Shogo Akiyama's Asking Price "Might Be North" of the Cubs' "Comfort Zone"

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Shogo Akiyama’s Asking Price “Might Be North” of the Cubs’ “Comfort Zone”

Chicago Cubs

Speedy center fielder Shogo Akiyama might be closer to a decision on his first MLB home after meeting with teams, including the Cubs, this week at the Winter Meetings.

Teams now have a sense of his expected price tag – two years, around $5 million per year – and presumably they were also able to talk about the foot injury that ended his season. Because of that injury, because of his age (32 next year), and because of the transition from NPB, interested teams have plenty of opportunities to try to push that price tag down further, though:

In other words, it’s possible that the Cubs believe they can get Akiyama – who is a perfect fit for what they would like to add to the lineup – for less than two years and $10 million, so they and the other suitors are doing a little negotiating dance as we speak.

Per Bruce Levine, there are three teams trying to land Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama besides the Cubs: the Diamondbacks, the Reds, and the Rays.

For the Cubs, obviously there are plenty of timing elements at play here, and their negotiating dance may be as much about that timing as it is about the money. For example, if the Cubs aren’t afraid Akiyama is going to be signed away today or something, they might try to hold him off a bit until they get more clarity on their trade efforts involving Kris Bryant and/or Willson Contreras. I would still contend that, almost entirely regardless of any return in those deals, the Cubs should be on Akiyama regardless – but I do understand that, if he’s willing to wait a bit, the Cubs might want to first see what their payroll will look like post-trade, and also their roster.

Oh, or the Cubs just absolutely, unequivocally will not exceed the luxury tax this year, in which case, yeah, at present, they “can’t afford” Akiyama.

Setting that aside for a moment, because I’m still not accepting it as fact; it’s very easy on the outside to just accept a certain price tag, to believe in the abstract that it seems small, and then scream about a deal not getting done. But, even with all the financial flexibility in the world, the Cubs still wouldn’t be out there overpaying guys beyond where they’ve internally evaluated an appropriate price. It *seems* like 2/$10M is reasonable and low-risk for Akiyama, but let’s just see how this thing plays out, and then how he performs.

Hopefully, one way or another, the Cubs find a way to add him to the fold eventually on whatever reasonable deal they can.

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.