Challenge of making history could lure Tanaka (well, that and a big pile of money)

Challenge of making history could lure Tanaka (well, that and a big pile of money)

As the days dwindle down to a precious few before Masahiro Tanaka decides where he's going to play,  rumors are beginning to fly from every direction.  The line gets blurred between fact and speculation.  You get tugged in one direction, such as the optimistic reports from Bruce Levine about the Cubs being in the lead, then get tugged in a completely different direction by Gordon Wittenmeyer, who calls the Cubs a "long shot".

There is reason to be skeptical about the Cubs chances.  The Cubs are not a good team at the MLB level at this point and, despite being in a large market, they are just the 3rd largest market in this particular race.  They are also not in an ideal location if we are to believe the rumors about Tanaka's geographical preferences.  Then there is a part of us that expects the worst when it comes to the Cubs.  We have seen them come close but lose out in the very recent past, such as they did with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Anibal Sanchez.  So I get it.  There is some reason to worry.  When you are a Cubs fan, that comes with the territory.

One thing that can give Cubs some hope is this tweet from Levine,

Japanese source said Tanaka loves a challenge and wants to be the man. All that is waiting for him at Clark and Addison.

Some people, including Theo himself, are wired that way.  That is one of the primary reasons he came here.   If this is also true of Tanaka, then you have to think there is no better place than Chicago for him to be the man.  There is no greater challenge out there than the one that faces the Cubs over the next few years.

When I try to think of players who embrace that sort of challenge, I think of guys like Michael Jordan, who stuck with a bad Bulls team and led them to unprecedented greatness.  This is a unique quality in sports today.  Other players, like LeBron James, prefer a ready-made contender to ensure their success.

I also thought of Quentin Richardson, who could have went anywhere as a high school prep but chose struggling DePaul because he wanted to put them back on the map.  He wanted to be the guy who brought others to the once proud basketball school -- which he did, though unfortunately for DePaul, Richardson went pro after his 2nd season.   There is no doubt, however, that he helped turn things around during his time there.

Then there is Bo Jackson, who was reportedly told by then Alabama coach Bear Bryant, "Son, if you go to Auburn you will never beat Alabama."  Well, Bo did go to Auburn and they did beat Alabama.  Auburn went from an also-ran in the SEC to one of the top football programs in the country.  Instead of joining an already great team, he helped rebuild a new one.

I'm not going to compare Tanaka to Jordan, Jackson or anyone else in terms of impact ability, but if he truly has that kind of mentality, then I am certain he will come to Chicago and be a difference maker.  And if he leads the Cubs to a title, he will indeed be the man.  In fact, he'd be a legend in the U.S. like no other player to come out of the NPB.

Hopefully what Levine said of Tanaka is true, but there is at least good reason to think Tanaka is the man from the Cubs side of the equation.  There are things we do know.  We know the Cubs have been scouting Tanaka for a long time -- and have been doing so with more than just your garden variety due diligence type of effort.  There has been an intensity and focus here similar to the kind of long term focus the Rangers had on Yu Darvish.  The reports I've heard indicate that the Cubs believe Tanaka can be an impact pitcher.  They are serious about his ability to be a top of the rotation guy for the net 5-7 years.

Some have expressed financial concerns, but there are solid reasons to believe this won't be an obstacle.  Ricketts has said on numerous occasions that the money will be there when the front office needs it.  Both Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have both confirmed this recently.

I've heard figures and I've seen some numbers thrown around.  Though all of it is just speculation, one part has been consistent: the Cubs are willing to spend big.  If Tanaka doesn't choose the Cubs, it won't be because the Cubs didn't want to spend money.  We can lay that particular concern to rest about any player the Cubs truly feel they need to have -- hopefully for good.

But Tanaka is going to be a wealthy man no matter where he signs so there has to be another reason he comes to Chicago.  For the Cubs to have a chance, that reason isn't going to be about going to be about going to a ready-made contender, the biggest market, or the nicest weather.  It is going to have to come from a burning desire within Tanaka to accept the greatest possible challenge and be at the center of baseball history.

That can only happen in Chicago.


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  • If Tanaka signs, I guarantee you that people will stop talking about the (who cares) mascot!

  • In reply to kissitgoodbye:

    Ha! Agreed.

  • If he is driven his ego should tell him the Cubs are the only team where
    he will be the "Man" and #1 on the team. Cubs fans will welcome
    like a god

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think there are some people who have that personality and I think it can be a great thing for the cubs if Tanaka has that kind of make-up. I think he would impact the Cubs more than any other team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope your right John

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Me too :)

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I saw a tweet that Tanaka's wife also wants to be a star. I'm sure that in Chicago she would have that opportunity as well. Theo could speak one word to ease her concerns....... Oprah

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Ha! I didn't think of that.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Don't take for granted that Cub fans will be so "welcoming." Remember the racist paraphernalia that sprung up around Wrigleyville in the Fukudome years? The rice paddy hats, the bucktoothed Cubs logos, and all the rest. Koske was hurt by it and publicly asked fans to stop, to no avail. I've never been more embarrassed to be a Cub fan than I was during that sorry spectacle.

  • I wish his wife wasn't pursuing a singing career on either coast where the media matters more.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That is a factor but I have to think the Cubs addressed that too.

  • You know who Michael Jordan is?
    Well, you can be the baseball version of Michael Jordan.
    You can even live in Michael Jordan's house!

    If you go to these other teams you'll be just another guy no matter how good you do.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I never thought of Michael Jordan's house - you know, no joke, that might not be a bad inducement to throw in.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It Tanaka wants to be the Man, he will want his have his own house not Jordan's.

  • It puts a smile on my face thinking of the Cubs sneaking Tanaka away from the Evil Empire East and the Evil Empire West.

  • Part of me wants the Cubs to go all out and sign Tanaka (and I'll be very excited if the do), but another part of me thinks that if we don't, a few years from now, we'll be thinking that we dodged a bullet.

  • His wife will not get lost in the hype and will be given a great chance in Chicago

  • MLB Rumors report on Cafardo from the Boston Globe "Cafardo hears that the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka could get as high as $120MM over six years and that he could shake hands on a deal before the January 24th deadline."

    Much lower then earlier speculation.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Let's hope Theo is a great poker player

  • In reply to Oneear:

    That's just it. So many numbers from so many different people. I can't feel confident with exact figures right now -- but I'm confident the Cubs will bid highest, whatever that number is.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But does the highest bid win his services? Can the Cubs raise their initial offer? He might get a ridiculous offer from the Cubs, only to take a lower amount from LA or NY.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I will be shocked if $120MM gets this done.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:


  • In reply to Oneear:

    I saw a reported 8 year contract @ 20 million per yr + the 20 MM posting fee mentioned or was that speculation ? Either way 8 years is just outright scary. Maybe 6 years at a total of 138 MM (23 PER YR.) for a total investment of 158 MM on the Cubs part.That would maybe make the effort to extend Shark at 4 yrs. 15 MM = 60.A large amount on two pitchers,enough too make Ricketts's family gulp

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    Should I take anything from the Yankee's requesting Ervin Santana's medical records?

  • In reply to Patrick Fahey:

    Yes...that is proably their plan B and they're preparing themselves for it. I hope it means they aren't as hopeful as they were, but it could also just mean they believe there will be a rush on other pitchers after Tanaka decides.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It's just another draft pick, what the hell. That's their second rounder going bye-bye. That team is so all in on this year with an above average team it isn't even funny.

    Garza's demands and injury records must be completely off-putting. (Some whispers to that effect reported on mlbtraderumors.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    How does that work? They should be out two picks already - ellsbury, mccann, and Beltran in and cano out. Who gets there first round picks and who gets the second round - and third if they sign Santana.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    They also lost Granderson. No one gets the picks. They just disappear into the ether and the team that loses a player gets a sandwich pick.

  • I don't get the location thing. This isn't 1945, they can be anywhere in the US in 4 hours out of Chicago. They aren't flying coach.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    When you have millions, getting there is never a problem.
    Plus, you are closer to opportunities on both coasts.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    The cubs might not have the best clubhouse yet, but I did some figuring awhile ago and deduced that the cubs provide the easiest travel of any team in baseball. They never have to travel 3 time zones. And have the smallest division travel boundries with 460 miles to Pittsburgh 92 to Milwaukee. Which matters so much over 162 games.

  • Because flights to Toyko head north, LA is only a slightly shorter flight than Chicago. 10h 50m, as compared to 12h 25m.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Good point. The only thing remaining IMO would be Tanaka's wanting to be the man in Chicago. The weather in Chicago early in the season will not be a positive thing to Tanaka however.Good thing we play away games,hopefully in warmer climes.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Isn't Toyko's climate more akin to Chicago's and the east north east as opposed to LA or Florida? I seem to remember four seasons when I was stationed there some time ago.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I posted about this awhile ago, but I really don't get the location thing either. Given the baseball schedule, it's not like he really has a chance to get back to Japan during the season anyway and during the offseason, he can go/live wherever he wants.

  • Levine tweeted yesterday that the Cubs have an offer of in the neighborhood of $160 million on the table. I don't know if this amount is true or not, we'll see in the coming days. If the Cubs do land Tanaka, Shark will follow suit. I still don't get why Chicago is always the 2nd or third fiddle when it comes to signing players. Living in LA or NY is flat-out crazy. i grew up in the Chicago area (Zion) and loved every minute of it. Lived in Orange County, CA and suffered through 3 earthquakes, forest fires, and a culture shock, I never got quite used to. Come to the Toddlin Town, Tanaka!

  • If the challenge of being the man and breaking historic curses isn't enough to bring him here, then I don't want him here for the amount that we are overbidding for him

  • If the Cubs get him Jeff's price goes up (In his mind)

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Separate situations. Samardzija has said a Tanaka signing would make him more likely to sign with the Cubs.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Far from mutually exclusive events. Yes the amount the cubs are willing to spend on Jeff goes up b/c they are then committed to driving this bus forward, and cannot afford the setback of a Shark trade. Samardzija may be willing to sign sooner, but I think both sides are more motivated to yet a long term deal done. These two players are so tied together at this point. Tanaka affects Shark's future no matter where he signs...

  • In reply to Jordan Dutcher:

    I agree from that perspective, Jordan. I meant to say that I don't think Tanaka's contract amount affects Samardzija's asking price.

  • Tanaka won Japan's championship against the Yomiuri Giants, their version of the Yankees. So yeah, I could see him embracing a "giant killer" role on the Cubs.

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    Good point.

  • Having Fujikawa on the roster isn't a bad thing either. He'd be a person Tanaka could rely upon to get comfortable in Chicago.

    Also see Professor Parks has Baez as #4 prospect in all baseball behind Buxton, Boegarts, and Taveras.

  • I agree with all of this for the most part. The problem is, if Tanaka signs and he struggles, then everyone jumps on the 'The contract is so big he is trying to hard to live up to it'.....or.....'There is to much pressure on him to bring a WS to the Cubs because he was anointed as the savior'.....

    If / when the Cubs get to the WS, the pressure will be insane - a pressure that is greater than any team has probably ever faced - in any sport -- literally. The players will be asked about the history / WS drought constantly. It will take a special group to not fold like a cheap tent, let alone actually get it done. I'm of the belief that the team will either need some legit seasoned veterans that have been there before and/or guys that can help the team take the focus off of the past. If memory serves, the 2004 Red Sox had some crazy vets that were credited with loosening up the team. They were called the Wild Bunch or Idiots or something.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I think the Cubs team that makes the playoff will be a young team that will expect to get to the playoffs repeatedly. This will lower the pressure on them. They can always reason that even if they mess up they will learn from the experience and get farther in the playoffs the next year. There is real pressure when this year is the only year you expect to contend.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I agree. If they get Tanaka, we'll see some more additions follow.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Next year's free agent class could be very intriguing to us. I've said it many times, but as much as its talked about on here about spending when the timing is right, next year could look great from a timing perspective. If the kids look ready, then the possible available pitching could help a lot.

    Beside that, 2015 could bring a new (at least partial) TV deal and the Video board will be up. That's two very real and very possible sources of revenue to support some added spending.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Absolutely...agreed on all counts there.

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    Topic shift while we wait for Tanaka's decision....The Blackhawks are playing a classic against Boston. I hope future Cubs games are this good soon.

  • In reply to Chi City Classic:


  • So I believe there was a Wladimir Galindo post earlier back, is his official signing legit? I haven't seen it posted anywhere on the Cubs website.

  • In reply to snipeshooter:

    It's legit, but I don't know if they've made it official yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Okay thank you, and btw all of you writers on this website do a terrific job. I check it pretty much everyday, just wanted to let ya know of my appreciation.

  • I just have a hard time believing that tanaka knows or even cares about the history of cubs. I don't think he is leaving Japan thinking I want to help cubs with the 100+ year drought. He is thinking. I am gonna get PAID!!!

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I would expect Theo is making sure Tanaka knows about Cub history and what it could mean for his legacy. That is why Theo is so good and he usually gets what he wants and he wants Tanaka. Tanaka is thinking he will be rich too.

  • In reply to John57:


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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    thank you.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    If it only it were as simple as giving him the best offer. He's going to get paid no matter what, but if you think athletes strictly go where the most money is, then you're wrong.

    Money is going to be the biggest factor. But if the money is close, then other factors come into play. And I would think that any player making this big a change and whose dream it is to play in MLB would know about the Cubs.

    It will also be impressed upon him by Theo.. Special athletes and people are drawn to challenges.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just think when you were 25 and were going to play pro ball in a foreign country. One wouldn't care or know the history of the Tokyo giants. One would be thinking wow I wonder who is gonna pay me the most. I don't think I am wrong to think a 25 yr old kid is gonna focusing on getting paid. If one was approaching 30 his priorities would change.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If special athletes like a challange. Why haven't the cubs lured in any "special athletes" lately?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Not athletes, but Theo and his staff came here precisely for those challenges. And I have already given you examples of players who have done so in other sports. Those kind of people may be far and few between, but they are out there.

    It will certainly take money but if you think all that matters to everyone is money, then I disagree. Don't assume you know what motivates every individual. People are different. Some are motivated by money or safe situations, but I know many people who aren't.

  • Apparently Tanaka threw a 30 pitch bullpen session using MLB baseballs and claims they give more sink to his 2-seamer compared to NPB balls. If true, that's a pretty nice surprise.

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    Hmmm...very interesting.

  • We are making the assumption that Tanaka will want to come to the States. He may change his mind. Leaving your home of 25 years is probably not an easy decision. He prefers a Japanese-American community and his wife is apparently in show business. That counts for Los Angeles. But at the same time he wants to be the ace. Chicago can offer him that. L.A. can't. The cubs may be in the lead money-wise but we don't know for sure. If we are that's in Chicago's favor. The chance to be a leader who brings a world series to Chicago is something L.A. can't offer. New York has an aging club and will have to rebuild. It has glamour but I think it's between L.A. and Chicago this time around.. If it is between those two IMO Chicago may have an edge.

  • Did Theo/Jed break their no trade clause policy???

  • It's seems an incredible long-shot that Tanaka's ego can be teased by appeals to make history for a major league ball club he has had little awareness his whole life. That said, the Texas signing of Darvish shows the coasts do not have a lock on these signings, and Curt Shilling's signing in 2007 with the Red Sox after incredibly deep homework by Theo & team shows they know how recruit the person and not just the player. I just doubt any foreign player will give two hoots about the Cubs history that enthralls lifelong fans.

    Of greater appeal to his history ego would be to be the first Japanese Cy Young or surpass Chan Ho Park's record of ML wins by an Asian player (124). But those are franchise non-specific.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Why would individual awards and goals entice him more than team goals? I don't think we can know for certain what motivates individuals. There are examples of personalities that look for challenges, 3 of which were noted here (4 if you count Theo). Why would Theo care about the Cubs history? He's a lifelong Red Sox fan.

    I think people are underestimating people and what motivates them. Seems awfully cynical to boil a person's motivations down to money and awards.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So you don't think an American baseball executive would care more about making American baseball history (and incidentally the HOF) than a Japanese player? That's a bit naive.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I think a good player with strong make-up wants a challenge. And a truly good player wouldn't define a challenge as beating Chan-Ho Park's win total (thought that did make me chuckle). Aim high!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't disagree with this as an ideal. But as for Tanaka, one is just speculating. The Hall of Fame has ample examples of me-first poor teammates. Frank Thomas was always very stats obsessed. Ricky Henderson and Reggie Jackson. George Brett and Dennis Eckersly were both known for having gargantuan Black Holes of an egotistic personality. Future HOF Ichiro Suzuki also had this label, especially when younger, but now is chasing an elusive title. In fact, that is the most typical trend in all sports. Me-first when young, and then more team-oriented as one ages. That was the case with Jordan as well.

    And to believe that he should be more fulfilled as an athlete winning the Cubs first championship in a century than the Mariners' first championship ever or as the ace on the Yankees' 27th championship, well that seems completely subjective based on the team one roots for.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    No, he's going after Chan-Ho Park's "Asian playe win record", remember? Great one. Still makes me chuckle.

  • John, this was well done. I've gone back and forth on our chances of signing T. Your premise has a lot of merit. When taking new jobs I've always considered the organization, my role and ability to make an impact. I think Theo/Jed give us an advantage in their ability to present a compelling story for the future of the franchise, and bring credibility as well. If we are competitive with dollars/contract I like our chances.

  • In reply to ccia:

    Thanks. I have as well and I know others who have preferred a challenge. One friend turned down a higher paying job for a large, famous company and took a chance to grow with a smaller one. That was a decade ago. He's a CEO now. He's incredibly skilled at what he does and just another example of someone who prefers a challenge over the safe route.

    If he is anything like my friend, then a decision to get more money and a bigger challenge would be very enticing.

  • John - Sorry if you already mentioned this, but any idea why most people aren't listing cost of living as a huge factor? $120 mil in LA or NY might be the equivalent of $180 mil in Chicago... At least from looking at the $ per S.F. of a house, etc.

    I think the idea that the Cubs would need to top LA or NY's offer (which I'm seeing from other media outlets) isn't necessarily true, when considering cost of living.

  • In reply to Tom Jacks:

    Taxes in California are onerous as well.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Good point. That would only add to the case for Chicago...

  • In reply to Tom Jacks:

    I think we touched on that once but some didn't think it would make a significant difference. But I agree with you that it does mean something that his money will go further here in Chicago.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cost of living beyond taxes doesn't factor much once one becomes a millionaire. Investment vehicles and real estate are COLA neutral. A millionaire is not going avoid coming to Chicago because gas is $.20 a gallon higher than Seattle or NY, or that he pays $5 more for his Ruth's Chris steak dinner.

  • John, For what it's worth it's now 7:15 a.m., Jan. 20 in Tokyo.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    The clock is ticking!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Tanaka Time!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very true, at this point there are so many conflicting stuff coming out about Tanaka, it's hard to believe anything. You have some people hearing that many MLB people believe the Cubs will get him than you have others who believe that there is no way he signs here...whatever. We will all see very soon.....I'm not even going to try to predict

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I'm not going to predict either and I have to agree that we have to wait and see. I don't think you can rule out the Cubs.

  • I saw that the White Sox are one of the five teams that are supposed to be in on Tanaka. Why would anyone like that even consider going to the Sox? They have neither a present nor a future.

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    In reply to JayPea:

    They can't let their fan base think they just let the Cubs have him without trying. I'm surprised more teams didn't throw in a token offer.

  • I'm reading articles on Google today about Tanaka' s high risk and pitchers from Japan not living up to their hype. East coast stuff getting their fans not to get too hopeful?

  • If Cubs don't land Tanaka, what's Plan B?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Stand pat.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Uncontrolled sobbing?

    In all seriousness, I think the Cubs will go to sign another starter, maybe two. I'd look at Maholm and/or Hammel.

  • As a Lebron supporter I have to point out that free agency was very different in the 80's. It's not like Jordan could have left an unrestricted free agent like Lebron. Also Jordan had one of the 50 greatest players and someone who finished 3rd in the MVP voting without MJ in 94, while the best sidekick Lebron had in 7 years in Cleveland was Mo Williams

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Pippen came to the Bulls through the draft and became a good ballplayer. He was pretty raw. Jordan made those around him better. LeBron could not. He needed those players handed to him on a silver platter. He had to have a ready-made package to win. We'll never know if you could have built a team around LeBron, because he wasn't strong enough to make it happen. Too afraid to try. LeBron may be an incredibly skilled basketball player, but he is not cut out of the same cloth. The way I see it, Jordan was a man. LeBron is a boy. One earned his rings, the other felt he was entitled to them.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    LeBron DID take a pretty awful Cleveland team to the finals...I'd never argue he's better than Jordan, but I think he takes way too much flack for a bad decision (the decision).

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    He probably does. I know I give him a a disproportionate amount of flack. Would have liked him better if he won a title in Cleveland.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A fair assessment John. Although I would argue that it wasn't until both Jordan learned to be a bit more of a team player, and until he had a strong enough core of role players to cover his few weaknesses (Pippen, Grant, Paxon, Cartright), AND until they found a coach that could manage those personalities,.... that the Bulls real run at greatness & consistency got rolling.

    In many ways - building a consistent basketball team is a different scheme than building a consistent baseball team. A basketball team really can be built around 1 or 2 core star players. A baseball team can't really be carried by 1 or 2 core star players. After all - even an 'unbeatable' starting pitcher only starts every 4-5 games, and even a 'superstar' player only bats 4-ish times per game an gets on base less than half the time.

    You are absolutely right though about LeBron. Great raw talent - but unable to really help those around him grow into better players. Jordan was amazingly hard on Pippen his first couple years - and man did it pay off for both of them.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


    Lebron is known for making teammates better. We'll never know if it wouldn't have worked in Cleveland? The Cavs had 7 years of him. They gave him nothing to work with. Their are only a few instances in NBA history of a player winning a NBA title single-handily, which LeBron was asked to do. Jordan could not do it. He needed Pippen. Pippen was a Top 5 pick, he might have been raw but he had loads of talent and did it when Jordan wasn't around, Jordan didn't make him better when he was playing baseball. Not one of LeBron's sidekicks was close to Pippen.

    Bulls first season without Jordan... 55 wins, 2 less than the year before. 3rd seed in the East (2 GB the #1 seed) with a bondafide MVP candidate in Pippen.

    Cavs first season without LeBron...19 wins, 42 fewer than the year before. 2nd worst team in the NBA.

    Jordan's coaches: Alback, Collins, and Jackson
    LeBron's coaches: Silas (coached a 7 win NBA team in the lockout season, Brown, and Spolestra.

    Jordan would have been a boy on the Cavs too.

    Anyway...that doesn't take away from the main point, Jordan couldn't leave the Bulls, he didn't take on some extraordinary challenge.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Can't win without teaming up with veteran established stars to help him. And we'll never know if he could have. Took the easy way out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nothing wrong with that, in the past 35 years in the NBA, only three teams have won the NBA title that had less than two Hall of Famers (or future hall of famers) on it. You never hear about greats like Shaq or KG criticized for not winning until they teamed up with superstars. Jordan didn't win a title until he had an established veteran star with him. Whether the person is drafted or he teamed up with them, the sentence rings true.

    And that's how you win in the NBA. Cleveland didn't help him get the sidekick, and they had seven years to do so, he helped himself. Good for him. Why stay with incompetent management to appease people who are going to criticize him anyway?

    2012- Bosh missed most of the Indiana and Boston series.
    2013- Wade was badly hobbled the last two rounds of the playoffs, Bosh scored 0 points in Game 7 of the NBA Finals was outplayed by Duncan and West/Hibbert the final two rounds.

    Lebron won in spite of his established veteran stars, not because of them.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Maybe there's nothing wrong with that, but for me that means he doesn't fit as an example for this piece.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John I love your work and clearly you know a lot about baseball but you need to stick to that because its also clear you don't know a lot about basketball

  • In reply to Matt:

    Lots of LeBron fans getting upset, apparently. If Tanaka signs with the Dodgers and joins their superstar staff, then we can make a LeBron analogy. But he doesn't fit this particular piece.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Jordan analogy doesn't fit the piece either because he was binded contractually to the Bulls. No ones getting upset, it's just a lot inaccuracies in the analogy to begin with and trying to set the record straight. Bosh wasn't considered a superstar before and he's not a superstar now. By the way I forgot to mention earlier, Pippen didn't come to the Bulls via the draft, he was traded for by management.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    With saying that, this isn't a basketball blog so I'll refrain from talking about it from now on. This thread shouldn't get off-topic, it has nothing to do with Cubs baseball or the pursuit of Tanaka.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Exactly, this thread has nothing to do with the topic and I've spent far too much time responding to it.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    In a pre-arranged draft deal, splitting hairs -- which is pretty much what you do all the time. Why do you even read my blog if the only thing you do is find the slightest things to disagree with? Do you just like trolling?

    These are loose analogies about players who took the challenge of leading the resurgence of an organization. When I write about players who run away from difficult situations and join up with two all-stars, then I'll use the LeBron analogy.

  • In reply to Matt:

    x2, put the mouse down, I hate LeBron but theres no one better in the NBA in making his teammates better. Theres a reason hes routinely compared to Magic

  • In reply to Juanky:

    Lets get down to brass tacks:
    How good at flopping is Tanaka?

  • I like the Cubs chances here not the least of which is because of the challenge, as John says.

    But it's a mistake to underestimate the power of the coasts. If a career in the entertainment industry in sought, Chicago can't compare to LA or NYC in that regard. And, NYC is basically the capital or the world; it's certainly the media capital of world, and that may be a powerful factor. It won't come down to just money.

    But I'm not convinced LA is willing to commit close to $400M to two pitchers within a week and when it comes to the Yanks, well Theo owes Cashman one on the Girardi score. I'm betting that the Cubs history, the challenge that comes with it, and Theo himself will tip the scales in our favor over the Dodgers.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    No doubt the coasts will have a strong pull. I'm definitely worried about that. I agree with what you say about LAD. I think they have the money, but after ponying up for Greinke and then paying good money for Ryu -- and now huge money for Kershaw, do they really want to invest that much money in a 4th good starter? I don't know if that's the best way to use their resources.

    I've always worried most about the Yankees on this one. They're desperate and they're wealthy, but I hope you are right and Theo owes Cashman! I also think it will be a mistake if TAnaka goes to the Yankees.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    If the dodgers sign Tanaka for $20 mil a year, that would bring their top of the rotation to $76 million in 2014. Wouldn't that be more than the entire Cubs team?

  • Outstanding article, John. His decision will speak to where his head is competitively.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Thanks. I do think it will say a lot about what kind of competitor he is. It'd be a gutsy move for him to sign with the Cubs.

  • The last time I've been this excited, the Cubs stole Ernie Broglio from the Cards for an inconsistent outfielder.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:


  • I think the only other competition is the Dodgers....not the Yankees. As much as the east coast media wants the Yanks to be players, I don't see it. The vibe I get from Brian Cashman is to star re-tooling from within. As for the Dodgers, they have the money and can way overpay if they want to.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    See, I'm more worried about the Yankees. I think they're more desperate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    LOL...that's funny. You very well could be right, I get the sense that Cashman is getting sick of overpaying for free agents. Then again, he might be feeling serious heat from Hal and Hank Steinbrenner to do something

  • I read an article saying the Dodgers GM has been in touch daily with Tanaka's agent. Hope this isn't an omen.

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    Where there is fire there is ? (Be creative)

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    fuel and oxygen

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    someone pissing on it

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to emartinezjr:

    someone getting high

  • See , I'm getting the vibe that the Dodgers are going to be the Cubs main rival. I think the Yankees will make a push but since I think Cashman is not fully "all in" on Tanaka, I don't see them being the highest bidder. My fear is that the Dodgers will use the whole west coast thing that seems to be a draw for Asian players...and of course their huge wad of cash they have.

  • John, I feel better knowing the Cubs scouted him as thorough as they did. A lot of sushi and octopus on our face if he flops...

  • In reply to edubbs:

    It's only money (Not ours)

  • In reply to edubbs:

    Well, we can say they did their best to sign him, but it will still be disappointing.

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    John, we need you to step away from the computer so Tanaka will announce he is signing with us...

  • In reply to Chi City Classic:

    That won't happen until Tuesday :)

  • John,

    So I talked to your buddy Patrick Mooney (super nice!) about the whole Tanaka situation and he just wasn't having it. I told him about all the rumors and he simply said, "I haven't heard that." He did mention Tanaka's wife being a huge part of the decision due to her status back in Japan. She's some kind of actress and has had huge success in Japan. I did want to clarify something...I think she knows that her success is in Japan and not here in the states. Having said that I don't think Tanaka has in the back of his mind.."I need to move to LA or NYC so my wife can be successful here too."

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Wasn't having what part? What rumors? That the Cubs would sign him?

    I don't know if they'll sign him. I haven't heard any real rumors either, just the ones I've read online. I only know they've scouted him for a long time and they will make a serious offer.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I mentioned that twitter was blowing up about the Cubs being the odds on favorite to sign him. He wasn't arguing either way, he just said, he hadn't heard anything. Basically he didn't want to comment because he didn't research enough.

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Ahh...Mooney is always rational. I tend to agree. Probably not enough info to know if Cubs are truly favorites. I think it's more speculation than anything.

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    I badly want to believe the Cubs have a shot at Tanaka but it doesn't add up. In my opinion, the Yankees are a slam dunk. And they know they aren't getting under the 189 to reset the luxury tax so they're going to pounce on Santana after they reel in Tanaka.

  • Rumor has it that the Cubs offered 7-160. If true, that's one big pile of money, all right. Assuming that the deal has a significant signing bonus or is otherwise front loaded, it is difficult to see how even the Dodgers with their funny money could offer as much cash in the short term. Here's hoping that the intangibles put it over the top.

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    (Our intangibles, not the Yankees' or Dodgers'.)

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    In reply to SouthBender:

    Here's hoping the Cubs haven't offered over 20 million per season.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Sorry Ray, but I beleive your hope is in vein.

  • In reply to Ray:

    I'm with you, Ray. That's insane money for an unproven (MLB) guy. I'm almost hoping they don't get him and then funnel that money back into 2 other guys. (Even if they delay doing so for another year or two.) They might even have money left over to bolster the bullpen with some real talent.

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    In reply to xhooper:

    Sadly, $10milyr doesn't get you much of a pitcher though. A career swing man like Feldman, who has posted an ERA over 5.00 in four of the past six seasons, now makes $10mil yr. I'd rather gamble $20 mil a year on Tanaka being an ace than settle for a pair of "Marty" Feldmans.

  • John, just sent you a few photos from this side of the world. Tanaka was working out with his soon-to-be-former team Rakuten today in Japan. Unfortunately, he wouldn't say a thing to the press...

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    Thanks Craig!

  • If Tanaka's wife is indeed such a big factor in all of this, how about Ricketts offering the use of a private jet for him and his wife? The only thing is, other players would have to be offered some use of it too, to be fair, but that all could probably be worked out.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    They sold the jet in a cost cutting move to free up funds for the Dominican facility. They are now leasing a bi-plane piloted by Snoopy.

    That might appeal to her, though, because Snoopy is a film star too.

  • I think the Cubs best chance at bringing Tanaka to Chicago is simply that we value him more and make a better offer than what the Yankees and Dodgers believe is his worth. Girardi used the Cubs to pressure the Yanks, but maybe Cashman isn't sold this time. The Dodgers might want to save their 'funny money' for a proven major leaguer.

  • Some free agents are like wolves--they want to eat what they kill. Others are like dogs (Sanchez?)--they wait at the table for something to drop on the floor. Tanaka seems like a wolf to me. If he doesn't sign here, it won't be because the Cubs are not going to be competitive for the next year or two. I've seen the Ricketts/Epstein/Kenney dog-and-pony show twice now. If they gave that presentation to Tanaka and his agent, then, given that the money is there, Tanaka is going to give the Cubs serious consideration and it may trump geographical and other concerns.

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