1. Masahiro Tanaka - He is a 25 year old kid who has a track record of domination in NPL already, and has shown durability and the tools to excel. While he doesn't have the same ceiling as Yu Darvish had when he signed, he probably has a higher floor. He looks to have the makeup of a very good #2 on the high end, and serviceable #3 on the low end. When it comes to bidding wars, if the Cubs want to get him they will have to treat him like the #2 ceiling he has. But, even if he is paid like a #2 and ends up a #3, getting a 25 year old ready to start in April for nothing but money only adds to the positives of signing him.
The discussion then focuses on what is too much as a posting fee for Tanaka? That is exactly where this signing might get tricky. People are suggesting 75-85 million will be the ticket to enter the game of trying to sign Tanaka, a whopping 25-35 million more than Darvish got and more than double any posting fee before him. That will scare a lot of fans and maybe some baseball people off of bidding on Tanaka, but it shouldn't!!! Take a look at the new contracts being handed out.
Marlon Byrd is getting 8 million annually coming off of one good season after being caught for steroids. Tim Lincecum is being paid nearly 18 million a year, as he has declined noticeably for two full years, landing in the bullpen for stretches last year and certainly comes with aspirations of a decent 3 or good 4 at this point. At the same time aces are getting 25 million annually and that number figures to jump up to 30 or above in the VERY near future.
Where does that then leave Tanaka? Say you bid 90 million and sign him for 7 years at 10 million per year. That is 22.8 million annually, certainly a number that will be reasonable for a #2 by next year and a steal by year 4 of that deal. Pair all that with the fact that he is a guy with a heavy ball, lots of ground balls, and you can see a situation where with Bosio's tutelage Tanaka could become the hands down number one on this team. That would make him a Cub through his age 32 season and his stats figure to hold until that area, especially because he is not a velocity strong pitcher. Also, it is possible that 75 million could win that post and then the deal just gets sweeter. But regardless 20-25 million for a #2 pitcher with no prospect loss or draft pick loss is a move that would be business savvy and baseball smart in this ever changing baseball culture of dollars and tv deals.