Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Down to Dodgers and Yankees? Watch Out for Cubs?

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Obsessive Tanaka Watch: Down to Dodgers and Yankees? Watch Out for Cubs?

Chicago Cubs

masahiro tanakaStill nothing firm from the stateside media on this weekend’s “three finalists” report in the hunt for Masahiro Tanaka.

  • The Sun-Times’ Daryl Van Schouwen hears from an industry source that the price tag on Tanaka could hit $140 million. That figure isn’t especially surprising, particularly from an industry source, given that six years and $120 million (plus the $20 million posting fee) is what most sources have been spitballing for a while now. Of course, if Van Schouwen is hearing six years and $140 million on the contract, plus $20 million for posting, that’s a significant investment, indeed. The AAV, to the team, of a six-year, $160 million contract is $26.67 million per year. Is that really a reasonable sum for Tanaka? Is it an amount you’d be pissed about the Cubs not matching?
  • To be sure, all that was said was a price tag of $140 million. We generally assume six years, since that tends to be the standard deal in these situations, but it’s always possible that a team could go to seven or eight years, making a $140 million contract slightly more reasonable. Of course, a seven or eight-year investment in an arm – even a 25-year-old one – is a considerable risk. Throw in the fact that he hasn’t been tested in the big leagues (as much as scouts love him) and the heavy workload as he’s come up … I start to hem and haw a little bit about what kind of deal makes sense here, particularly when you consider the possible pitching free agent class next year.
  • Ken Rosenthal says that the expectation in the industry is that the Yankees or Dodgers will land Tanaka. Buster Olney seems to concur. That’s pretty much the expectation here, as well.
  • As for the third “finalist” for Tanaka – the Yankees and Dodgers being the other two – the Angels didn’t actually meet with Tanaka when he was in Los Angeles, according to Angels’ GM Jerry DiPoto. That certainly suggests that they aren’t a serious contender for Tanaka, even if wishes they were. Outside of those “finalist” reports, the Angels have not been considered among the top tier – in terms of likelihood – of suitors for Tanaka. Candidly, Tanaka landing with the Angels would surprise me more than Tanaka landing with the Cubs. Again, the Yankees and Dodgers seem most likely.
  • It’s still unclear whether the Red Sox will be involved. We’ve heard strong reports on either side of the question, but Boston did not meet with Tanaka in Los Angeles, either. That said, Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox have had discussions about Tanaka with agent Casey Close. Can’t quite rule them out, I suppose.
  • MLB.com pundits take a crack at projecting where Tanaka lands, and the Yankees loom large. Marlon Anderson guesses the Cubs, for whatever tiny bit that’s worth.

UPDATE for Jayson Stark (cue the “every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in” line) says: “Brought up the name, ‘Tanaka,’ to 2 people at owners meetings this morning. They both had the same response: Beware of the Cubs.”

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.