Tanaka to sign with the Yankees

Well, the Cubs gave it a great effort but they came up short.   In the end, the bright lights of New York City and a chance to win next year probably won Tanaka over.

The Cubs were always going to be a tough sell.  It's tough to ask anyone to look at the big picture.  As a Cubs fan, I know.

Time will tell if Tanaka made the right decision.  I believe that in 2 years, he'll have wished he had signed here with an up and coming team.  He will have looked behind him and wished he had a team with a good defense that can support a style that has become more pitch-to-contact in recent times.  He's going to wish that RF porch wasn't short.  He's going to look back when he's in his prime and look around the clubhouse and see overpaid, past peak players and a Cubs team that will be the talk of baseball.

Or maybe that's just sour grapes on my part.

This is one of the few times I believed the Cubs had a legitimate shot at landing the big free agent.  We can at least be encouraged that they were willing to spend and spend big.

Now it's off to plan B.  Let the Maholm and Hammel watch begin!

That just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Cubs, Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees


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  • David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 56s
    7/155. Cubs were reportedly runner up. Dodgers did not go to that level. Cubs not ready to win ended shot. @Ken_Rosenthal broke story

    I would rather have the Cubs finish 3rd than listen to more of the "runner up" narrative...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    ...always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

  • Hoping Rosenthal jumped the gun but I'm not counting on it.
    So now what do we talk about?

  • But in all fairness to give a guy the type of money that sets inbetween the likes of Sabthia/Kershaw and King Felix/Verlander, when he has yet to throw a MLB pitch.... How will he ever provide any value to that deal. He has to reach his ceiling or he's a bust, just like any other FA. Don't get me wrong, I'm bummed we didn't get him. But we should be able to land a true ACE next year, and one that is a proven MLB commodity...

  • Onley comfirmed

  • I instantly thought the same thing john. He is gonna regret not picking the cubs. I still dont thinkthe yankees will make the playoffs this year.

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    I think they could make the playoffs, not the WS, though. And, I think it gets increasingly hard for them to compete in the following years.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    They are going to need to have great years from their stars. They really had no business being in the race for the playoffs last year. Their team was terrible. It's going to be a lot better next year, but with gaping holes.

  • Maybe it's for the best. Don't think the Yankees can win it even w/ him. Glad the Dodgers didn't get him.

  • "Well, the Cubs gave it a great effort but they came up short."

    Unfortunately, this is becoming an all-too-common narrative. While the cost is all but impossible to measure, there is clearly a cost for not putting up a pretense of trying to compete for 3 consecutive years.

  • In reply to Pete:

    Tribune Company-esque.

    It sucks that either the Cubs were outbid, and thus not really committed to spending big on the right guy, or that they did place the highest bid, but have put together a major league club so bad that a player would rather take less to play elsewhere.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I'm sorry, but your either/or scenario is a false dilemma. There are other possibilities that you don't list or consider:

    Tanaka wanted greater marketing possibilities.

    Tanaka/Tanaka's wife wanted to be in the biggest market possible. Sorry, but Chicago does not measure up to NY in this area.

    The history (franchise success) of the Yankees was too much to pass up.

    The Asian population/neighborhoods are more abundant, of greater quality, etc (comfort away from home).

    And I'm sure people can think of even more reasons why he might choose NY over Chicago. You might not agree with the reasons. You may not even think they're viable. But that doesn't mean your false dilemma is right.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    these are hypothetical possibilities. I'm not saying Tanaka actually wanted them/considered them etc.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I have not seen any reports of the scenarios you've listed. The two reasons being reported have been that the Cubs were outbid by the Yankees (the Cubs topped out at 150/7) and I've seen that they lost because they would not be immediately competitive. I don't know if they lost because of both or just one of those of reasons, butI don't like what either says about the organization.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    If that's truly what the Cubs topped out at then it seems entirely likely that the Yankees told his agent to get the best offer he could and then they would top it to get the deal done.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I have not seen any reports of the scenarios you've listed. The two reasons being reported have been that the Cubs were outbid by the Yankees (the Cubs topped out at 150/7) and I've seen that they lost because they would not be immediately competitive. I don't know if they lost because of both or just one of those of reasons, but I don't like what either says about the organization.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    You don't know the reason Tanaka chose NY. It could have been he always dreamed of playing for the Yankees or his wife saw greater career opportunities in NY. Why do you assume it was the Cubs recent record was the determining factor. Unless you spoke to him personally and he told you that. You are making a lot of assumptions.

  • In reply to John57:

    Ken Rosenthal, "Sources: #Yankees separated themselves on Tanaka, but not by much. " Yankees offered more.

    Phil Rogers, "How serious were Cubs about Tanaka? Deadly serious. Haven't confirmed this but the word is they went to $150 million." $5 million lower than the Yankee offer.

    Tom Loxas, "It came down to competitiveness for Tanaka, I'm told. Cubs were just too far off." The crappy MLB product the Cubs are putting out isn't very attractive to prime FAs.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    I just read the Cubs offer was in the $160 million range. That makes them $5 million higher than the Yanks. How do you know Tanaka didn't choose NY for its glamour?

  • In reply to John57:

    Well, Rogers and Rosenthal have the Cubs being outbid (above).

    But let's say it was close. If we were a big market team that wanted to land him we should have had the resources to blow the Yankees out since the Cubs won't have to pay the luxury tax on this contract, but Yankees will. When you consider what the Yankees are actually paying to get Tanaka it's a more than the 150-160 the Cubs offered.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    The Cubs HAVE the resources to "blow the Yankees out." They also have the brains not to spend those resources so stupidly. The Yankees have no choice, since their farm system isn't producing much and their fan base thinks they're being cheated if they don't win at least every-other World Series.

    We're still suffering the effects of the resources committed to Soriano. If $23 million a year ain't enough to sign an unproven and possibly overused pitcher, the Yankees can have him.

  • In reply to CubsML:

    John Arguello speculates, "a chance to win next year probably won Tanaka over."

  • I'm happy. I never thought he was right for this team now. Crazy to pay that amount of money while they wait on the rest of the team. Anybody want a slightly used karaoke machine?

  • That's a major downer. I really thought the Cubs would land him though I suspect I was wearing my Cubs-colored glasses the whole time.

  • As usual, John, I think you are right on the mark. Our day will come, perhaps sooner than we think.

  • The Cubs will always have a disadvantage in high profile situations like this simply because the midwest is just way less sexy than NY or LA. Screw him...the FO has shown they will pursue TOR pitching to the ends of the earth if that's what it takes. They'll land a big fish sooner or later.

    We'll be OK! Everyone take a breath!

  • Well you were right John, the Yankees it is . It sucks because the Cubs are getting more attractive but until they start being competitive it's going to be hard to get guys like Tanaka

  • Stay the course and we'll invest the money better next year. At least he's going to the American League. Remember how great Dice K was supposed to be. Well he was for about 3 years.

  • In reply to Seanster83:

    Also there's Yankees History with Japanese pitchers:

    Kei Igawa - $46 million; 71 IP, 2-4 record , 6.6 ERA, 53 K, -.6 WAR

    Hideki Irabu – $16mil + 2 players; 400IP, 29-20 record, 4.8ERA, 315K, 3.6 WAR
    Tanka - $89 - 155mil (+20mil); ????

    Side note, while looking up specific numbers I realized that the H. Irabu deal was not nearly as bad a deal as it seemed at the time or is still perceived today. Way overpaid, definitely! Nothing compared to the Igawa, A-Rod or Texiera deals, though.

  • I'll doubt he'll regret anything too hard.

    1) He's making gobs of money.
    2) He gets to call New York City, arguably the best city in the world, his home.
    3) His wife is probably very happy.
    4) He can opt out in 4 years when he's 30 and sign another bomb contract....maybe even with the Cubs, and time wise, it might sink up perfectly with when the Cubs are truly competitive.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Agreed. If the Yankees are not in contention 4 years from now, and the Cubs truly are the talk of the league then we could very well see Tanaka opt out to join the Northsiders on a historic Championship run, at the age of 30 he would still be right in his prime and at that point the Cubs will know exactly what they are paying for.

    At present the Yanks are taking a ginormous risk by paying Tanaka $22+ Million/per year AAV. The 5th highest paid pitcher in Baseball, but that doesn't mean it won't work out. Who knows, Tanaka could very well win a World Series with the Yanks in the next couple of years (they obviously are willing to spend), then opt out in year 4 and win another couple championships with the Cubs.

  • Steve Berthiaume ‏@BertDbacks 4m
    #Yankees have spent half a BILLION dollars this winter & still have Kelly Johnson likely starting at 3B & Brian Roberts at 2B.

    OK, maybe my grapes are a little sour today because I really enjoyed this...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Love it Dan!

    They're legit contenders... but at the same time, I wouldn't be shocked to see them miss the playoffs...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Nothing wrong with a few sour grapes NSI,... as long as you don't get too obsessive about it.

  • That opt-out after four years clause may have been the deal killer for the Cubs. We'd effectively be paying out around $110 million for two competitive years and two non-competitive years.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I was thinking the same thing. Cubs probably did not want to go there.

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    In reply to cubsin:

    Agreed. We can front-load a contract all we want, but an opportunity to become a FA again in 4 years is mighty appealing.

    Especially now that Kershaw's deal has set a new high-water mark, just think about 4 years from now when guys like Scherzer, Price, Strasburg, Sale and maybe even guys like Harvey or Fernandez have signed big money long-term deals.

    And considering his age he will still be under thirty for that bidding war.

    Honestly the Cubs might've had the highest bid, but just been unwilling to let him walk halfway through the contract.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    An audience member at the Cubs Convention asked Theo and Jed their stance on Opt-Out Clauses. He compared them to no-trade clauses and Theo and Jed's well-known policy against them. Jed kind of shot Theo a look and then danced around the question. Now that "look" makes a lot more sense.

  • Argh. At least now I can set my twitter text tone back to silent.

  • well for 175 M with the posting fee the cubs can get 2 proven quality players or use that cash to extend Wood AND Shark if they want . 22m a year for a guy who has logged 1300 innings with high pitch counts is a lot of cabbage . Plus He is a #2 . Draft an Ace this year and pay the 5M slot . Not too worried about it myself . glad its over .

  • OK, we didn't get him.

    Let's move on.

    John, how about Jimenez? I can't remember how old he is. Does his pitching style and repertoire fit Wrigley?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    You know, Tanaka already has a lot of miles on his 25 year old body. Maybe his arm isn't that young any more even if the rest of his body is. This may be one of those deals where you are lucky it didn't go through, even though it hurts at the time. We've got some good, young arms going through our system (Johnson, Zastryzny, Blackburn, Edwards, Hendricks, Vizcaino, and others). Maybe sign a Jimenez to see us through 'til some of these kids start to emerge.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    And sign Wood and Samardzija unless the latter thinks too highly of himself.

    And if that's the case, then trade him for prospects on July 30 to the highest bidder.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    We can all go back to kicking Clark.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Hey! I like Clark! And so do most 6 year old kids!

  • Well, that was fun. Great reporting/opinion across the board from Cubs Den. It loooks like we are back to everyday life. At least it made the time between the start of FA and the start of Spring Training go a little quicker.

    I don't want to be mad at Tanaka, but I still find myself hoping that the short porch kills him and the Yankees are stuck paying $155 million over seven years. Writing that out even seems harsh.

    The stars didn't align on Tanaka, but at least we keep the finacial flexability Theo is always talking about.

  • There is only so much that can be done. In the end it is difficult to compete with the Yankees. They have the winning tradition, media, and money. We like most teams will have to build the hard and slow way.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It wasn't so long ago that the Red Sox were in a similar situation. We need to get the goat off out back.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Even the Yankees have a hard time competing with the Yankees $. That's why, with the exception of Tanaka and a couple of others, they are a team of geezers and wheezers. I don't think Tanaka is going to put them over the top. They're going to spend some time watching each other catch their breath.

  • Looks like there is an opt-out clause after the 4th year which is smart by Tanaka. He'll give it a go in NY and if the team starts to fall apart, he can cut loose... and come to the Cubs!

    I hope this doesn't spell the end to Shark on the team too.

  • Wish we would have got him. Glad they made the effort. Guess the rebuild doesn't speed up. The bright side is, if he was a Cub, his arm would have fallen off on his first start!

  • I've already seen on another blog the question: "What are they going to do with the money they were going I use to sign him?" I hope they put that money in their back pocket and wait to spend it on someone worth it who fits the plan.

    Rosenthal tweeted that he has an opt out after 4 yrs. 7 year $155 mil. This is about what was expected.

  • With the posting fee this contract is $25 million a year. It would have been nice to have Tanaka, but I believe Theo and company are capable of going out and spending close to $25 million on players that can be dealt at the trade deadline or end of the year for more assets (prospects). The day when we start signing a couple guys to $25 million dollar contracts and start trading some of our prospects where we have log jams of quality players for players that can help us win at the MLB level is not far away.

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    It stinks. And I'm honestly surprised. The Yankees infield is garbage and their new outfielders won't make up for it. I just don't get his they're teeady to win and we aren't.
    I heard the Cubs offer was in the 160M range... I wonder if Chicago wasn't "glamorous" enough for him. His wife is a pop star and all.

  • I for one am happy with this outcome, It makes no sense to me for the Cubs to gamble the future on this player, at this point in the rebuild. You have an unknown asset in a player from a different league for one thing, the Yankees paid $155 mil. to a player with a 4 year opt out, if it turns out he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, let's go all in on him in 4 years from now. I know there will be a lot of kicking and screaming from Cub fans over this, calling Ricketts tight wad, nickel dick and all the rest. I think we should be relieved the Yankees are taking this risk and not the Cubs. Now that we have swallowed this pill, let's trade Shark for young pitching prospects that are 2-3-4 years out, that way they can be ready when the TV deal, the Wrigley rebuild, the farm system are all ready to line up and we can become the team we have all wanted all our life.Go Cubs...

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Agree, Jeff does not fit into our long term plans. Get the best
    package we can for him. Include other players to get more in return

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I have been under the assumption from day 1 that Shark was the only asset we had that would bring the young pitching we would need going forward. I don't see anything that would change my mind about that now, I was hoping this off season was when it would happen. Last year at the trade deadline there was very little action, if that happens this year we will get very little for him next off season.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    We could have a logjam with IFs. One of them could bring in needed SP too.

  • BIG mistake on Tanaka's part. But, I can live with it. Please open the envelope marked "Plan B" :-)

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    I won't want him in 4 years and the guy will regret it, that Yankee clipper is an old ship with more holes than the 4000 as the Beatles wrote "in Blackburn, Lancashire"... Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make

  • Said it before.... had they signed him that would have been fine with me as it was the goal. But! I am not at all disappointed to not spend THAT much on one arm. Maybe he will be a world beater, maybe he will be Mark Prior. I am okay if they spend the money elsewhere as long as they spend it as wisely as possible.

  • I'm not happy about this. I know the Yankees overpaid for Tanaka and in a few years this contract might look horrendous BUT as a season ticket holder and diehard Cub fan...I have even less to look forward this season. Even with Tanaka we were not going to contend this year, but I can't take a third straight year of hopelessness. Us Cub fans needed something to enjoy this season besides another year of waiting for prospects to come up. I love what has been done with the minor league system, but until those players are producing on the major league team they are unknown. We've seen so many can't miss prospects over the years and they seem to always miss. I think the front office has a great game plan, but it's been a couple of rough summers. I wanna see some improvement with the results on the major league team. My 10 year old daughter, Wrigley, doesn't understand rebuilding and patience. She just knows it sucks watching a team lose more often than they win. Hopefully we don't have to wait much longer to see winning baseball on the North side.

  • In reply to RobBleedsCubbieBlue:

    As with those in the minors, Tanaka too is an "unknown". Only time will tell if we dodged a bullet. Now Shark is a proven commodity and I suspect he will get a contract extension to keep him in the fold. Koufax spent 5 years on the Dodgers roster per the rules when he otherwise would have been in the minors. The point is the quantum leap in development occurs at a time unbeknownst to us all, and that pitcher may already be in the Cubs system. It would be a damned boring game if the conventional wisdom were infallible.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Samardzija has already rejected a 5 year $55 million dollar offer. How high would you go for him? I'm not sure he has proven enough to get more than that. Now that Tanaka has signed we'll start to see the the remaining big-name free agent starters sign. Once Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Bronson Arroyo sign...the market to trade Samardzija will heat up. This season isn't going anywhere so I wouldn't mind seeing them trade him for a potential #1 starter...something I don't see him ever becoming.

  • In reply to RobBleedsCubbieBlue:

    I like your daughter's name.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks! She loves it and doesn't have the problem of sharing her name with any classmates.

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    Yankees winning next year? I really wouldn't be surprise if they don't make the playoffs again this year..

  • Hamels and Maholm, please. Hopefully one of them will end up with a higher WAR than Tanaka by the end of season.

    So, will the Cubs use their resources during the season to trade for a #1 starter? I suspect this is the strategy going forward.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    I suppose a trade for a TOR SP could happen, but a lot of things would have to fall in place making this a low probability. Just my guess.

  • In reply to John57:

    dont need a TOR this year. sign maholm & baker.
    trade jackson at deadline when hendricks is ready.
    So rotation of: Shark,Woods,Maholm,Hendricks &
    Arrieta or Rusin or Baker or Cabrera or Grimm or
    Wada or Ramirez as the 5th is pretty solid. I really
    wanted Tanaka but that 4 year opt out clause would
    really hurt the Cubs.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    No reason to trade for a #1 starter right now. By the time the team is ready to compete in 2 years, whatever guy you acquire may have blown his arm out. The reason Tanaka was appealing is he only cost the team money, no prospects. I expect the Cubs will look at FA next offseason, perhaps even a Sherzer type, but they will not trade for a proven ace until the team around that player is better.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree. No need for a TOR arm today. I could see a trade for a TOR prospect, but that would take Samardzija and someone else.

  • ... :(

  • At least he went to the american league so if we end up facing him it'd be either IL play or better yet some serious post season going on. Yeah, I'm somewhat deflated this a.m. but they ( FO ) did give it their all, got to appreciate that. To many bright lights in "the city" I suppose for a pop star wife and who knows what his mindset is for extracurricular activites. Hey, kind of a drag today but could be a silver lining.

  • I think this puts all the more importance to righting the ship with Castro and making sure Baez develops properly and raising his floor. Either one if playing up to their potential makes a huge trading chip to get star pitching back. The same thing can be said for 3B and the talent working its way up the system. The priority has to remain - build high floor/high value prospects to have the ability to fill their roster and trade their organizational depth for quality MLB players to put the best quality team for the long run. Then future foreign players like Tanaka will value the Cubs. To borrow a line from John Houseman - We have to do it the old fashion way, we have to earn it

  • In reply to Gator:

    Good quote and good post!

  • In reply to Gator:

    Agree, let's hope that plan B is being worked on as we speak.

  • New York is so conceited that they have to name their snowstorms...

  • Three wishes : Tanaka is solid and healthy, the Yankees suck, and one of our back end starters turns into an ace. Glad the Cubs went to the wall on this, much easier to swallow.

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    Sounded a lot like sour grapes. No one will come here until we put a better product on the field.

  • I guessed wrong. I was convinced the Cubs would win the bid because they have money to burn while they're tanking seasons; and because they were really really cheap this offseason, thus freeing up even more cash. I suppose it's possible the Yankees came in with a lower bid and still got him, but usually the highest bidder wins.

  • Perhaps not getting Tanaka is like being turned down by the most popular girl to go to senior prom. It hurts right now, but in the end it is not the girl you want to marry and spend the rest of your life with. Carry on!

  • Its dissapointing. At some point the Cubs need to win one of these. Hopefully this team is closer to 80 wins this year and people can start to see the turn around. In the end, it feels like they are going to have to trade to land that first top of the rotation pitcher.

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    Yeah...that's sour grapes.

    Tanaka will be perfectly happy and content in NYC.

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    He will perfectly content until he is pitching for a losing product, when he is a competitior. Will opt out and go somewhere else after his 4th year.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    I don't think so if it's his goal to win long term (and maybe even short term) If he wants to be the best pitcher on a mediocre team, then maybe.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    May be, Tanaka is no Michael Jordan.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I want the Yankees to lose as much as the next non-Yankees fan, but come on: they've missed the playoffs twice since 1994. Twice!! The Yankees will always be a contending team, because they'll buy the players they need (like they did this past offseason).

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    It's not sour grapes to respond to Tanaka picking Yankees over the Cubs (if the Cubs offered more) because of the Yankees being winners to say the Yankees: have missed the playoffs 2 years in a row, owe nearly $100m to a guy they hate that won't play this year and is probably all washed up, have an infield comprised of Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson, their HOF shortstop on the verge of retirement due to age and ineffectiveness AND little to no depth or hope in their farm system.

    Tanaka may be smarter than us all in making his decision on that 4th year opt-out clause because he'll get nearly 90 million from the Yanks and can bail when they have to officially rebuild (due to new draft and FA system) only to sign with a team in contention in 2018, but my gut says that he signed with NY for the "winning ways" and glamour. If thats the case he might want to prepare for unrivaled media scrutiny, 88 win seasons that end in the first round of the playoffs and going up against the best lineups in the game from the AL and specifically the East.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    I just re-read my post and hope to god none of my English teachers see it. Maybe I shouldn't have skipped all my punctuation lessons to played hooky and watch Cubs day baseball.

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    In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2013, but won the ALE is 2012. They've only missed the playoffs twice since 1994.

    The Yankees are unique in baseball, in that they will likely never have to go through a rebuild, because they'll always be able to purchase the players they need like they did this past offseason. The acquisitions of Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann, and Tanaka just returned the Yankees to a 90+ win season - which means they'll be in contention. And remember, even with a crap team, they still won 85 games last year!

    As I mentioned above... the Yankees will always be in contention, and therefore Tanaka, as long as he produces, will be perfectly content with his decision.

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    In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Their success has been based on a truly amazing core of Jeter, Mariano, Posada, and Cano. That core is aging, leaving, or retiring. To assume that their success will continue without the key components of it is, in my opinion, wrong.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah... I disagree with that being a "wrong" assumption, but we'll see. If I were a betting man, I'd bet on the Yankees' ability to manufacture contention.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    I respectfully disagree Chris.

    This Yankees success you speak of is almost exclusively before the new rules regarding FA draft compensation, international scouting and cap limits and draft $$ limitations took effect. Spending wildly on FA comes with a much higher cost to teams in terms of draft picks that they cannot make up for by overslot signings or international signings. Every high priced FA means no high draft pick, lack of draft picks means more reliance on FA, which will just create a death spiral that eventually will force teams to rebuild for some period. The exception - Organizations can avoid rebuilding periods if they focus on scouting and drafting as their core and FA as a secondary tool to supplying major league talent. This Aint the Yankees.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The Yankees will be successful as long as they are willing to spend what it takes. Hank Steinbrenner said he would have no problem with a $300M payroll were it not for revenue sharing.

    There is more than one way to achieve long term stability and success. To say the Yankees are due for a regression just because they have a weaker farm system than many other teams is not looking at the different possibilities for fielding a consistently winning team.

    A great study on Fan Graphs published a day or two ago indicates that paradigm is changing, slightly, and it should, because free agents are getting older year after year. But it does stress the importance of buying wins also. So at some point they may need an influx of youth. But it is not an absolute.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Context matters. Buying extra short term wins that take you into the 85-95 win range has value. Under this new CBA, buying wins in the 68-78 win range are practically meaningless.

    Even the most recent successful Yankee dynasty was built with a core of homegrown players. No organization with long term health has ever built from the bottom up with free agency.

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    Everyone talks about the Yankees farm system being weak. It doesn't matter. They have more and more payroll flexibility coming up over the next four seasons and will always be able to buy the best players. It's the Yankees way. They can continue to draft at the back end of each draft, maybe once in a while find a gem or a tradable piece and buy the players they need to stay in a perpetual Win Now mode. Things haven't changed in that organization since they bought Babe Ruth in 1918.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Even the Yankees came crashing down in the 1980s. I see something similar coming for them in the next few years. Spending to win has it's consequences. There are diminishing returns. I doubt the Yanks see another title in the next decade..

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, I agree to an extent. Those lean years were when George Steinbrenner wasn't running the team and they were owned by CBS I think. So there was a period where they signed marginal free agents (guys like Jerry Mumphrey, Bobby Murcer, Toby Harrah) in the early 80's and another period where they decided to build a farm system after the debut of Mattingly and refrained from big ticket free agent signings (acquiring players like Claudell Washington, Steve Sax, Danny Tartabull, etc.). I believ etheir only real splash in that decade was for Dave Winfield and Scott Sanderson. Oh yeah - Rich Monteleone. Chris Berman loved that guy.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    One thing folks forget is what propelled the Yankees to their streak of winning isn't just spending, it was a really productive farm system. Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Williams, Soriano, and more prospects that were traded for vets. Money isn't everything.

    The Yankees farm system now is very thin.......no help there.

    They are destined for expensive mediocrity, not just because of all the dead money they have, but also the dead farm system

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It was a different game in the 80s. Cashman knows what he's doing. I bet the Yanks win at least 1.
    I absolutely respect your opinion, but I disagree.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Exactly. Yankees aren't going anywhere. I don't get why everyone thinks that. Let's say they start the season as is this year. That's a pretty good team. If they're in it at the deadline, they'll get a whole lot better.
    I'm not upset by this. Never expected Tanaka to want to play for the Cubs. It just doesn't make sense.
    I really wish the Cubs would sign Jiminez. He's got good stuff and he's relatively young for a pitcher. Add him to the staff and get a guy like Bailey or (better yet) Sherzer and next year's staff is very good. I'd much rather have Jiminez for 50-70 million less than Tanaka at that price.
    I'll be bothered when the Cubs don't make a play for Jiminez, not that they didn't get Tanaka.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    I believe the Cubs would lose a draft pick signing Jiminez. So signing him will not happen. You can book it.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Agree entirely, Michael.

  • As excited as I was to get him, I am actually not as disappointed as I thought I would be. Anything over 20 mil per year was going to be a huge gamble and I can live with the Yankees making that gamble. The city and the 4 year buy out clause with that money is hard for us to compete with.

    So now that we are out on Tanaka, do we have a debate over getting more #4 and #5 starters in free agency or just letting Rusin, Hendricks, etc battle it out for the last spot in the rotation? I am on board with letting us see what we have in fringe starters and see who pans out. If one doesn't, we will always have a "next in line" waiting at AAA.

    Great coverage John, even keeled analysis from the get go.

  • And now I start rooting for him to completely bomb and/or regret not signing with the Cubs. Similar to Girardi, I hope I bump into Tanaka in a few years and thank him for not signing with us and politely telling him that he missed out on being part of on of the greatest sporting events in the history of the world (Cubs winning a WS).

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    I wanted Tanaka as much as the next guy, but now for King Felix/ Verlander, Sabathia money. Were talking about 25mil/per for a guy who's never thrown a pitch in the US. He has to be an ACE, anything lower than that and he's a bust. The opt-out gives all the power to Tanaka and fleeces the Yankees even more.

    Quite frankly, I'm glad we didn't get him at these numbers. Cubs blew everybody away, Yankees 1-uped them with a contract that could turn out as one of the worst in history 5 years from now.

    I can live with that.

  • Tanaka will eventually be sorry he didn't choose Cubs. Really? Is that where we need to go? Some kind of lame speculation to make us feel better about not landing the big fish. He took the biggest offer to come to the U. S. to play for the team with the most World Series titles, the most glamorous history, in the biggest market and the better league and best division. And sounds like he stressed winning now over only the chance of winning later. This board often reads too homerish. I have no idea what Tanaka might feel bad or good about years from now. I respect his choice and wish him well.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    If his focus was to be a leader on a team that makes history then he may very well regret this a few years down the road. However who knows if that was even on his mind. As for the rest of the reasons you put out for him picking the Yankees I have to agree. Of course I do have to put out a caveat. For all we know the Cubs bid may have been higher but he took the Yankees for all the reasons you said.
    As far as the board being homerish....What do you expect it's a Cubs board.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    We want Tanaka to be sorry Michael. We are all realistic people on this board, and our love of the team can and should read as homerish. It's perfectly natural to have this kind of reaction when you've been hoping you can land Tanaka for a month. Nobody knows what he will feel like in two years, but I do know what I'll say if we win it all and he's sitting on the couch. "Who needed him anyway!" So that's what we hope for. For me, it was a tough pill to swallow. Yeah, there was a lot of risk, but such is the name of the game.

    I want the team to improve sooner rather than later. Top five draft picks are only cool one day of the year. I remember as a kid seeing the Cubs 9 games out in August and hoping they could pull it out. I want that feeling again instead of hopelessness. I completely understand the value of trading for long term assets, and while I agree with doing it, I'm ready to move past that. I am sick of the consellation prize of, "well, at least we have a high draft pick." Let the owners have that mindset. This fan wants a victory every day, whether it be on the field or in free agency. With a solid plan B though, I still feel the arrow is pointed up.

    As Joakim Noah put it after learning that some fans think they should tank to get a higher draft pick, "What do I say to those fans?" "I don't say nothing to those fans. It's all good. You're allowed to have your opinion. It's just ... that's not a real fan to me. You know what I'm saying? You want your team to lose? What is that? But it's all good."

  • So in two and a half years we send Vogelbach to the Yankees for him. No big deal.

  • Actually, Tanaka seems like more of a New York kind of high profile guy with his pop star girlfriend. I think that he will fit there. I don't believe in forcing things too much. I like the idea of standing pat. I like Maholm, but the Cubs have 'been there done that'. I would like to find out more about our back of the rotation guys. Cabrera is out of options. Rusin, Grimm, Hendricks, and others are looking for a chance to prove their worth..

  • Well, that sucks. I always had a feeling he was going to New York or LA. Yeah, I agree that the Yankees are going the wrong way and that he'll realize that in a few years. Of course, he has an opt-clause so maybe he'll leave in a few years. I wonder how much having H. Kuroda helped in convincing him to join the Yankees...

    I think it's time for MLB to put in place a more punitive luxury tax similar to the one the NBA has now. Make the repeater tax unbearable even for the richest ball-clubs; something like a 3:1 tax or for every one dollar spent over the luxury tax you have to spend an additional 3 dollars. The LAD and NYY are fostering an unfair playing environment that is bad for baseball. When the next CBA negotiations come around you can bet the small-market teams are going to bitch about the disparity in the local TV contracts. Competitive balance draft picks and revenue sharing only does so much...

    Lastly, yeah it would've been nice if Tanaka came to the Cubs, but the team has to create a well of pitching prospects from which they can rely on in the future much like the hated Cardinals have done. We have some pitching prospects on the way so it won't be too long.

    Who knows? Maybe Tanaka will flop in a big market. Maybe he'll fall off in terms of effectiveness after a couple seasons just like D. Matsuzaka. It's a LARGE contract for an unproven pitcher that I was never really comfortable with anyway.

    I wish we had gone harder after Yu Darvish though...

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    &*^# #%&* *&%#$%$#$@! #%^$@)(*& Y&&$%##$@#$ $%^^#$@@**(.....In english...screw Tanaka and his NYY pick.

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    John it's not sour grapes, I try to look at these things as objectively as possible and I agree with you that it's possible he may regret his decision in 2-3 years. In love, the best revenge is a good life - now it's Theo's job to make it so.
    I would however say this to those people who are glad we didn't get him because it's a lot of money that may be an albatross: this is the price of good pitching today, get used to it. To succeed you have to take risks - you can choose to take a risk on arietta/Jackson/Grimm/hammels types - low risk, low reward - or tanaka types - medium risk, much higher reward. At some point the Cubs will have to swallow hard and sign that $150 mil contract, or be happy being the among the also -rans.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Well put, SKMD...except I don't think any of the pitchers this year are worth any thing close to that kind of money. Next season's class looks better -- if they make it to free agency, that is.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fate will send us that player one day. Apparently, it wasn't Tanaka.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I am happy only because I don't think the Cubs will be ready to win in 4 years, not because of the money he signed for. If he would have signed for 6 or 7 years with a mutual option, I would say where do we sign.

  • What are we going to do with all these heated toilet seats now?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Not to worry. They'll come in handy for the April home games.

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    Also, as odd as it sounds I had a bad feeling when he was originally supposed to land in Chicago but couldn't because of the ungodly sinter storm that had just hit. Probably didn't make the best impression.

  • Now, let's hope he is a big, fat bust.

    I think we're just gonna have to wait until some hitters get here.
    Then FA pitchers will want to come.

    Maybe one of our minor league pitchers will emerge... that would be awesome, not to mention a heck of a lot cheaper.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I don't hope he is a bust. That would say some bad things about the Cubs scouting staff. They were all in and allegedly had the second highest offer. I hope he is amazingly successful and does well. I'd love to see the Cubs beat him in a Game 7 World Series in 2018. That would be my favorite form of revenge.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I second that, I hope he is very successful and had a good life here. I am shocked that he didn't sign with the Dodgers, a team that is built to win now and in the future.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Or it could just say "Ya never know" about these guys.

    In another scenaro I want the Cubs to be in the WS and Tanaka pitches well, but the old Yankees to fall apart around him. I hope they suck and he wishes he never went there.

    And then he opts out and signs with the team he should've signed with in the 1st place!

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I would love to see the Cubs beat him in game 7 in 2014 and 2018.

  • How much of this has to do with ARod's suspension and the Yankees not being so far over the cap?

    I'd rather see the Cubs build with quality cost-controlled players and then fill in with short-term high-dollar contracts for established players that are missing pieces. I will use Soriano as a name representing a type of player and use the historical reality out of context for this example.

    Imagine in 4 years having a solid young core of 6 of our 10 best prospects, the list would include Castillo, Castro, and Rizzo being part of the ten, being cost controlled and playing well above replacement level. I would support bringing in a start player on the wrong side of 30 like Soriano in '08. But I would not want to tie the team's hands for a long term deal that would be a log jam in the system. Sign a top level free agent for a 2-3 year deal at an outrageous dollar amount and then let them walk. Give them 5 years of money in 2 or 3. Free Agency should fill holes and not be the foundation. Of course on this forum, I'm preaching to the choir.

  • In reply to Cubs77tonow:

    Yanks are still over the cap. Tanaka will cost them $34.3 million a year due to the luxury tax. Suddenly the Kershaw extension seems like a good idea by comparison.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    $34.3 million per year for Tanaka. That is a lot of money even for the Yankees.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Ya, that's ridiculous. They were in desperate need for pitching to be spending more per year than Kershaw.

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    I'm not nearly as crushed as I'm supposed to be. Would have been nice, but we'll go out and find another way to land a top of the rotation pitcher.

    The opt out is critical here. If he *does* regret taking a slot with a declining Yankees team, he can simply leave and play out his prime with a winner.

    The rebuild goes on. We'll be just fine.

  • Lets look at the ripple effect , now AA in TOR has to make a move to upgrade the rotation , he is on the hotseat . either they sign one of the FA SPs and pay big money or AA goes the smart route and agrees to send Sanchez and Stroman to the Cubs .

  • I look at this as an opportunity lost. Time to turn the page and move on to the next item on the list.

  • The Cubs were in it till the end. Not much Theo and Co. could have done more to get Tanaka. The only thing that really worries me is that it looks like the Cubs are going to have to start winning before they can pick up big free agents. This is second year in a row that the Cubs have the money ready but aren't able to sign their man because of their lack of competitiveness. We might have actually had a better shot nabbing Tanaka under the old system. lol.

  • Hey John, I love your blog. Thanks for keeping us all informed and providing us with a great perspective on the rebuild!

    While I don't want to overreact to the Cubs missing out on Tanaka, I feel that they are in need of a young, front of the rotation type starter. Sure, Lester and Sherzer could be free agents after next year. But those guys will be 31 and 30 respectively, and require draft pick compensation. I don't want to jump the gun, but David Price is only 28 and could be had in a trade. I guess the question is, do you think the Cubs would consider trading for him, and at what point would they make this move? With pitching being a weakness in the farm system, do you think this makes sense?

  • In reply to CubsWS:

    I still don't buy Scherzer as a #1. Most ace's are able to pitch deep into games and Scherzer topped 200 innings for the 1st time.

    If he tops 200 innings with a 3.5 era or lower then id be in.

    James shields might be the most consistent guy out of that class, but he is going to be old.

  • In reply to CubsWS:

    Thanks for the kind words. I would like Price but it depends on what Tampa would want -- and history has shown they want a lot. You'd have to give up top long term guys to get him and then you have to try and sign him with not much left to promise him in terms of future pieces. Two losing seasons and he may just bolt and leave the Cubs empty-handed.

  • Imagine being Yu Darvish today. Tanaka is getting almost a hundred million dollars more than he got when he signed. WOW!!

  • It's kind of remarkable (and so Cub-like) how pretty much ever since the Cubs have managed to hire one of the best front office minds in the game, the rules have changed almost precisely to the detriment of the front office plan.

    First, we get the new CBA that limits overpaying for drafted players, limiting the attempt to fill up the minor league system and slowing things down.

    Then we get a few years where, due to the hamstrung financial nature of the Cubs right now, there's a series of "close second"s with signings -- namely, Darvish and Ryu.

    Then, when the Cubs seemed primed and ready to win a competitive bidding process, the process goes away and is replaced with a process that seemingly only helps the MLB and enables a team like the Yankees to swoop in and get Tanaka.

    Am I being overly pessimistic? Sure, probably a little bit. But still... damn.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    You forgot the that a team who overlays for a cheating washed up 3b doesn't have to his salary this year.

  • Yankees 2014 are the best team that money can buy. Time will tell how that works out. Rings kind of hollow for me.

  • At some point, if and when this team plans to compete they need to put a rotation together that can at least compete in a playoff series. #1 or #2 starters aren't really hitting the FA market anymore, this was a chance to get a young stud. It sucks. I get the the $ paid by NY to Tanaka was pretty astronomical, especially when you see the comp salaries. But again, who are they going to get to be the guy in the rotation going forward. I guess that the most logical choice is continuing to load up on prospects and try and throw together a blockbuster trade for that mythical 'ace.'

  • Alas - can't say that I am shocked,.... but am somewhat disappointed. I wish him years of being an above average and healthy player wasting his prime years on a series of mediocre also-ran teams in NYC.

    Preferably while the Cubs build into a young, repetatively consistent playoff caliber team in his absence.

    So now - my guess is that we start out the season with a likely rotation of Shark, Wood, Jackson, Arietta/Rusin/Marshall/Other, and a FA hire like Baker/Maholm/Hammel to fill out the 4 & 5 spots.

    My guess - absent Tanaka,.... Shark gets moved this season if he doesn't sign an extension by early Spring Training,... and one of the youngsters in AAA gets a tryout for that 5th spot.

    So - now that the Tanaka carnival ride is over - any bets on who gets moved or added in the next couple weeks?

    My money is on an incentive laden contract offer to Baker, with a fallback option on Maholm if he is healthy.

  • Bailey, Masterson, Max S. are free agents next year if they don't get extended. I think they should bite the bullet and sign one or two of these. To trade for a TOR guy we would have to give up our top prospects. I would rather over spend on pitching than give up prospects, even though you know we will have to over pay.

    Evaluate Shark before the trade deadline and make the decision to trade or sign then.

  • In reply to ejs1:

    Good class coming next year. Might be worth the wait.

  • that's why AA needs to call Theo on speed dial right now and give up the Arms , Shark will cost 5M this year , the rest of the SPs out there are going to command huge dollars and AAs window is next year or 2 or he is out the door, this could work out well for the Cubs

  • I am glad the Cubs made a great effort to appease their fans. If John took a poll right now on how many people would want the Cubs to sign Tanaka for the same contract as the Yankees along with the Posting fee. I'm pretty sure at least 3 out of 4 would say no. Thats ridiculous. 175 million for one player while your team is nowhere close to finding an identity. If he had signed for lets' say 7/105 then we could be pissed but at that price tag with so much uncertainty I don't think it was worth the gamble. Just thank the Yankees for the check they will be sending Chicago from the luxury tax they will owe.

  • In reply to notownlikeChicago:

    I disagree with your first sentence. "I am glad the Cubs made a great effort to appease their fans. " The Cubs did it because it was the right move to make to build the team. They don't do a move just to make fans happy.

  • In reply to John57:

    Yeah I can see why you disagreed. That sentence means I was glad they put forth an effort which in turn appeased their fans. I agree with you that their effort wasn't based off of trying to make Cub fans happy but as Cub fans no one is claiming that the FO didn't make an effort. Yeah I should have been more exact. Hey, what about the other sentences?

  • In reply to notownlikeChicago:

    I think most fans would still want him for the $175 million. It is not their money and it would make the team better. But that money is ridiculous.

  • I'm fine with this. I thought we had a chance because we could front load a contract, but the Yankees were able to nulify that advantage by granting Tanaka an out clause after 4 years. Its funny, but in reality the Yankees were the desparate team in this scenario. They have an old team and no farm system. They are looking to compete now and needed a youngish starter to build future rotations around. I think they are going to fail in both arenas, but Tanaka was really the only guy they could get that gives them a chance in either. The Yankees had to get him. I think they also wanted to make a statement that whikle the Dodgers may be a new Yankees, the Yankees are still the Yankees too.

  • While somewhat disappointing, I'm not that surprised. This seems analogous to where the Nationals were a few seasons ago, with a reputation for being cheap and not committed to winning. That did not change until they grossly overpaid Jason Werth. At some point, the Cubs might have to find their Jason Werth, because Ricketts, etc. may be getting a bad reputation around MLB.

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    Tanaka's deal also includes full no-trade clause. This guy fleeced the Yankees over good. Another reason I'm kind of glad we didn't sign him. No-trade clauses have 0 benefit to the team, only the player.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    It's apparent the Yanks were desperate enough to do whatever it takes.

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    Long time reader 1st time commenter. Take the Tanaka money and set it aside till next years FA's and try and get Scherzer Masterson Bailey. Pitching prospects are our obvious weakness. Be all in on one of these guys since things should be on the rise in 2015!!!

  • In reply to Ron U:

    Couldnt agree more. Id rather regroup next off-season & let the Tanaka money roll into 2015. They weren't going to make the playoffs with Tanaka in 2014 anyway.

    I'll take 2 starters including at least one of those formentioned.

  • Wow! $22million per year, opt-out after 4 years and a full no trade clause.
    I don't think so. Sold to you New York.

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    In less depressing news, Albert Almora was ranked the #4 outfield prospect in baseball by MLB.com. Soler was not ranked -- putting him behind newly drafted Austin Meadows and Clint Frasier. His star seems to be dimming a bit -- needs a big season.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Soler's year wasn't all bad, but he had his share of issues, some his doing most not.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Soler's stress fracture of his shin hurt his rating. But that injury is in the past. Most likely he will have a good season.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    So the Cubs have a top 4 at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, and CF? Likey!

  • I would like to see Shark get the extra 3-5 million that Baker or another filler would demand. He is about as sure a thing as we've seen and the price for pitching just keeps rising. I understand that we attack pitching with volume but we'll never know what the guys can do without putting them in the fire. John, an article about back end contenders and their prospects would be timely.

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    When I was coaching my travel team and the boys were 16, there was one kid who played HS ball with my son that we recruited pretty hard, but he chose a different team. We were already pretty stacked and I think he preferred to be a big fish in a smaller pond. Anyway, our two teams met up one day and by the third inning, we were up something like 16-0. The kid was playing third (I was coaching 3rd) and he said to me, "I really wish I would have played for you guys."

    I kind of hope Tanaka has similar sentiments about the Cubs. Maybe he'll opt out and join the party in four years. Maybe the Cubs will be in a position to say, "No thanks." Who knows?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I think in 4 years we will have enough pitching and very good hitting. I think we would low ball him then if he wants to play for a proven winner.

  • First time commenting, been reading for a while and I had to comment today. Pretty bummed we didn't land MT, but that's also a lot of money to drop on someone without any MLB experience. Still would have liked to see him opening day, and we kind of put all our eggs in the tanaka basket this offseason. What worries me the most is the trend that the FO can't seem to land who they really want, whether its darvish, ryu, cespedes (not sure how big they were on cespedes, but he fit their MO) sanchez, girardi, and now tanaka. Does this bother anyone else, or will this straighten itself out as we become competitive?

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    This is the second guy that we "just missed" out on trying to sign. I really wanted this one. But to be realistic, we would have been paying for about 2 years of his contract just to save face. The Cubs are not ready this year.

    I doubt Theo loses out on a third guy that he really sees as a fit for Chicago.

    Max Scherzer next season?

  • I think there will be 3 guys on the hot seat next year if Yanks don't make the playoffs Cashman Girardi and Tanaka.

  • John, spot on with the mood, analysis, and comment about regrets! I really believe he will regret this choice. But there was a "X Factor" involved. I kept reading that his wife was pushing for NY or LA. That is why they said Seattle wasn't attractive to him.

    For you whinny butts, please get over your tantrums about the "lousy Cubs". You are the glass only half-full crowd who disparage the progress made, the future assured, for your immediate gratification! You would prefer to be the Yankees and Angels with the same untenable situation Hendry always put himself in. Grow up!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Thanks and I think you are correct on this. Based on what I've heard, it was about location.

  • For the Yankees, the $150million contract with the luxury tax, might be more in order of $250million for Tanaka. That would make his AAV more than Kershaw.

  • Seems to me that the buyout clause would be a deal breaker to the Cubs. Why sign him to a deal that could be terminated just as they were in a position to contend?

  • That's the thing , it seems location was always the thing. His wife is a rising actress/singer/celebrity and wanted to go to either NY or LA. As long as either team was going to make a similar offer to the Cubs, he was going to NY or LA...period.

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    This is why I posted something yesterday asking, at what point does it become a fool's errand to sign Tanaka even though in many ways it was important for the Cubs to sign him. I don't feel that bad given the money it would have taken to get him, which likely would have included the opt out.

  • Disappointed about missing out on Tanaka, but $22M+/yr for a guy who is still a bit of an unknown is just too much to pay. Methinks the Cubs will survive this miss.

    But you have to think that Shark will be resigned. So what if he's not a #1, he's still light years better than guys like Jackson or Maholm, and is still only 28 (OK, tomorrow he turns 29). My gut tells me there is no way we get the equivalent type of player in a trade that will make up for his loss, so sign him fer crying out loud!

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Shark is going to have a good year and we will sign him. I don't want to trade him.

  • The yanks were smart negotiators. The opt out was a poison pill for the cubs. They guaranteed 7 years at over 25 mil per, but can only get 7 years of performance if the performance is subpar. If he's great, he's gone in 4. This puts the real value of the contract from tanaka's perspective well over 30 million annually. It may pay off for ny, but if it does it will be a shorter term payoff that makes no sense from cub's perspective.

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    In reply to Godwinslaw:

    Don't forget the full no-trade clause.

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