankees did what they did, and if I’m trying to square the seemingly conflicting reports (without saying that anyone is flatly wrong – because what do I know?), the most reasonable conclusions are:

  • The Cubs’ final offer for Tanaka was six years and $120 million. That was probably the second highest official offer that Tanaka received, and it is far lower than the Yankees’ deal or the rumored Cubs offers in the run-up to the decision. This is fairly disappointing. However …
  • The Cubs likely let Tanaka’s agent know that they would be willing to come up from that offer if it meant they could get Tanaka, understanding all the while that they would probably have to blow the Yankees away to actually get Tanaka (something they were unwilling to do, given the final contract). Tanaka’s agent likely used this information to drive up the price on the Yankees. That’s why the Yankees’ final deal appears so gratuitous.

Of course, it’s possible that Tanaka’s agent simply played the Yankees, who are only now learning that they weren’t being pushed nearly as much as they thought. Perhaps the media reports that had the Cubs willing to go much higher were enough to do the trick. I’d like to think the Yankees would be savvier than that, but, again, what do I know?

I recognize there is a natural instinct in a Cubs fan to intellectually wrangle an explanation that makes the Cubs look better than a mere cheap team with no money to spend on top talent. But I don’t think I’m doing those kinds of mental summersaults this one. The above explanation, to me, is the most likely one for how everything has played out.

We may never know the whole story. But I’ve already written just about everything I wanted to say about Tanaka, anyway. And now I just added another 800 words. Grumble.

  • Jim

    Tanaka’s agent gets a gold star for this one.

  • Jon

    Pretty sad if 6-120 was the Cubs best offer. oh, well, the prospect of the signing kept some heat off them at the convention.

    • JB88

      Sad? Really?

      I can think of a few adjectives I’d use before “sad”, offering a guy who has never played in the United States nearly $40M more than the next highest Japanese player (Darvish $111M after posting and contract) ever received.

      • Jon

        If Darvish could be a FA again, like today, he would get close to Kershaw money. So that contract shouldn’t necessarily be a point of reference.

        • mjhurdle

          It isn’t a bad point of reference, if you view it from when Darvish signed.
          Right now, it looks silly, but it looks silly because Darvish has 2 years of dominating MLB hitters to back up his scouting reports. If Darvish had been a FA before, there is no way he gets Kershaw money.
          Darvish cost a team 6 years/111 million.
          Tanaka is unanimously viewed as being at least a notch below Darvish.
          Factor in the rising pitching prices and the fact that Tanaka is a more traditional FA, and you might expect that Tanaka gets close to or slightly over Darvish money.
          6/120 may not have been the best offer, but it is far from ‘sad’.

          • MattM

            Guys use common sense! Tanaka got more money because the teams could bid against each other and didn’t have a blind bid system. Even though Darvish could only talk to one team the total contract came out to over 100 million dollars. What would have happened with a 20 mil bid and the ability to talk to all teams!

            Use some common sense!

    • gocatsgo2003

      It’s pretty easy to sit on a message board and lambast people for not committing to spend $20MM AAV ($23.3MM if you spread out the cost of the posting fee) for the next six years, isn’t it?

      • gocatsgo2003

        Sorry… “FOR” committing…

      • Brocktoon

        Apparently not as easy as defending a billionaire pocketing the money for himself

  • Boogens

    Thanks for the final wrap-up, Brett. It’s time for us to move on and forget about Tanaka.

    • mr. mac

      Totally agree! We should stop looking back so much and start looking forward. It’s an illness the way we compound one bad deal or season with 100+ years of sorrow or whatever. It’s quite exhausting.

      • Senor Cub

        6yrs $120M for a non-proven sounds like a great offer from the Cubs. Glad the NYY had to go that high. They are not contenders even with Tanaka on their roster…that is a team with way too many holes to fill..They will need to spend another $300M this off-season to be competitive in my opinion.

        • Boogens

          Agreed. We just have to hope that overspending by teams like the Yankees and Dodgers really does catch up with them. In a case like the Yankees it appears that they’re really putting themselves in a bind with the luxury tax and the lack of a productive farm system that can provide cost effective talent. Somewhere along the road it has to crash down on them.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Huh, that’s interesting. Not knowing in the least bit how these negotiations actually work, I’d guess that you’re right about the Cubs willingness to go higher, pushing New York to basically outbid themselves. They were desperate to get him, and it showed.

    Casey Close earned his $$ on this one! Talk about a good month for his agency!

  • mdavis

    if the opt-out was part of a hold up im glad they stuck to their guns. i actually hate those clauses. but hey, 7 top 100 prospects and 2 pitchers in them!

  • BlackJeep
    • BlameHendry

      Maybe the insane taxes are the reason the Yanks had to offer so much more than the Cubs? The article claims Tanaka would get to keep $20M more of his earnings if he had taken that same contract in Chicago, and the Yanks offer was $35M more of guaranteed money (despite still being a lower annual average income than he could get in Chicago).

    • brainiac

      probably just more evidence that breitbart are completely fabricating numbers…again…to try to eliminate social welfare programs. it’s like reading the national enquirer astrology section to prognosticate how your work day will go.

      • Pat

        I don’t get this comment at all. Tax rates are public knowledge. All it requires is a calculator to figure out how much Tanaka will pay in taxes. I’m sure you’re trying to make some sort of political point – but it would be better if you didn’t pick a cause where you can so easily be proven wrong.

        • Brett

          Calculating multistate taxes for people who earn their income in so many different states is actually fairly tricky, for what it’s worth. As to the rest, I have no comment.

          • Diehardthefirst

            Nexus, domicile, doing business, and significant contacts are some of the guide posts or factors used by the courts

          • MichiganGoat

            Yeah I had one year of three states and on top of city, county and other for each state. It was stupidly complicated and I was barely making any money. The CPA for athletes is a busy but person and well paid.

    • gocatsgo2003

      You think it would have been any better in Chicago?

  • Edwin

    Seems fair. The Cubs may have offered 6/120, while letting the agent know they were willing to go higher. The Yankees may have decided to just go big with their offer, since it’s likely that’s where negotiations would have landed anyways, and it saves the time (and maybe the risk) that the Cubs come back with an offer higher than 6/120 and possibly push the Yankees even higher.

    • Brett

      Yeah – something like Close saying to Yanks, “Look, guys, the Cubs are willing to top your current offer; but if you come up to 7/$155M with the opt-out, he’ll sign with you right now. If you don’t, we’re going back to the Cubs to see what happens.”

      • Coop

        During the exhausting run-up to the decision, I read some articles on Casey Close – sounds like he is highly respected by GMs in baseball. Known as a pretty straight shooter. So my guess is that you are right, Brett. I think he told the Yankees the official offer to beat, but also told them that there was an unofficial offer to go higher. I do not believe it was an instance of an agent purely playing one team off another. It really sounds like that is the opposite of Close’s reputation.

  • Rizzo44

    Well let the talk for Shark being traded start again. I’m hoping the Dbacks, Bucos, Jays, or the O’s get involved. We need young pitching. 2014 will be a better year than most fans think. RR is going to show some people some things as the new manager.

    • Coop

      Yes – these are the 4 teams I hope end up battling it out if there is a trade for Shark. Maybe less so the DBacks at this point (unless, Bradley, obviously).

  • BlameHendry

    I think that’s a believable guess about what actually happened, but the only thing I’m hung up on is that Assman22 (who’s usually pretty damn reliable) heard the Cubs offered 6Y/125M even BEFORE they put in their Best-And-Final-Offer, and I can’t think of why their BAFO would be lower than their previous offer, because that would have ruled them out pretty quick and they were in it all the way til the end. Idk, I don’t really care that much about what the Cubs offered. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough, and that’s all I care about.

  • ChicagoJoe

    Unfortunately, I think this lends credence to Blackhawks POV all along that there was 0% chance he was coming to the Cubs.

    If they never officially made a higher offer, sounds like the FO got the feeling after the initial round of meetings from Close that NYY was his client’s preferred destination and it was going to take a ridiculous contract to get Tanaka past that. At that point, it was just a matter of Close doing whatever it took to get his client the most. Kudos to him.

    If you are the FO, you have nothing to lose at that point from allowing Close to drive up the cost by using you and respectfull declining comment in the media to keep everyone guessing. It sucks that we had no chance, but it has been said by Brett before. This is not the normal FA case. The NYY have a decided advantage with their allure over an international FA that other clubs just do not have. I don’t think that guys like Masterson, Bailey, Gillardo, etc. would have the same mindset coming into FA next year. It is not every American kids dream to play for the NYY. Not saying it is every int’l players dream either, but I think it is more likely to be the case internationally than stateside.

    • Coop

      I disagree – I think it shows there was a really solid chance he could have ended up here – it took the Yankees making a huge over the top investment to secure him. Yes, maybe Tanaka really did strongly prefer the two big money coast teams, but in the end he gave serious consideration to the Cubs.

      • woody

        Are you kidding me? You still believe that. The cubs were never in it period. Blackhawks was right after all. The way things stand now our own guy (Samardzija) is looking to fly the coop. I’m 100% behind the rebuild as it applies to international FA’s and restocking the minor league system, but the operations on the major league level are a cluster f##k. Especially the business operations. Soon Brett will have to have an obsessive law suit watch to keep his readers informed. Mooney had a nice article at CSN Chicago dealing with the question asked at the convention whick was, why can’t we improve the minor leagues and big league club at the same time? We are the third most profitable team in MLB and spend less money than any team in our division where we are the only big market team.

        • Jon

          Please don’t give that idiot any credit. Much like the RR hire, he took one of the more likely scenario’s and parroted it as fact.

          You know what they say about a broken clock….

        • mjhurdle

          saying that the Yankees were the most likely spot (which is what pretty much everyone said) is not the same as saying that there was 0% chance he would go somewhere else.
          Obviously, the Yankees didn’t agree with Blackhawks. They felt that there was enough of a chance that Tanaka would go somewhere else that they gave him a huge contract.

        • Coop

          And I will add that yes, I do believe the Cubs actually made a real push to get Tanaka. I think they were legitimately in the running. But I think there were still limits to how far the were willing or able to go with an offer. I would have been uncomfortable, but still a little happy, with the final offer with which the Yankees won. Anything more than that would have made me very uncomfortable. But I still wish we had Tanaka…

          But the bottom line is, in my opinion, this demonstrated that the Cubs really will go after free agents that they identify as fitting their model for the rebuild. As others have said, I would have liked to see some of the recent FA signings with the Cubs, but I haven’t been impressed by the deals these guys got, so am not entirely disappointed to see the Cubs sit out. I would rather be patient than be saddled with contracts we regret in 3 or 4 years.

      • Coop

        Yes, I do believe it. My opinion is that Theo has been pretty up front about the state of things with the organization. Yes, he has failed to follow through on the every season is sacred concept, in terms of restocking the major league roster. But I also think this is a result of no identified opportunities to do so, rather than the alternate narrative that many seem to be suggesting – that he misled the fanbase. Nor do I think Theo and Jed are incompetent. They have well established track records of success. They are smart baseball people. I think they have simply chosen to be more patient with the rebuild than we fans would prefer. Yes, I am sick of supporting a losing team. I want a better major league product. But I also want to see sustained success. I don’t want a one-hit wonder, which is what the 2003 and 2008 seasons ended up amounting to. I was thrilled during those years, but then pretty heartbroken by the playoff results and then further disappointed with the follow up seasons. I want us to have a long run of good times like Boston and St. Louis have experienced. And as much as it sucks in the short term, I am willing to be further patient.

        I totally get why many are not feeling the patience. And I get why many are losing faith (have already lost faith) in the front office. That doesn’t make either side of the fan base better or worse than the other. We are all here because we love the Cubs. We just have different opinions on how things are going. I enjoy life more when I remain optimistic. But I totally get why people are adopting a pessimistic view.

        • scorecardpaul

          Coop, nice post! I think for the most part we are all in agreement. We are all Cub fans, and we all want a winning team to follow. Some people are just not as patient. I think the Cubs are simply in such a hole that they can be improved by tanking. I think tanking is part of the plan. I am willing to wait. I want a world series and then some more. If it requires tanking for 3 more years I am still good with that. I don’t know why we all have to be so bitter. We all want the same thing. What we were doing before never worked, so lets give these guys a chance. Many Cub fans have lived their entire life hoping for a world series, only to be let down. We need to try something different. If truth be told, I am kinda pissed that Houston is doing a better job than us at getting draft picks and pool money.

          • Brocktoon

            We don’t want to try now because we might wind up not in he playoffs every year. Instead let’s not be in the playoffs for 7 consecutive years

            • Coop

              I want to win the World Series, not simply be in the playoffs…

              Way to oversimplify and miss the point.

              • Jon

                Baseball is the one sport where all you have to do is get “in” and wacky random stuff can happen, like winning the world series.

                see the 2006 Cardinals.

                • Coop

                  Yes, crazy things can happen. But I doubt that you are saying constructing a roster that finishes about .500 is adequate. Just because everything might go your way in one magical run, doesn’t mean that is a good strategy to plan for. I really want sustained success that will result in legitimate contention for the World Series over an extended period. And that is actually what the Cardinals were in the midst of in their magical season – sure, they had a pretty down year and got lucky that the NL Central sucked, then they got hot in the playoffs – but they also were annually in contention as a top team in baseball.

                  • Brocktoon

                    How on Earth were the Cardinals able to sustain success? They haven’t had a 5 year run of being terrible in ages.

                    • D-Rock

                      Very, very smart scouting and drafting. Not getting locked into albatross contracts.

  • itzscott

    This is an example of don’t believe everything you read.

    So many rumors going around before Tanaka signed that it became obvious nobody knew what they were talking about….

    The same seems to apply after after Tanaka signed.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That’s not true at all. Things like this are Grimmsian: as the gossip spreads, the details get more and more distorted. For example, it was widely reported that the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, ChiSox and Astros were heavy bidders, while the Mariners and Angels (despite assumptions to the contrary) basically sat out. This turned out to be correct. Now, a lot of people insisted that the M’s and Angels *should* be bidders, and this turned into *are* bidders. (The M’s sitting out is a bit perplexing: adding Cano is a big boost, but it probably is not enough to make them competitive; adding another good starter might have done so.)

      It was reported that the Cubs and/or Dodgers were hanging close to the Yankees. This probably was not true. (The national media is focused on why the Dodgers didn’t beat the Yanks, not why the Cubs didn’t!) However, someone seems to have convinced the Yankees that it was true. (Hint: initials are C.C.)

  • danmaurer

    It was blind bidding, none of the teams had any idea what the other teams were bidding. The Yankees knew that the Cubs were going to go big to get him and ALL of the rumors had pegged a 6year/120m contract as the ceiling so they went way above to ensure they got their guy. They must have assumed that the Cubs were reading the same reports and assumed the Cubs would also beat that contract, so the 7 year/155 Million was the logical thing (assuming money is no issue, which lets be honest, it never is with the Yankees.)

    Unfortunately I agree with ChicagoJoe, no Japanese culture to speak of in Chicago, and at least the Yanks have Kuroda on the roster to befriend a guy that is far from home (plus an enormous contract).

    • Jon

      Not disagreeing that “blind bidding” occurred, but is that kosher what his agent did? If the Cubs were never really going to come close to the Yankees offer but he made the Yankees believe they were, and Cashman finds out, as GMs talk, doesn’t that hurt the agent’s credibility in future negotiations?

    • Brett

      Only one report suggested it was a true blind bid, and no one really seemed to believe that. Further, there were subsequent reports that the Yankees raised their offer on Tuesday (in response to a request/comment/something from the agent) to get the deal done. In a blind bidding system, that wouldn’t make any sense.

  • CubFan Paul

    Reading between the lines, Cashman didn’t want to spend that much (& ruin his 3 year plan to get under $189M) and got overruled by hank/hal.

    If not for that Tanaka would be a Cub.

  • woody

    That’s great to see the yankees get played. But what about all of the bunk about we are all in, or we won’t be out bid? Are these writers just making this stuff up or was the FO actually leaking it? Needless to say we only matched the D-backs offer. Sounds to me like they weren’t that serious about getting him. So after months of speculation we find out it was reaally a lot of hot air.

    • Jon

      The Yankees didn’t get played, the Cubs, and to be more specific, Cub fans got played.

      • ChicagoJoe

        If he never wanted to come here, how did Cubs fans get played?

        FO said they wanted this guy, would make a strong offer and they did.

        At the end of the day, if we had given him $165/7 w/ opt out and no trade, this board would be lit up w/ comments about how that deal is ridiculous and potentially crippling.

        And even then, would it have been enough if NYY was always the preferred destination? If Hank/Hal were driving that bus, all Close has to say is, if the money is equal, he will come. They increase the offer and its a done deal.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          From Tanaka’s perspective (and his agent’s), it would have been foolish to just tell a team: “I won’t play for you.” The more teams bidding on his services, the higher his final contract would be.

          Moreover, players need to keep options open. It’s no different from applying to colleges: you probably had some “safety” applications just in case your “aim high” applications all got rejected. What if the Yanks really had needed to pinch pennies? What if they were just not all that wowed by him? It didn’t turn out that way: but Tanaka and his agent could not assume that.

          • ChicagoJoe

            You are right. It is certainly more nuanced.

            But at the end of the day, regardless of negotiation tactics, I think all of the parties are smart enough to make apt conclusions.

            Tanaka/Close: the Yankees will pay me whatever.

            Cubs: He doesn’t love us, the Yankees will pay him something ridic and he wants to go to NYY.

            Yankees: If we pay him, he will come. Do we pay him? Sure, screw it, were the NYY.

      • JB88

        I don’t think you understand what “played” means.

        Close and Tanaka never, not once, said in the media that: (a) we prefer the Cubs; (b) the Cubs have made the biggest offer; or (c) we are signing with the Cubs. To suggest that the Cubs’ fans were played is assinine. To suggest that somehow the Cubs FO or ownership played the fans is equally assinine because they never made any of the above representations either.

        • Jon

          If the Cubs were primarily used to “drive” up offer, ala the Anibal Sanchez situation, that is getting played.

          Certainly the Yankees were not played. They got there guy. Do you think they care about an extra 30 million over 7 years? That’s tip jar money to them.

          • Jon

            *their guy.

            • Xruben31

              I don’t believe that too be true. He was gonna sign with the Cubs but then he gave the Tigers a chance to outbid them.

              • Jon

                It’s like hooking up with a girl that just got out of a relationship, and she tells you she’s done with him, and she’s in to you,you go on some dates, have a nice time… etc, etc…but then for whatever reason, she goes and gets back together with her ex.

                The Cubs are the “nice guys”

                • JB88

                  No, it is not like that at all.

                  The more apt analogy is that you are bidding for a house and someone else is also bidding for the same house. You have a contingency on your offer—sale of your house being the contingency—and the other guy is offering cash, albeit less cash. The owner comes back to you says raise your offer to X and we have a deal and you lose the house.

                  You didn’t get “played”; you were part of a three-party negotiation and lost the negotiation.

                  I bet if you privately asked every person in the Cubs FO and ownership if they think they “got played” and they’d look at you like you had three horns growing out of your head.

                  • TWC

                    Yeah, but that doesn’t work with Jon’s narrative that the Cubs FO is nothing more than a pile of suck.

                    • Jon

                      They don’t really need my narrative on that..the results on the field speaks for itself.

          • JB88

            Even assuming that this qualifies as “getting played,” how precisely does what you describe constitute Cubs fans, specifically, getting played?

            • mjhurdle

              he has to include ‘Cub fans’ because it is better bait.
              If he just said the Cubs got played, he may get a few bites, but by including the fans, he makes it slightly more personal. This usually results in more bites.

            • notcubbiewubbie

              some people aka jon always take the opposite approach no matter what we say. i say black you say white i think that’s how the song goes.i am one cub fan that is glad we didn’t overbid for an unproven that’s right unproven japanese pitcher.if this was kershaw or verlander etc. that would be a different seems some cub fans will always open up a can of bitcheroni no matter what theo and jed would do. NOUGH SAID OUTTA HERE!!

  • http://BN Sacko

    This really isn’t a setback because we still have what we did before all this.
    The setback will be; Our ability to sign Shark to a long term deal as he will perceive this as a setback and have little this sign with a losing team.
    This could hold true to other FA.
    If our farm system doesn’t come through at the ML level we are really screwed.

    • Voice of Reason


      Put a $126 million dollar contract in front of shark. $18 million a year over 7 years. What do you think he will do?

      If the cubs would have offered cano exactly what he wanted which was $300 over 10 years do you think he would have signed it?

      The same with Garza and choo.

      You’re statement is just wrong.

      • http://BN Sacko

        Shark has not signed a long term this time..and to sign with a losing team does not have incentive.
        Where is that wrong. It’s more right then your hypothetical deal to get him.

  • Voice of Reason

    The Yankees should have passed on Tanaka and signed Garza for $13.

    Then the balance of $12 million that was going for Tanaka could have been used for yet another free agent.

  • FFP

    Bret, is always the source- erer
    I’m going to add another guess (my pure speculation) as to why these competing offers seem so far apart. Possibly these numerical summaries (especially ours) don’t include perks; luxury housing, transportation from housing to airport, transportation to and from Japan in season, a new theme song to be sung in the friendly confines by Mrs. Tanaka every nationally televised home game, a record deal for Mrs. Tanaka–How can one put a dollar sign on stuff like that?

    • Brett

      Good point.

      • FFP

        Thank you, Brett

        Oh, wise one, if only there was an edit button in your crystal sphere.

        • Coop

          I actually like that there is no edit button. If such a button existed, there would be even greater revisionist history going on around here…

          • TWC

            ::waves hand::

            These are not the bullshit meatball comments you’re looking for.

            • Coop


              • FFP



                • Coop


                  Probably not necessary to say so, but this was no shot at you…

    • brainiac

      honestly, as hard as i can be on the FO, and they deserve it for a strange mix of poor foresight and hubris, 120m is plenty large of a bid. the problem isn’t that we didn’t get tanaka. it’s that not getting him makes “the plan” seem all the more *short-sided* and futile. save money now, spend it later? how about build an infrastructure so our great minor league system actually have a team to fit into?

  • waffle

    at some point the offers went from alot to crazy. Can you really fault the Cubs for not entering crazy town? And anyone who says we had zero chance is simply being negative. If the Yanks were going to top anything we proposed (possibly because NY was his preference) than heck, exactly what were we supposed to do?

    Anyone who thinks this wasn’t a good faith effort by the FO is wrong

  • gcheezpuff

    I don’t think it matters, in my personal opinion, the yanks over paid for an unproven pitcher. I am not saying Tanaka won’t be worth the contract in the end, but with the information available, the risk is to high to justify a contract that size. Some more proven MLB SP signed for less (despite ceiling being lower). This is a gamble and 155 mil would have screwed the cubs if they were wrong. I am good knowing they pushed hard, but didn’t go crazy to win.

  • Cubsin

    I’ll bet the Yankees are now wishing they’d re-signed Cano instead of letting him walk to temporarily get under the salary cap..

    • DocPeterWimsey

      What is remarkable is that the expected gains from McCann, Els and Beltran combined only offset the loss of Cano. Moreover, Tanaka is essentially replacing Pettite in the rotation: and Pettite pitched surprisingly well last year.

      The key to the Yanks sustained success for nearly 20 years was getting great production out of SS, 2B, CF & C. Losing Cano and Jeter’s senescence take away half of that: and they are relying on two injury-prone guys to make up for Williams/Granderson and Posada.

  • waffle

    and, if he turned out to be mediocre, those same people GUARANTEED would have been saying “what was the FO THINKING! I KNEW he wasn’t going to be any good!”

    Overreaction theatre, starring the BN players.

    • notcubbiewubbie


    • Jon

      On the flip side, if he goes out and puts up close to Darvish numbers, will those who have been critical of the front office, be able to cite this as a reference?

      You know how this goes, someone complains about the state of the franchise, and the first response is “Show me in detail who the Cubs could have signed, that would have us in a better position”

      The person then will list a name, like “Darvish”, or in this case “Tananka”, and then the natural response is “The Cubs did everything in their power to get that player, it’s not their fault”.

      Will that be the case for Tananka?

      • gocatsgo2003

        Would financial constraints and the state of development of other players on the roster not dictate exactly what “everyting in their power” really means?

        • Jon

          I guess it could be a drop in the “excuse” bucket sure.

  • JacqueJones

    I think the explanation is relatively simple. My guess is the Cubs just played this really close to the chest (which they are notorious for doing) and all the leaks that they were higher were from Casey Close to up the Yankees bid. I think that explains why the rumors about the Cubs really escalated towards the end (probably when they were trying to put the squeeze on the Yankees a little harder.

  • Napercal

    It’s time to move off of Tanaka. If he ends up being a stud, we can sign in him in four years when he opts out. If he’s a bust (no Japanese pitcher that has come over here has had more than three good years), we can thank God we lost the bid. Whatever the numbers, the Cubs made a huge offer for a guy who pitched a ton of innings but not one in the majors. In his interview, Tanaka indicated that he has always wanted to be a Yankee. There is every reason to believe that the Cubs will be able to draft a pitcher in this year’s draft with as much, if not more, potential than Tanaka and pay him way less money.

    • Brocktoon

      Kuroda and nomo have pretty clearly had more than 3 years of success. Darvish no doubt will as well.

      There is certainly not “every reason” to believe the cubs can draft a pitcher with as much potential as tanaka

  • Stu

    The Cubs had no leverage in the negotiations going in and thus should have put their best possible bid in. Unless they were afraid of getting him. Hmmm..

  • Stu

    Is it me, or do most people think that the Cubs could be worse than last year because of their starting pitching? No Garza, Feldman.

  • TommyK

    Honestly, I don’t think I would have wanted the Cubs to sign the deal the Yankees did. This is a huge roll of the dice for a guy who may or may not be a good MLB pitcher. Not saying I didn’t want Tananka, but there are probably smarter ways to spend $155 million.

    • Brocktoon

      Get back to me when the cubs decide to pursue those smarter ways

  • waffle

    Pitching should be similar I think..but the pen should be better

    it comes down to hitting with this team. Hopefully it’s not just a talent issue. Hopefully good coaching (if that is what we now have) will help get these guys to at least play up to their ability.

    • TommyK

      Have you seen the outfield? It’s a talent issue. The Cubs need Rizzo and Castro to have bounce-back years just to score enough runs to avoud losing 110 games.

  • kashbunker


    I’m a long time die-hard Cubs fan (35 years) and love coming to this website where most posts are quite intelligent and thought out. It’s great to see that, especially since the Cubbies have gone through a very tough stretch in the past years. I also do podcasts and webcasts for Big Balls Fantasy so I very much follow Chicago sports teams even though I move away from the Windy City 5 years ago.

    One of the key factors that would have motivated me to sign with the Cubs, if I was Tanaka, that the possibility of winning a Word Series during my stay in the next five years (as ridiculous as that may sound to many Cubs fans). I would be immortalized as a Cubs hero for generations. For those who do not agree, all you have to do is think back to the Bears of 1985. Even some of the “average” players of that year are still well-recognized by Bears fans of today and remain there celebrity status.

    The point that I am making and maybe that’s what Casey Close communicated to the Damn Yankees is that Tanaka would love to be a hero one day for the Cubs – and that is why they had to bid considerably higher in order to sign him

    Like you said, we’ll probably never know the entire story … at least not in the near future.

  • ssckelley

    Listening to the Score on Tuesday they brought up that the Yankees also offered additional perks suggesting being able to acquire real estate in NYC and Tampa as part of the deal.

  • Johnny Chess

    The Yankees also could have said here is our offer take it or leave it. The deal was done a bit early all things considered. So, to avoid shopping the deal take it or leave it you have 30 minutes to decide.