The Cubs offseason plans have always centered around two names.
Jeff Samardzija and Masahiro Tanaka.
One name now seems destined to impact the other heavily. Its as if every team in the league has been waiting to see if Tanaka would get posted. Most teams have even been holding up making moves for pitching, waiting on a shot at Tanaka.
Tanaka may not get posted this offseason after all. A decision could come Tuesday morning. Rakuten Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana wants Tanaka to stay at least one more year. Tachibana is also less than thrilled with the new agreement, where his club would receive a maximum $20 million posting fee.
In addition, there is also a personal issue of Tanaka’s wife being a pop star in Japan, I’m told. She may also need to be convinced a move from Japan would be best. Tanaka has requested a meeting with Tachibana, which is a bold move in itself. He wants to make the move.
Tanaka was supposed to be the Cubs chance at snagging the kind of free agent they dream of. A potential impact pitcher that is still in his prime (25), much like one that got away previously as in Yu Darvish. The Japanese ace is the type of player the Cubs brass see the rationale in breaking the bank for. They were prepared to go all out for his services, even though many in the media give them much of a shot at beating out the Yankees and Dodgers.
Either way, if Tanaka doesn’t come stateside, the market for Samardzija could turn upward. That may be what Theo Epstein is banking on, or at least waiting on.
It was reported the Toronto Blue Jays had been in talks with the Cubs brass at the winter meetings regarding Samardzija. Apparently, Epstein squashed a potential deal involving either top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman. Epstein wanted both of them, and a third prospect to boot.
Seems like somewhat of an unreasonable price, for those I checked in with, and too rich for Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos for now.
“The acquisition price doesn’t work for us right now,” Anthopoulos said about any deals on the table. “I don’t know if I could quantify how far off that they might be.
“We continue to have dialogue, so if you want to look at that as encouraging, I don’t know. It’s not so far out of the realm that we won’t continue to have talks.”
Without Tanaka on the market teams may step up big for both David Price and Samardzija, as there aren’t many impact arms available.
A source says the Cubs front office may have been split on whether to accept the Jays offer. Still, Epstein wants to be patient and let the import market play out, before dealing his domestic model.
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