Time for Cubs to show Tanaka the money

Time for Cubs to show Tanaka the money

If a report from Sanspro is true, then it appears that Masahiro Tanaka will be posted after all.  There was much speculation about the decision -- much of it pessimistic.  Most felt that Tanaka's team,the Ratuken Eagles, were not prepared to let their ace go for the newly capped posting fee of $20M.

What this means is we should expect multiple teams to be involved on Tanaka.  He is a 25 year old pitcher with a history of dominance at what is considered by most to be the highest level of competitive baseball other than the MLB.

There has been much concern that the Cubs don't have money to spend.  Scott Boras recently hinted otherwise.  I believe him in this instance.  I believe the Cubs do, in fact, have the money to spend and that the reason they aren't buying up free agents this offseason is more about avoiding having to make long term commitments on players whose greatest contributions figure to come in the short term and, more to the point, a time frame in which the Cubs don't expect to compete.

But Tanaka is different.  He is just entering his peak performance years and we can expect 5-6 productive years from him if he stays healthy.  The fact that he will still be in the age range of  peak performance at a time when the Cubs actually expect they can contend is the difference here.

If the Cubs are truly short on money, we're about to find out.

It is my understanding (and has been since August) that the Cubs will pursue Tanaka aggressively.  It is my understanding, in fact, that the Cubs would pursue any in-prime or pre-prime player that becomes available on the open market -- especially when it doesn't cost them anything in terms of long term assets.  It's been my conviction that isn't about not having the money.  It's been about knowing how and when to spend it.

We saw an aggressive pursuit of Anibal Sanchez just last year when there were even less certainties about Wrigley renovations and the potential revenue it would generate.  We saw the Cubs outbid the Tigers by $30-$35M and forced the Tigers to match.   I also know that the Cubs finished 2nd in the posting to Yu Darvish and Hyun-Jin Ryu.  If coming in second means the Cubs are cheap or small market, should we say the same about the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and other large markets who also lost out on the bidding?

I expect the Cubs to make an even greater effort to land Tanaka.  They underestimated Texas' willingness to go way beyond perceived market value for Darvish.  They learned their lesson on Ryu and put in an even more aggressive bid relative to market value.  But again, it wasn't enough.  This time the Dodgers went unexpectedly high and beat out what was a very aggressive bid on the Cubs part.  There was genuine disappointment when the Cubs lost out on Ryu.   There were some who felt the Cubs had bid more than enough to land him.

I don't expect them to underestimate the competition this time around.

The Cubs have left themselves with a lot of payroll flexibility here and have put themselves in a position to outbid the competition if necessary.

Buster Olney tweets that the industry isn't sleeping on the Cubs, so I am not the only one hearing the Cubs intend to make a serious bid here,

Lots of speculation among executives that the Cubs are poised to try to strike big on Tanaka. We'll see.

We'll see, indeed.

How the Cubs approach the Tanaka bidding will tell us a lot about where this organization stands financially and whether they are willing to pay -- even overpay -- if the right type of player comes along.

So is he worth it?

Here is what I wrote based on what I heard on him back in August,

Tanaka is the best player in this free agent class and I've received nothing but raves from scouts regarding his stuff, command, and makeup.  More than a couple of scouts think that he could possibly be a top of the rotation starter and most think he's at least a #2.

Tanaka is capable of reaching 97 mph on his 4-seam FB though he often works more in the 92-94 range.  His fastball is considered a plus pitch, as is his slider.  His best pitch, however, may be a splitter, which I've been told rates 70 on the 20-80 scale by three different scouts.

I'm going to be truly disappointed if the Cubs don't make a major play for Tanaka.  He fits what the Cubs say they want most -- impact players in their peak performance years.  Nothing is guaranteed when you have 29 other teams potentially in the hunt -- some that are in even wealthier than the Cubs.  It's anything but a lock that they can win the bidding, but I expect them to make much more than just a token effort here.

I think the Cubs are going to be in this with every intention of coming home with the grand prize.

And if they do land Tanaka, then I will consider this offseason a huge win.

 

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  • Let the Games Begin!

    I won't mind seeing the Cubs lose out on Tanaka,.... but they better not do it with some half-arsed attempt.

    Any idea when the fun begins?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I imagine it should all start to happen quickly once it becomes official, but I don't expect him to sign until January. It may benefit the Cubs to have this dragged out a bit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I too would consider it a great off season season if they land Tanaka, you are pretty savvy about these things, what do you think the number will be including posting fee? 120-150 and how high would you go total?

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Not John, but I'll say 180/7 + 20 mil posting is what gets the deal done. The Yankees will blow through the salary tax and the Dodgers are always dangerous.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Boy, I hope not. I don't see anyone giving a kid $25m+/yr who hasn't thrown an MLB pitch. I'm all about them going all in for Tanaka, and it sure isn't my money, but that's a lot higher than I would go!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Those numbers make the 5/88 contract Tigers signed Sanchez for last year seem like the grandest of bargains.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    For a guy who's never thrown a pitch in the US, awfully big risk. I for 1 hope they let the Dodgers or Yankees bite that off.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That seems overly aggressive given it would make Tanaka one of the highest paid players in all of baseball. Cano got 10/240 largely because SEA bid against themselves.

    I've maintained 7/105 gets it done. Being the highest bidder means nothing however if Tanaka would rather not be part of a rebuilding process. So maybe it will take 7/120 to get it done.

    I get the emphasis on being uber-aggressive so I suppose anything is possible. I still think Tanaka ends up in SEA however, all things being equal. I guess we will know within the next 30-40 days, assuming he is posted, of course, which seems to be the case.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I agree.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Hard to say right now but it's going to be higher than Darvish because there will be more of an open market on Tanaka.

    I think it goes over 100M and probably over 5 years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure glad we have Theo handling this for the Cubs.

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    I think the Cubs should, and will, land Tanaka. But with our luck you just know he's going to be glorified batting practice when he gets here.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That too worries me too Mike, we win the big prize only to get disappointed, can you say dice-k?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Here's hoping that's NOT how it plays out Mike.

    But yes - that's always the danger with Free Agents - especially high priced ones. Ask NYY fans how they feel about A-Rod's contract now,.....

    It hasn't been that long for even Cubs fans since the Fukudome to a four-year, $48 million contract didn't pan out so well. We got a decent OF, with passable On Base skills, but not what we were expecting.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    What kills me is the same off season the Cubs signed Fukudome, they gave Angel Pagan to the Mets for a couple guys no one has ever heard of.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That thought has occurred to me as well Mike.

    Pagan of course has gone on to have a decent ML career as a fairly effective CF/OF and an on again, off again leadoff guy for the Mets and SF.

  • I'm not sure exactly how the posting process works. The Cubs will bid to win the right to sign him to a contract? Does Tanaka go to the highest bidder? Can he refuse to negotiate with the team that wins the posting?

  • In reply to spider lockhart:

    It is expected that multiple teams will bid the max fee. All teams that do have a right to negotiate a contract agreement. Posting fee will be lower but I expect the salary to be higher than it was for Darvish or Ryu.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So basically, the Cubs will pay $20 mil, as will a bunch of other teams, and then he will basically negotiate with all of them like he is a regular free agent? So do all the teams posting have to pay the posting fee, or just the team that signs him?

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Just the team that signs him. And according to the new agreement, they can amortize their payments over however many years they sign the player for.

  • This will be an extremely telling moment in club history.

  • Has anyone found any super slo mo on his delivery?

  • In reply to Senator Blutarski:

    The best break down of Tanaka's delivery that I found is by Clint Husley on a Blog about Japanese & Korean pitchers. Their is pictures throughout his motion.

    LINK:
    http://irfast.blogspot.com/2013/08/masahiro-tanaka-scouting-report.html

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Awesome link, Dawg -- thanks!!!

  • Instead of waiting to see how it turns out, and then complaining that the Cubs should have bid more, lets try something else.

    How many are actually willing to state what they think the maximum bid the Cubs should make.

    What is the number you would not exceed if you were the front office?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Sure. I wouldn't go more than 6 years or $150 million, inclusive.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    That would probably be a good price point. Don't know if it will win the bid, but it is a good price, and not completely out of sight.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I like that idea. How much would people be willing to spend on a 25 year old potential ace who is unproven at the MLB level?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So many survey and prediction options! John, two suggestions:

    Survey - how much would you go, in $/year and total years? (Don't know if this is doable with the survey system, but if it is it'd be fun.)

    Prediction - who wins, and at what price?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What I want to spend? 6 years $100 mil + $20 posting fee. Darvish's AAV including the posting fee was $18.6. Most consider Darvish a slightly better pitcher. So, if you want to throw in inflation $20 mil aav seems fair. That means you're expecting him to be a 2.86 WAR/season guy over the life of the contract. That puts him in the range of R.A. Dickey, Ian Kennedy, and Stephen Strasburg over 3 year WAR totals.

    What's the max I would spend? 7 years $140 mil + the $20 mil posting fee. You can make the argument the cubs need him and should over pay. Fine, but at this price you're expecting 3.25 WAR player/season which puts him in the range of the top 20 pitchers in baseball over the past 3 years and Wainright, Latos and Zimmerman are pitchers who had similar WAR over the last 3 years.

    Sure, he's a good pitcher but if you pay any more than that you're leaving yourself no room for him to potentially fail or be worse than you expect. This $25 mil+ AAV is crazy talk in my mind. It would mean you expect over the next 5-7 years he's a top 15 pitcher. Maybe he will be but what if he's at best a third starter and not a #2?

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    In reply to DaveP:

    I'd be willing to go 7 years or seven with a vesting option or two for an AAV of $30 million a season (Including posting). So $190/7 + $20million posing. That's what aces who are on the down side make, we get all of the upside at that price, weighed against having not pitched in the majors and those obscene pitch counts.

    It's locking up a huge chunk of cash but, in the short term, we're counting on our minor league system to produce cheap regulars and in the long term we have the TV and refurb money to pay it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The fear I have there is that pitchers get hurt. Even for a club that should have a top 5 in MLB payroll, $30MM per year would be a huge chunk of payroll. If that's dead money, it could cripple the ability to compete long term.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    I definitely hear you -- and that certainly isn't where I'd start my offer -- but I think at some point you have to take a chance, and I feel like Tanaka is guy you take the chance on. The above is where I'd be unwilling to go over if I was Theo and Jed. Anything above that the Dodgers can have him and we'll just use the money to sign Clayton Kershaw this offseason.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh he's not going to be available. Not a chance.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Take out an insurance policy on him.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I will say $117m including posting fee.

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    how many years?

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Sorry, I would go 5 years and a option, this is a guy that Jason has never seen him pitch other than on film. Japanese pitchers has a terrible history of breaking down over here, I don't want to look back and say , only if we hadn't have won the bid on Tanka.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    looking at it from the other side, if he is only 25 why would he want a 6-7 year deal? Get a good payday today, have faith in yourself you will pitch well and become a free agent again in your prime at 30/31. AAV will be the name of the game.

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    In reply to DoubleM:

    Because it's guaranteed money.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    I wouldn't go higher than 6 yrs/ $110M + the posting fee. That's a paying good #2 money for a kid who hasn't thrown an MLB pitch. I won't be mad at Ricketts if it takes more and he spends it though!

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I think 6/$120MM + the posting fee is a great offer. Nervous about going more over the $20MM per, though maybe a 7th year offered at another $20-25MM.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I would go as long as 8 years @ 25 mil + posting fee, or 7 years @ 27 mil per + posting, if that's what it takes

  • If we do land Tanaka, do we extend Shark?

  • In reply to Todd B 71:

    My understanding is that those decisions are independent of each other.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    they may be independent from the Cubs' side, but it might show Shark the team is serious about improving and might be a tipping factor in his mind.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I agree. I kind of feel that the two shouldn't be independent of each other (even though it sounds like they are). If the Cubs land Tanaka, I think they'll be competitive quicker than if they don't. If they're competitive sooner, isn't that a decent reason to maybe pitch in a little bit more money on Shark?

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I like 6/150 or 5/137.5

    This is the closest Theo will get to his FA market pre-prime pitchers. He needs to be aggressive.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Good point.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think It is independent from the FO side, but it sounds as though Shark is interested in playing for a winner and signing someone like Tanaka might convince him that the Cubs are headed in that direction sooner rather than later. But maybe that's just hope on my part. Great Job on this site by the way I don't know how I would make it through a day of work without reading your site and the comments on almost an hourly basis!

  • In reply to Todd B 71:

    If the Cubs do land Tanaka, I think the Cubs should be more aggressive in trying to sign Shark.

    The rotation would set up as Tanaka/Shark/Wood as your front 3 with some good arms coming quickly. Could be the basis for a real good rotation in short term.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Yep,..... Add in a couple from among Edwards, Vizciano, Beeler, Johnson, Blackburn and Cabrera,.... and that could be a danged fine pitching core for the end of the current decade.

  • Hopefully, when Ricketts went to the winter meetings he came with an extra bag of cash and showed the Ratuken Eagles the money to post Tanaka.

  • A true TOR Starter, 3 Plus pitches with Control/Command. 6'2", 205 lbs - Great pitchers frame and 25 years old - Players like this just don't become available at such an early age.

    I suspect a good Cubs offer would be 6 years @ $135 Million - considering you want 6 years to amortize the posting fee.

    - $20 Million Posting Bid (Max)

    Yr. 1 - $20 Million
    Yr. 2 - $21 Million
    Yr. 3 - $22 Million
    Yr. 4 - $23 Million
    Yr. 5 - $24 Million
    Yr. 6 - $25 Million

    Total Contract: 6 yrs @ $135 Million ($22.5 AAV)
    Total Money Spent: $155 Million ($25.8 AAV)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I also think the Cubs wouldn't have any problem going to a 7th year at $26 Million as it would give another year to spread out the posting fee and Tanaka would only be 32 years old.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    The posting fee must be paid up front.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    see posting of terms of new agreement between MLB and NPB. Says payment of release fee in installments, not a single lump-sum

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/mlb-npb-announce-agreement-on-new-posting-system.html

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Well shut my mouth.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    The only thing I remember from 3 years of HS French - Ferme la bouche!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I don't think Tanaka will want 7 years - he'll want another payday after this one and older he is when he hits the market, the harder it'll be for him.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    I disagree. the difference between 31 yrs old & 32 yrs old is negligible.
    On the other hand if he doesn't pitch like an ace he will never see numbers like $25 million per year again.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    We'll have to agree to disagree then. I'll stand by my prediction of a 5 or 6 year deal.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    5 or 6 year deal wont be good enough He will get minimum 7 year deal. I stand by my prediction of 8-10 years and 25 M a year to the winning team . 8 years 220M which includes the 20 M posting fee is my guess . He will also get a minimum limited NTC and team options for years 9 and 10 . His value has inflated with the long drawn out process , the gaudy #'s He put up and the Yankees very public chase of Him. With the low 20M posting fee more teams will be in it and his agent will have 1 team overpay thru the nose to land Him.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    LOL, That fine. We don't need to agree, we are both just speculating anyway. ;-)

  • In reply to JasonB:

    doh! just said same thing above...getting on here late, did not read all the way down. I completely agree with you on the length of contract.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    How many years would the Cubs be willing to work with this guy? Six years is a long time. Also, I feel it would have to be a contract laden with incentives which could make this contract much more than the $135 million. Say he gets the Cy Young in his 2nd year. That alone could be a million or two. 200 innings, another million. 20+ wins, another million. I think the Cubs are stinging after what they paid out to land Edwin Jackson. I hope they land Tanaka, but don't break the bank.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    You can't incentivize wins, innings and the Cy Young is alright though.

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    this would be ricketts's chance to blow wittenmeyer out of the water.

    But who/what is Sanspro, who are the sources, and why should we believe them?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/masahiro-tanaka-gets-consent-japan-posted-mlb-leagues-223106293--mlb.html

  • i am going to bet right now there will be a team out there that w the 20M posting fee will exceed $200 M to land Tanaka . Wouldnt shock me to see an 8-10 year contract thrown out there to land him . If the Cubs want him they better be prepared to pay $25M a year for his services . I personally dont think He will be worth half of what his deal ends up being .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Tanaka won't want an 8-10 year deal. He's only 25 so he'll have another chance to get a big FA contract. I'm sure his agent is well aware of the fact that a 30 year old pitcher can dictate terms much better than a 33 year old pitcher.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    He will get 25 Ma year and He wont have to worry about the length or quality of a 2nd contract if His agent does his job on the first contract. No player is going to turn down 25M a year unless his name is Trout.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Could happen - I don't think it will, but it could. Lot of risk for a team to take with that big of a deal.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    RE: Lot of risk for a team to take with that big of a deal.

    That's alot different then saying that Tanaka won't WANT an 8-10 year deal. Teams will definitely have reservations about such length and no MLB track record.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Good point - wasn't thinking about it that way

  • In reply to JasonB:

    RE: Tanaka won't want an 8-10 year deal.

    Ok, This is just getting silly. Why on earth would Tanaka turn down $25 Million plus right now so that he can try to get the same amount of money in 5 years IF he pitches like an ACE. This is just no the way it works. Look at A-Rod for example, also a FA at age 25 (and a much more known commodity), he took a 10 year deal, why? Because why wouldn't you when you are getting top money. You don't say, no thanks, I'm going to try my hand in the market and see if I can get close to the same thing if I 'm still productive at age 30+.

  • My Guess .....

    Posting Fee: $20 MIL
    Contract: 7 years totaling $161M

    Total investment $181M

    Maybe the Cubs will Frontload the deal (like EJax) to make it tougher for NYY to match and stay under the Lux Tax.

    John are you starting another pool ??

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    Do we know if the new posting system has bit the Cubs in the ass in regards to the much-discussed but still somewhat mysterious spending restrictions?

    My understanding was that the posting fee was a form of spending not connected to the Ricketts debt repayment?

    So now that the posting fee is minimized and the major spending is directly tied to the normal payroll, are the Cubs handcuffed with what they can offer him?

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    Fun thought: our rotation midway through 2015 could be: Tanaka, Shark (huge if, I know), Wood, EJax, Johnson.

  • I'm confused. Can anyone actually tell me that something has changed?

    We've heard nothing but a lot of BS for months on end.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    He's been allowed to go to the US if he wants...

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/masahiro-tanaka-gets-consent-japan-posted-mlb-leagues-223106293--mlb.html

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Let's not jump the gun. It is not definite. I admit it is likely, but Tanaka still has a meeting tomorrow in which they will try to get him to stay. I'd say tomorrow by this time we should get an announcement.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Yep, still no reports that he actually has been posted. Only that he will be allowed to if he wants. And even that is only coming from one source at the moment. No gun jumping allowed. It might be loaded...

  • Can you repeat a quick set of important stats so some of us can feel a little better? IP etc......

  • In reply to edubbs:

    I have trouble paying $100 for a pair of tennies......this $$$$ is mind boggling for an unproven.

  • In reply to edubbs:

    His stats are dominant in the NPB. In fact, they are ridiculous. They won't translate, of course but last year he was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA -- part I like is 32 walks vs. 183 strikeouts in 212 innings. Almost a 6 to 1 ratio.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John. That's also what's great about this site. The nervous, under informed can relax a little from all the knowledge.

  • In reply to edubbs:

    Thanks. Appreciate that. I hope that nobody ever has to fear asking a question for fear of sounding under informed.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What does NPB equate to? AAA?

  • In reply to KDC22:

    More like AAAA in my opinion... in other words, somewhere between the two.

  • In reply to KDC22:

    Most consider it a AA caliber league. Guys like Matt Murton who are AAAA players here become top players. Remember Tuffy Rhodes? He was a fringe MLB. Player and was basically Hank Aaron over there.

    That is why Tanaka's performance must be viewed in the right prism, and I agree with John the k/bob ratio is the most important. If a 25 year old pitcher put up those numbers in AA he would get his shot, but people would talk about a player in his prime dominating AA as nice, but not otherworldly.

  • This is Theo's moment, make no mistake. If he gets outbid, it's going to be VERY painful for the team who bids more. In addition, his sales pitch is ready and in place. Something to do with making history, my guess.

  • In reply to JB55:

    My guess is they've already forged a relationship with Tanaka as well. I think they're going to pull out all the stops within reason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd be surprised if they haven't been working on this for a long time.

  • As much as I've been in favor of trading Shark--and I still am for the most part--I've got to admit I like the sound of a rotation fronted by Tanaka, Shark and Wood, with several talented arms just a year or two away in the minors.

    If Theo can pawn off Jackson on someone, now we're talkin'....

  • Isn't it funny how Darvish's success will end up driving the price up. This is similar to Puig's success, look how much more that White Sox first baseman signed for because of his and Cespedes' success.

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    It's more about the rising cost of wins and the limitations attached to spending on amateurs that didn't exist two years ago.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I couldn't agree more!

  • Now's the time for Ricketts to announce the start of the renovation of Wrigley, but do it all at once by moving the games to another location for at least the upcoming season. This would force the rooftops to the bargaining table because they couldn't afford a year or more of not having any games at all. He needs to play some hardball.

    This would all but guarantee new revenue streams for the club in the very near future.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I know one of the rooftop owners, a year away from Wrigley to do construction would bankrupt most of them. It's a huge trump card that the Cubs could play, but on the other side of the coin with the non-contending team that the Cubs currently have, if they were to move from Wrigley for a year right now, their attendance would probably fall to all time lows. Wrigley is a huge draw on it's own and the Cubs need that cash flow coming in right now, especially since they don't have new tv deals yet.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I think the novelty of seeing a few games at another venue might be enough of a draw to offset that somewhat.

    It is time though, to call the roofie's hand.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I suppose the idea of a boycott of the rooftops would not go anywhere?

  • With Tanaka being able to negotiate with multiple teams, what is he thinking? Is he willing to sign with a team that doesn't look to contend next year? Year after? I don't exactly see the Fukudome years as a success that helps a 25 year old want to go to Chicago. Money and years aren't going to be the only factors.

    Seems like the Mariners are going all out this year, and well known Japanese community. Do they have the budget to stay close to the other monster offers?

  • In reply to CWilli:

    While secondary factors will most certainly play a role in his decision, I think the main factor will be what team is willing to give Tanaka the most guaranteed years and the most guaranteed money.

  • It's exciting to think the Cubs could snag a true TOR starter for 7-8 years and this type of impact pitcher could be a turning point in landing other FA as well in the next several years. Assuming Tanaka can average 4 WAR/season over the course of his contract, a value of $6M per WAR translates to a $24M/yr. for his services. Theo & Co. are usually quite thrifty when it comes signing FA, but I think this guy is a special player that can immediately impact a rotation. Give him a $200M contract over 8 years and don't look back... he'll be worth the money. With inflation WAR values are bound to increase and this dude might be a 6-7 WAR pitcher.

  • If the Cubs get Tanaka, I can't help but feel like other things will start falling in place. If Shark and Arrieta can put it all together, that winds up being one of the best top threes in baseball. From what I've read about Tanaka, he's very competitive, and we know how competitive Samardzija gets. It's really quite exciting to imagine those two for the next five or six years constantly trying to outdo each other to be the team ace.

  • Non Tanaka talk, but I'm feeling a bit jealous of all the good moves the southsiders G.M. Hahn is making.Another nice trade with the D-Backs for Davidson. Sox rebuild is going a bit faster than the Cubs at this point.

  • In reply to kevie:

    The White Sox farm system is weak. We will see how it ends up, I believe the Cubs FO is setting the team up for sustained success. Not just rebuilding the team on the field, but rebuilding the entire organization into a perennial contender.

  • In reply to kevie:

    We'll see. They've traded for spare parts -- and they could be spare parts for a reason.

    I think they also have to get MLB ready players because they don't have a farm system with impact players.

    And don't forget that this FO also got two very good MLB ready players right off the bat in Travis Wood and Anthony Rizzo and have since added Arrieta, Strop, Sweeney and soon, Vizcaino, Hendricks, Olt, Grimm, Edwards, and more.

  • In reply to kevie:

    That's less of a re-build and more of a re-shuffle.

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    That's a good idea. Don't know if its possible at this time but would really give him a position

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    You're right about that , kind of the way the Cubs used to rebuild. Holtzman for Monday, Monday for DeJesus and Buckner, Buckner for Eckersley, DeJesus for Sandberg and Bowa etc etc.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kevie:

    Good point, guess you been a cubs fan for awhile. I remember the Philly trade as that was about the time I started watching the cubs religiously

  • Good work John for spelling all this out. Very seldom do we as fans get to experience a "bright line" test where we instantly get to measure the FO (and ownership's) willingess to devote resources to winning. Well, here it is.

  • In reply to JimmyLeeMcMath:

    Thanks.

  • Theo has said in the past that when the situation is right all he has to do is go to Tom and 'splain things and the piggy bank will be unlocked. He has talked the talk now let's see if he walks the walk. Hoping he was not bs ing the troops.

  • This one depends on the Ricketts family. I'm sure whatever value Theo and his tea place on him, it will cost significantly more than that to sign him.

    If the Ricketts really are all in on Tanaka to make a statement to the fan base and advertisers, now would be a very good time to extend Shark and Wood, even if their asking prices are higher that Theo would like.

  • Reasons why Tanaka will not sign with the Cubs

    1 - Dodgers / Yankees / Angels are ready to win
    2 - 105 years of losing on the Northside
    3 - Three straight 90 plus losing seasons
    4 - Better hitters with the Dodgers / Angels / Yankees
    5 - Endorsements

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    #1 - None of them have the payroll flexibility we have. Not that they won't incur the penalties... but it's still unlikely.

    Actually #2 can be packaged into a strong selling point that no one else can counter....

    #5- ? Being attached to the city of Chicago didn't seem to hurt MJ's ability to land endorsements. Maybe that's on the player and not just the market.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    MJ was a unique ad magnet.

    Tanaka can get better deals on the west & east coast ad agencies.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Reasons why Tanaka might sign with the Cubs:

    1) Farm system ranked first or second in MLB
    2) Team on the cusp of top prospects reaching the majors
    3) Cubs closing in on being a perennial winner, not a 1-2 yr window
    4) Day baseball
    5) The most loyal fans in baseball
    6) Playing in front of sold out stadiums on a daily basis
    7) Storied franchise and Wrigley Field
    8) Theo and Jed
    9) The party to beat all parties when the Cubs win the WS
    10) Opportunity to be a part of Cubs team to end the losing streak

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    And the most important one of all...money.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ding, Ding, Ding...We have a Winner!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yankees will out spend the Cubs ...and the Dodgers will top the Cubs.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And you know this...how?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I, for one, don't question your Cubs fandom. I don't know if you care, but the way you state your baseball opinions is so absolute and you are so justified in every opinion that you encourage a lot of the responses you get.

    I totally respect your right to hold your opinion and explain your thinking behind them, but the way you express them is so declarative that it turns people off. It's almost as if you're not expressing your opinion but God's opinion.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I would be careful with this prediction. The new rules hurt the Yanks the most by far, Dodgers next. The old rules allowed them to blow everyone away with non payroll, non taxed dollars. Not true now. We must also remember that the Yanks only dodge the Arod salary for a year, plus they still have holes. Unless they want a payroll in 15 that is WAY over $200 mil and maybe pushing towards $300 (after the tax is applied) they can't just blow everyone out of the water.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Never heard a Free Agent signing based on farm system.....which is ranked #5.....

    Dodgers have some good prospects coming up.....Angels have Trout, Pujols & Hamilton.......Yankees have History along with some good hitters.......

    Cubs not even close to playoffs....

    Day Baseball.....over-rated

    Loyal Fans turn into Booing Fans......Fukudome can tell that to Tanaka

    Wrigley had more empty seats then ever before.....have you seen the empty seats last year?

    Yankees & Ruth, Gehrieg, Mantle.......Dodgers & J. Robinson, Koufax.......Angels & Ryan.....

    Hollywood & Big Apple

    Don't make celebration plans anytime soon....

    Yankees, Dodgers, Angels ready to be W.S. winners......Cubs are still far from that point.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    If you think so little of the Cubs organization, why are you a fan?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    If you are so big on the Cub organization, why are you not the owner?

    Nothing wrong to point out the failures on the Cubs.....which are many.......

    Once Tanaka is not a Cub, the rumor will fly of how many prospects we can get for Shark...

    this team is nothing but a collection of back ups, and maybe's.....the farm system is still in question, on our third manager in three years.....and we no closer to the playoffs as we were three years ago.

    After the Cubs lose another 90 plus games in 2014, no doubt your attitude will change on this club, FO & ownership.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I wasn't being facetious. Seriously why are you a fan of the Cubs?

    In your former posts you have clearly indicated that you don't like the current team, you don't like the organization, you don't like the prospects in the farm system (which means you don't like the future team), and you have now indicated that you don't like the Cubs past teams or the Cubs history. That leaves nothing to be a fan of... so again I ask you, Why are you a fan of the Cubs?

    In other words, I have suspicion that you are a Cardinals fan just coming here to talk smack about the Cubs.

    If I'm wrong, please tell me what it is about the Cubs that you love so much and that led you to becoming a fan of the team.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Dawg, while your question is totally valid, and one that I hope CT answers (cause I'm curious too), it would be truly sad if someone had so little going on in their life that they went to "enemy" message boards to talk smack. Sincerely hope that is not the case. CT…the question stands, and inquiring minds want to know???

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Me a Cardinal Fan!......Sir, if the law allows Duels, I would call you out to face each other at 30 paces, turn and fire away!

    and don't say I am a Sox fan either........or I will then have to hunt you down!

    Been watching the Cubs for over 45 years.....saw all the tactics that was used by various GM's, owners, media, etc on how good the Cubs will be..........this Cubs team right now is HORRIBLE......and believe me, Renteria has a FREE PASS for 2014.....

    Chicago is Third Largest Market in MLB.....there is no reason why this team has to be bottom dwellers year after year.....strong fan base, high ticket prices, ad revenue, ..........this ownership has the money or not to get quality free agents..........

    Just because we have excellent prospects hitting the ball in the minors, does not mean they are future HOF players....besides, we have no pitching........

    Long way to go to see Playoffs in Chicago.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Ha! Fair enough, if you're a Cubs fan then you can feel and think however you want, and while I disagree, I respect your opinion.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Didn't you predict 85 wins or something like that last year?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think he predicted 88 wins.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    it was 88 wins....yes I did......better starting pitching staff with Garza, Feldman, Shark., Wood, Jackson then what we will see in 2014 .......what sunk the ship was all those early blow saves by the bull pen....26 of them......Cubs could tack on additional 20 wins if they had a closer who was descent....that would be around 86 wins in 2013 .....blown saves can take the wind out of the sail of a team......... ............. both Shark & Jackson did not live up to their numbers.......I have no doubt last year team could have contend if everyone was doing their job.......Rizzo & Castro slump did not help either.

    That is why I see the 2014 Cubs as a much weaker team......

    we will be back in the playoffs by 2017 hopefully..........we still need Pitching to do it!

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    I agree w about 85% of the stuff you have written, does that mean I am not a cubs fan anymore ?

    Cubs main hope for landing Tanaka is ( this is assuming they really want him and have been saving all this loot w dumpster diving signings and pickups in order to over pay ( similar to how Seattle had to offer more yrs to cano, something cubs may have to do w tanaka )

    1. God I hope the yanks are serious about staying under that 189 because If they are not, they will go up to 230 + and go all in ( this new posting fee of 20 million is worse for the yanks because his contract is going to be closer to Verlander money vs Darvish money)

    2. Dodgers decide to break the bank and extend Kershaw and make him the richest pitching in MLB history. They are not able to unload kemp or Ethiers contract before he is posted.

    3. Yu is not a close friend of Tanaka and doesn't sell him on no state taxes and being teammates again.

    4. Angels seem a little cash strapped, don't know why but lets hope they decide to stay tight and sign someone like ubaldo . I think they should be working on a trout 13-14 yr 300-320 million contract and make him happy and buy out some of his arb years.

  • Remember, the point is not to try to guess what the Cubs WILL offer.

    The point is to say what is the maximum YOU would pay if you were the Cubs front office.

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    I'm optimistic. We may get him.
    7 years/140 million is what I'm thinking/hoping.
    At a pretty large margin of risk, as well. Which will hopefully keep the bidding from getting stupid.

    But, what a huge fast-forward to this rebuild!
    And it potentially allows a totally different approach with Samardzija. Hell, at that point, we may consider paying both Jeff and Tanaka. Or even the opposite direction- Trade Shark for a young package of arms. Still draft an arm in 2014, too! Conceptually we'd have an outstanding rotation in 2015 and beyond.

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    If we do sign Tanaka, please, please, please, no more stupid and offensive Horry Cow T-shirts, okay?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Agreed.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    lol

  • This just in...according to Yahoo Sports
    楽天・田中将大投手(25)の米大リーグ移籍が16日、決定的となった。サンケイスポーツの取材で明らかになったもので、17日に日米間で正式発表される旧ポスティングシステム(入札制度)に替わる新移籍制度の導入を受けて、球団側に大リーグ挑戦の意向を直接伝える。一時は移籍に否定的だった三木谷浩史球団オーナー(48)は、今季の田中の功績と今後の経営戦略を再考し、大リーグ挑戦を容認したもよう。球団の申請手続きを経て、田中をめぐるメジャー球団の争奪戦が一気に加速する。

    In other words, it is up to Tanaka now and his owner will not stand in his way

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to historyrat:

    That's mistranslated. The actual translation is: "Take back one kadam to honor the Hebrew God, whose Ark this is."

  • I wonder if Tanaka would insist on a NTC?

  • fb_avatar

    Okay, here's a fun little trivia question. When Fukudome joined the Cubs, which Cub player actually spoke some Japanese and was able to welcome and converse with him? (Not including So Taguchi in ST)

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Barney?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Forget it Barney obviously wasn't around yet. Brain fart

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Barney wasn't with the big club yet, but he was drafted in 2007. Regardless, that's not the right answer. Good guess, though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Mark DeRosa, wasn't it?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Ah, DeRosa. One of my least favorite Cubs of all time. (I'll go into that another day)
    Good guess with the versatile DeRosa, but no, not the right answer.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Well, he does speak a little Japanese. I saw him do an interview along side Munenori Kawasaki on Intentional Talk. I was always a fan.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Now that you say that, that does seem to ring a bell too.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Soriano.....he played in Japan before going to Yankees

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yes, sir. well done.

  • Matt Murton I believe

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    In reply to Nik0522:

    Murton is the single season hit leader in the Japanese league, but he is not the correct answer.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Soriano. He spent his late teens with the Hiroshima Carp.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Mutton went to Japan after his Cubs stint

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    In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Right you are.

  • aka thunder thighs

  • Sign Wada right fast.

  • It's still too early to dream about a 2015 top of the rotation of Tanaka, Shark, and Beede.
    Right?
    I'm doing it anyway.
    I'm doing it right now.

  • In reply to supertecmo:

    You think Beede could get to Chicago that fast? That would be something if true.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to supertecmo:

    No way Beede makes it in a year.

  • Alfonso Soriano I believe, I know he played a little in Japan too, Murton also, but I believe Soriano is a little more "fluent" in Japanese.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nik0522:

    Yes, sir. You are correct. Soriano played in Japan as a 16 year old and picked up on the language. It is said that the younger a person is, the easier it is to learn a new language.

  • fb_avatar

    Alphonso Soriano

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    In reply to Bob Bennett:

    Soriano, it is! Good work, Bob. Many people don't know Alfonso first played pro ball in Japan as a 16 yr old

  • In reply to Bob Bennett:

    Whoops, just saw these answers after replying above

  • It feels like the Cubs sat out the Winter Meetings and the bonanza the week prior to catch this guy.

    From all indications that John gave, Tanaka fits the mold of what the Cubs are looking for. Young, cost-controlled, power arm that gives the Cubs a TOR talent that they can put alongside the young guys that are starting to come up.

    I think if they land him, there is no way Shark is going anywhere until the deadline. Could be quite a rotation - imagine the impact a few of the young hitters could have? It seems like everything broke wrong last year from the pitching side of things. What if everything - especially in the pen - broke right? The Cubs would have every reason to bring up Baez and Bryant. Add a piece or two at the deadline and contending for a wild card isn't all that crazy (I know there are a lot of ifs in there, but it's not all that far-fetched).

  • This will be totally different that the previous posting system when they had a blind single bid system.

    Now each team that posts the fee will have a chance to try to bring to their city and wine and dine him and their first bid doesn't have to be their last bid. Tanaka will have the luxury of having real open competitive bidding that can keep going up until he picks the winner.

  • Yeah, if it really is Tanaka's decision on whether or not he gets posted, it seems like he'd be crazy not to take the opportunity.
    On top of hitting the jackpot with the new posting system, he can piggy back the success of Darvish a bit. There's also a good deal of new tv money coming soon.
    It's not like he can improve his numbers on last season either. Everything broke very, very well for the young man.

  • fb_avatar

    Well, this is it! It's show business and not show friends. I know many folks might think a 5 or 6 year contract would be sufficient. But I gotta tell ya, it's gonna take 7 or 8 years of guaranteed money that blows others away.

    If our offer is just barley above the Yankees or Dodgers we still could lose him just because of the endorsement dollars he may also earn in those other cities.

    And I'd prefer the Cubs to have a front loaded type of deal for 2 reasons. This gives Tanaka a sense of security right away and as he ages the money owed would be less and make him more easily tradeable (is that a word, lol).

    $30M year #1
    $30M year #2
    $25M year #3
    $25M year #4
    $20M year #5
    $20M year #6
    $15M year #7
    $15M year #8

    That's $180M over 8 years plus $20M for the posting fee. A $200M deal in total. This is the kinda deal that certainly does tell the fans that the Cubs still want to win and gives notice to the rest of the league that the Cubs mean business.

    Is it an overpay? HELL YES!!! And it's also necessary in this case.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I like that idea but I would even give him an option to make it 10 years and advise him to bring his family here because he's going to be a cub for a long long time.

  • Have you guys noticed that Patrick Mooney's articles of late, when referencing the Cubs' financial state, are sounding very similar to @GDubCub's?

    That concerns me a bit, as Mooney seems pretty well informed/connected. Have you guys noticed this?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    He has been a bit more pessimistic about the money. I have no way of knowing the Cubs financial situation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,
    I would have to think the offer to Tanaka would have to be more back loaded. This is because the leveraged partnership with the Ricketts and the Tribune (Zell) has to run seven years from its formation for Zell to avoid paying taxes on the on cash distributed to him from the debt incurred by the partnership. Zell avoids paying taxes on this distribution because he is solely responsible for the debt which increases his basis in the partnership allowing him to take the cash out tax free. So Ricketts could not pay down the debt right now even if he wanted to. The CBA mandates that a team's debt can not exceed ten times EBITDA (income from operations). I don't know the accuracy of Forbes assertion that the Cubs were the most profitable MLB team last year, but I would not be surprised if this were the case. The Cubs need to be extremely profitable to carry what has been reported to be the largest debt load of any MLB team. Now this impacts the offer to Tanaka in that the profit for the Cubs needs to remain robust through 2016 (the seven years anniversary of the sale). At that point, Ricketts can pay down the debt thereby decreasing the necessity of the organization to operate at such a high profit. So I would expect the offer to Tanaka to be backloaded with the annual salaries increasing dramatically after 2016.

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    In reply to rdacpa:

    This is a great post.

  • Cliff Lee was the highest paid pitcher in the league LY at $25 million and Justin Verlander, for example, was paid $20.2 million. To pay Tanaka more than Verlander seems likely but unreasonable. I think Chairman Tom will be OK with $15-$18 million for five years, which is in line to slightly over where he was prepared to go for Anibal Sanchez.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    Verlander signed a new deal that pays him $28 million each season from 2015-19

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Also King Felix signed for 7 yrs@$175 Million which is $25 Million AAV

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I think those are going to come back to bite those teams.

  • I StilL Don't Understand Why TheJapanese League Would Agree To ThIs NewPostingSystem. Lose 50 Million & Your Best Players? Insane.

  • In reply to plymkr:

    Yeah, I don't get that either.

  • In reply to plymkr:

    There are probably only a few players a decade that would be above the $20m number, so in general the NPB isn't giving up too much. But I admit it was an unusual negotiation; I suspect MLB owners ganged up to lower the posting fees.

    And note that the NPB player's association had a say in this too on the Japanese side - it's a better result for them, since the (best) players stand to retain significantly more in salary when posted.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    I think it was the smaller market teams crying foul. The same sentiment that lead to the current CBA and removed the ability for major market teams to just buy players via over slot payments via the draft, restricted spending on IFA's, and now limits the posting fee so everyone vs a few rich teams have a chance at the player.

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    Tanaka only made about 5 million or so last year in us money.

    What a raise he's about to get !

    Get Tanaka, get a middle of the order bat to protect Rizzo, and a closer, sprinkle in good health and some luck ( are we not due for some), and watch this team make some noise next year.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I don't think there is a middle of the order type of bat out there. At least not in FA. Corey Hart could've been nice for a 1yr make good contract to re-establish his value... but he is best suited for 1B and Seattle signed him...

  • I'd pass. I wouldn't feel comfortable paying $100 million, including posting fee. I hope the Cubs lose out.

    I don't think the Cubs are that attractive of a destination. I don't think he's going to care about prospects coming and good farm systems. Money is going to obviously be a huge and probably the biggest factor. I think going somewhere with a familiar face might help. I don't know of any prior relationship with Kuroda/Ichiro or Darvish but having someone to ease the transition could be big. Maybe he was a Matsui fan and that gives the Yankees a leg up, who knows? But being the worldwide brand that they are, moreso than the Cubs, and having those Japanese players isn't going to hurt. I'd rather spend the money elsewhere, not necessarily this off-season, just in general.

  • fb_avatar

    Wow, at the top if thus comments section I was in the 7/105-120 range on Tanaka. After reading all of these comments and seeing crazy numbers upwards if $30M AAV thrown maybe I'm wrong.

    Certainly a lot of man love for this guy. I'd really be surprised if HE gets more than $20M per season, let alone $25M or $30M. But I'm no expert. That's a ton of risk to me, and I don't know if I'm dumb or just ignorant but I don't see any team going that high on a pitcher unless it's Clayton Kershaw.

    There's still a lot if money pooled up for many teams. Even with Cano, the Mariners are embarrassingly rich with financial maneuverability and with a large Asian community, they seem like the team most likely to land Tanaka. I think if the bidding goes as high as others have posted, only the Mariners, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers would willingly go that high. I probably wouldn't discount the Red Sox either.

    I'd be leery of a $25M or $30M pitcher but the market is heading that way and by the end of that term, certainly Tanaka will have settled in below what other pitchers get. I shudder to think what Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzjia will expect and get if Tanaka exceeds $25M AAV.

    My 7-105M looks pretty pedestrian right now, to say the least.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I wouldn't go more than $23 mil AAV and would only go that high because the cubs should have young(cheap) arms in the 2-5 rotation spots coming up to help off set that plus it's a huge area of need as well as the fact he's young. Realistically, he's a #2 with #1 potential. You can't pay him like a #1. That would be like giving Shark $20 mil+ because he's a #3 with #2 possibly #1 stuff.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to beckdawg:

    I agree w you a 100% but w the way the way this team has been tanking plus there is going to be serious competition from teams in potentially better markets w japanese players/market and built to win right now.

    I look at it similar to the cano deal. Is Cano overpaid ? Did the mariners give him too many years ? Yes and yes are those answers or he wouldn't be in Seattle right now. This is the problem of being a really bad team w a history of losing so you have to over pay to get the big time Free agents.

    It's not a perfect example but look what happened last year w Anibal Sanchez.

    What a player whose never thrown a pitch in the MLB and is not an obvious ACE like Yu Darvish was ( imagine what he would get under these new rules) should get a 4-5 yr deal for 60-75 million plus posting fee, but the way the market is plus the competition it's going to be ridiculous.

    I am going to guess he gets 7 yrs 150 million.

    Cubs are probably going to have to go to 8-9 yrs ( hopefully they can attach some markers like starts or innings pitched to kick those last few yrs in). Perhaps even an opt clause. Why would he accept? In case hes perhaps better then anyone would have thought or he wants to get out of chicago for some reaso . Similar to the CC Sabathia deal, he had a fantastic season, and the yanks re-upped him for more money/years then they initially signed him for.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    It sucks that there are things like losing going against the cubs but I really can't agree with the "win or else" mentality. It's the difference between an urgency to win and desperation to do it. Just as a for example, let's say he goes for $25 mil+. At that price, I'd rather sign Garza for $17 mil and find a pitcher similar to Josh Johnson who got $8 mil.

  • I say go for Tanaka. I believe the Cubs do have the money, and this is how you spend it and STILL remain way below a typical big market budget. Marketing-wise it will help too. By the way, I love the White Sox deal of closer Addison Reed for D'backs 3B prospect Davidson. Closer is one of the easiest positions to replace for, and the Sox got a very good 3rd prospect. The prospect might not pan out, and Reed, who has a walk rate (but also strikeout rate) could get better. But whenever you can trade a mid-tier 70-inning pitcher for a full-time major-league-ready position player with great upside, you should do it. The Sox have gotten two young major-league-ready players to start this year at 3B and CF (and lead off) for two respectable but not premiere bullpen arms. It's not going to turn them into contenders this year, but quality pickups nonetheless. And with the Cubs signing of Wright, one wonders if bullpen arms is the next market imbalance area Theo/Jed are looking to exploit by adding a lot of LH arms to the pen. It would be smart.

  • Like Michael Canter, I too have been on a roller coaster ride with what to offer Tanaka (assuming he is officially posted) as I read thru the comments. It's easy to get carried when you want a player so badly and you're spending other people's money.

    I think it's important to remind ourselves that it's only partially about doing what it takes to sign him. It's also about how the Cubs scouts have evaluated him and what the FO thinks he's worth.

    On one side, Theo & Co. have shown that they will be aggressive in going after a player they like Anibal Sanchez and reportedly finishing 2nd on Darvish and Ryu. On the other side, they have a distinct history of being value-oriented and responsibly managing the long term health of the franchise.

  • The good news is this will not be a blind bid. They will be able to work with his agent and gauge where they're at. Plus, Tanaka's age allows the Cubs to spend big on him without hurting the long term health of the franchise, something Theo & Jed talk about endlessly.

    The bad news is, obviously, the amount of other highly-motivated bidders, but even more so is the almost rock solid notion that Theo & Co. will not go way beyond what they think his value is.

    With Seattle's large Asian population/connection and their willingness to bid against themselves (see Cano), will the Cubs front office break tradition and do whatever it takes to get him? I'd say that's doubtful. But I would also bet good money, based on reading between the lines of Theo & Jed's comments and on other reporting, that they value him very, very highly. So even if they stay within their value-based system of bidding, they could still win out.

    I'm torn. I have no idea what to expect. Logic says, with the number of other deep pocketed, motivated suitors, chances are against the Cubs landing him. God, I hope this doesn't take long. A lot is riding on this.

  • Apparently, once posted, Tanaka can negotiate for up to 30 days before needing to make a decision. Assuming he is officially posted in the next few days, that would put us about 3 weeks into January at the latest. I don't know if I can handle waiting until then...

  • This all sounds great, but can he put down a bunt?

  • In reply to edubbs:

    Hahahaha!!! Well done!

  • In reply to copinblue:

    I'm half joking and half serious. We need him to execute this as well.

  • One thing that hasn't been mentioned in all this - while most think of Dice-K as a Boston bust (he actually had a great first - and second? - year), apparently Theo & the BoSox biz team lined up a great set of Japanese sponsors right away to offset their big posting fee & contract. In Japan, I actually heard it was a profitable transaction - even before Dice-K fell apart.

    My points: I think a lot of the numbers being thrown around on the Den comment board, especially # of years for a pitcher susceptible to injury, are too long, there just might be ways for Theo (and I guess Crane in this instance) to monetize a hugely popular Japanese player. And there are ways to do this in Chicago, like Boston, even without the huge Seattle/LA local Japanese American populations.

  • Sorry to deviate off of the Tanaka topic
    On topic of minor signings.
    -The news reports say the Yankees signed Brian Roberts for second base. It was a 10 year quest for Hendry to get that guy. I suppose that ends the Yankees interest in Barney.
    -A couple of days ago, the news said the Cubs want to add another left hander. Matt Thorton always looked tough in the cross town classic. What happened to him after he left the White Sox? Does he have anything left?

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Hard to believe he's already 37, but he can still bring it. I think he can still be effective, though he's probably not the dominant LH set up man he once was.

  • So after reading through all the posts, it seems that to land him, we will have to pay him like he is the next Kershaw, even though he probably isn't. If we don't take this enormous risk and grotesquely over pay for an unproven MLB asset, then Ricketts is a tight-assed & greedy Billionaire... that about right?

    I've said all along, and I stand by that sentiment, that it will all come down to how we evaluate and value him. While most sentiment has him being a TOR arm, there are some that feel he isn't an ACE. I'm not saying he is or isn't, but the "go all in" sentiment is what concerns me. While I've felt that at times myself, I don't see there's any way for Epstoyer to win this scenario with the fan base.

    Some have already called this offseason a bust and anything less than landing Tanaka is unacceptable. But Epstoyer won't be tempted to deviate from "the plan" to appease them... If we are not the top bid, there is the possibility that we didn't grade him as highly as some other teams. Or there is the possibility that we are so disciplined in our processes and methodologies that we aren't willing to overpay to get him... I don't know how those can be construed as negatives... but I'm sure they will be.

  • Long time lurker, first time commenter. Great article yet again John. Finding this blog with a realistic/positive view has made me that much more of a Cubs fan. I love reading the comments as much as the articles. Such a different group of commenters that aren't the negative trolls you see on most sites so thank you.

    My 2 cents on Tanaka, is that Theo/Jed are both very high on him and he fits the mold of everything they have been talking about since they got here but they (or Tom) will have to set a max bid which I think will be about 7/165 and if it goes higher than that, they have to walk away. @Rdacpa has great insight about how much money there actually is right now and when it will be freed up. I just don’t think they can say “he is our guy” and throw whatever it takes to get him. Thinking about it I don’t even know if I want them to tie up that much money in an unproven MLB player but in my heart I would love to get him at all costs and speed up the rebuild a bit. Like they have said, he fits the mold perfectly. We are going to have to get one impact free agent in the next year or two to go with our prospects coming through the pipeline so why not make it him

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Thanks iowaCubbie. I think you're right. They probably do have a max set at some figure. I think they're willing to be aggressive but it has to be within some sort of reasonable parameters. There comes a point where you are focusing too much of your resources on one player. As another commenter pointed out, once it gets too high you have to start wondering if the money isn't better used spread out between a couple of players.

  • I don't there anything left to say about Tanaka. Its all been covered and we'll see how it turns out.
    Would Cubs be better off to sign Shark and either Jimenez/Garza than Tanaka??? I know everyone thinks he'll be a #1 but there are risks and Jimenez was throwing great at the end of the year hitting 95 and above like he used to. Of course if you could sign Shark and Tanaka that would be better.

  • The money and years some commentators are willing to spend just doesn't make sense. The Cubs need a TOR pitcher, but not at any cost. Plus, does anyone know what he will be? An overpay could undermine the rebuild.

  • fb_avatar

    Highest AAV for pitchers: Clemens had a one year $28M deal. Hernandez got a 5/135 extension, and with the reminder of his contract added in he is actually at an AAV of $27.1

    Verlander signed a 5/140 deal that was his second contract extension, with a 5/$80 deal coming in 2010, putting his contract at 7/180 in guaranteed money with incentives that could add another $22M. His AAV is a little less than $26M, though with the extension it does push his salary to $28M over the last three seasons of that contract.

    Tanaka is not nearly as good as those pitchers. He's done it against far inferior competition. He may get $25M in AAV because there is so much money available, but due diligence indicates that it isn't likely he becomes the game's highest paid pitcher having not thrown one pitch to MLB batters other than in the WBC.

    Incidentally, did anyone catch the article where NPB wants to start a series that pits the World Series champion against the NPB champion each year? I think that would be amazing and really promote a worldwide culture of baseball even further. Not a fan of Bud Selig, but he has helped globalize the game.

  • What would signing Tanaka (a semi unknown ) to a huge contract do to negotiating with Samardjari?????

  • The 20 million a yr price doesnt seem so bad when you consider every team is getting an extra 25 million a yr from mlb.

  • 【楽天】マー残留へ!会談で「メジャー」表明もポスティングNO

    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20131218-00000036-sph-base

  • In reply to Dazon:

    Tanaka not available ?

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