Cubs Notes: Pushing hard for Tanaka, Rookie Development Camp, Expected levels for prospects, and more

It’s been a tough day for me so far.  My 14 year old Doberman, Chloe, was diagnosed with cancer just 2 months after we lost our Rottweiler of 10 years, Eva. She is too old to have an operation and the vet said it probably won’t extend her life expectancy by much — if at all.   The good news is that it’s a localized form and it isn’t causing her any pain, so we’ll make her as comfortable as we can.

The other good news is that Chloe is one bad mother.  She’s the toughest, bravest dog I’ve ever had, yet she is kind to everyone — well, unless you mess with her family.  She’ll handle this just like she handles everything else — with courage and dignity.

It’s good to have baseball on days like this and this is a link heavy day for the Cubs, so let’s get to it.  I’ll keep this short and we’ll discuss it in more detail in the comments section…

Cubs “pushing hard” for Tanaka

Are you surprised?  Ken Rosenthal confirmed what we’ve known here since August — the Cubs are going  hard after Tanaka.  We’ve heard hints since we first mentioned it here, including David Kaplan’s assertion that the Cubs won’t be outbid.

Like I’ve said, I realize it’s going to be extremely difficult given the competiton for Tanaka’s services, but I will be genuinely disappointed if the Cubs don’t land him because I know he’s a guy they like and they want — maybe need — to have.

Cubs Rookie Development and Expected Levels

The Cubs young players are in the Rookie Development Program — just one more reason to like the way this front office works.  We can never know if they’ll succeed but we know they will be prepared.  There are 15 rookies in camp, including all the top prospects we’ve talked about here.

Earlier Muskat talked about the diffferent levels where the prospects are expected to start.  The Iowa infield will be Christian Villanueva (3B), Javier Baez (SS), Arismendy Alcantara (2B) and 1B will likely be filled in by organizational types and veteran depth, but we could see Josh Vitters take some reps there too if he doesn’t make the Cubs out of spring.

Interestingly this seems to indicate that Mike Olt will be given every shot at making the team this spring.

Kris Bryant will start in AA, as will C.J. Edwards but the Cubs are undecided on both Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.  You may remember the Cubs were close to promoting Soler to AA before he got hurt, so I’m guessing they’ll start him there if he looks ready in camp.

Almora is more interesting.  He was also on the verge of a promotion before his own injury, so it’s practically a given he’s not going back to Kane.  That means they are probably considering a jump to AA.  Given how well he handled the AFL, which features a good amount of AA players, the Cubs may think he can handle it.  There certainly isn’t a problem with his makeup and he basically toyed with MWL pitchers.  He may need the challenge.

And don’t forget I wrote an article on Almora suggesting he could move quickly.  That wasn’t taken out of thin air or my usual mancrush on Almora.  I got this information from a good source and now I’m wondering if there was a little wink-wink that went along with that bit of info.  The guess here is that if he goes to Daytona, it won’t be for long.

Fangraphs Top 10

Another day another prospect list.   This time it’s Marc Hulet at Fangraphs and he has them in this order…

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. Albert Almora
  4. Jorge Soler
  5. Arismendy Alcantara
  6. Pierce Johnson
  7. CJ Edwards
  8. Dan Vogelbach
  9. Arodys Vizcaino
  10. Kyle Hendricks

A lower ranking for Edwards than other places, but as we’ve said before we can understand why some might like Pierce Johnson better.  Should be fun to watch those two develop.

Good to see Kyle Hendricks here.  Fangraphs has the most optimistic ranking and ceiling I’ve heard yet, believing he could have some seasons where he will perform like a 3rd starter.  Now that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

  • Fangraphs’ David Laurila also has an excellent interview with Pierce Johnson with wonderful information on his repertoire and approach.  Essential reading if you love the scouting game as much as I do.
  • Carson Cistulli analyzes some Steamer projections on some of the Cubs top prospects and it’s the pitchers who project best for this coming season.  At the top of the list is Arodys Vizcaino, who Steamer projects at an optimistic 2.5 WAR, not that I wouldn’t take that in his first season.  Neil Ramirez also projects well at 1.7 for this season.  Javy Baez rates the highest of the position players at 1.7 WAR.




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  • fb_avatar

    There is no doubt that this is going to be another fun year to watch the prospects develop. AA could have a scary line up if Bryant, Soler, and Almora are all there to start, along with Edwards and likely Johnson in the rotation. Iowa's infield will also be a treat to watch this Summer. I'm anxious to see Alcantara and Baez's adjustment to AAA. Any word on where Ramirez is likely to start?

  • In reply to Richard Madsen:

    Nice to have these guys at the upper levels for a change -- and we'll get to see them on

    Ramirez probably starts in AAA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    this will be the year that we really see what we
    have with our young players: Rizzo,Castro,Lake,
    Parker,Grimm & Rusin in Chicago. Then Alcantera,
    Baez,Ramirez,Hendricks,Rosscup & Szcur between
    Iowa and Chicago. Another big key will be the development
    of Bryant,Edwards,Almora,Soler,Johnson,Vogelbach
    Candelario & Bruno to see who could become stars.
    So many questions but so many options.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    i forgot Vizcaino,Villanueva,Vitters and even Brett
    Jackson. we will know these guys future after 2014.

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    Sorry to hear about Chloe. Glad she isn't suffering, at any rate.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks Mike.

  • I really like these type articles. Except of course about your dog. My wife and I lost our dog to cancer a few years back, and it was very tough. Still have a heard time looking at old photos.

    Barring any injuries, the AA starting rotation should be very interesting. I'm guessing it will include P. Johnson, Edwards, Wells, Black at some time or other if not right out of the gate.

  • In reply to couch:

    Thanks couch.

    I think those 4 are the most likely. Pineyro may need more time in Daytona.

  • Have lost 2 dogs, but its for the better. Have never seen so much
    hype on so many top prospects. I know Theo and Co. will not
    bring them up to soon. Making the 40-man roster in mid-Nov.
    is going to very hard

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks. Sometimes it is. We just lost Eva but Chloe is still strong, still eating voraciously and she is still her usual bossy, but loving self so we'll keep her comfortable and keep spoiling her until it's time.

  • Sorry to hear about Chloe. I have been lucky enough to have some great dogs and it is always tough at the end. Our Maggie is 13 and slowing down. Spoil Chloe a lot.

    About Tanaka: The Cubs will, apparently, not be outbid. But if everyone knows how much money it will take, will length of contract become the currency that matters? And how long is too long?

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Thanks. Chloe has been getting all kinds of table food lately ;) That's something we rarely did before. She always gets a lot of love.

    I think the Cubs will put in the highest bid but they obviously have other disadvantages.

  • Regarding the Cubs prospect ratings, I think there is good separation between the top two (Baez and Bryant) than everybody else, so is it premature to call them the Mega 2?

    Also, this is not meant to be a knock on Soler, I do like him, but believe both Johnson and Edwards will emerge as better prospects this year, maybe even Vizcaino if his injury is behind him.

    Our prospects are very exciting overall.

  • This organizations Rookie Development Program is so cool. John how do you think the FO determined the 15 participants? Possibility of being called up as early as this year?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think that had something to do with it. Obviously they won't all make it, but might as well start preparing them early.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sounds like the Blackhawks game was a good experience for them. It makes me fully really good that they understand and appreciate the challenge they ad facing in Chicago. I don't think it makes it any easier to win a championship, but it sounds like they have the potential to bound towards a common goal.

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    John, So sorry to hear about your dog. It's always tough to lose what many consider a family member!

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Thanks Bob. That is exactly what dogs are -- family members and Chloe has always been loyal and protective of all of us (even our bigger stronger rottweiler!), so now it's our turn to protect her and keep her comfortable.

  • Sorry to hear about Chloe John - especially on the heels of Eva's loss. It's hard saying goodbye to such dependable family members when their time does come.

    I'm not terribly shocked to see Bryant slated to start out in AA despite his apparent fast-track potential. If nothing else there is a log-jam ahead of him at 3B in AAA in the Beaz/Villanueva/Olt combo, and if he switches to the OF (as many here predict) it won't hurt for him to get those defensive reps in either.

    Everybody else seems about where you would expect them to fall out. Good to see that no 'plan' to rush anybody is in place.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Thank DrKaz, I appreciate that.

    AA is about right for Bryant -- especially after he dominated the AFL. He needs that challenge.

  • Anyone else hear Wittenmeyer on the Score today? Basically said he doesn't know anything concrete about the Cubs finances then speculated that they were strapped for cash because they cut scouts per diem and missed out on Darvish. Then went on to say the Cubs traded veteran players so they would have enough money to purchase international free agents totally ignoring the haul of prospects they received through trades. And finally he ended things by down playing all of the Cubs prospects chances for success. Seriously, what is up with this guy?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Well, I guess a healthy dose of skepticism balances my unbridled optimism.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Heard this as well. I was happy Spiegel challenged and disagreed a bit. This guy, in my opinion, was a Hendry friend and supporter. His attitude seems to be aimed at hoping this ownership and front office fails.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I have to strongly disagree with his reasoning here.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    I hadn't heard about cutting the per diem. That's interesting -- but to say that means the Cubs are having financial problems is a huge leap without further corroborating evidence and there doesn't seem to be any here.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I believe that is old news. they did cut the scouts per diem, but it was two years ago when they made the investment to more than double the scouting dept.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    If I remember correctly, the scouts still get $35.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    He has his own Agenda. If youve ever dealt with someone in the media biz(print or TV), its not uncommon. They often project there own biases into there reporting, and unfortunately, many sportswriters are as guilty of that as anyone.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Wittenmeyer is witless. Enough said.

  • Would love to know if Tanaka really has a preference for LA - as reported by many media outlets. I doubt - just my opinion - we will get outbid, but if he wants the west coast then how high do we have to go to change his opinion? And how much $$ do the Dodgers have now that they signed Kershaw to that contract??

    Here's an interview with Rick Renteria today on Mully&Hanley/WSCR in case you missed it....

  • Angel, my rescue dog, missing one eye and many teeth, and I will be rooting for Chloe!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks! And go Angel! :)

  • Can Olt play any other positions? Just wondering if he could be a utility player if he's not able to succeed as a MLB starter at third.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Olt can play LF, RF, and 1B, but his bat plays best at 3B and his glove is an asset there.

  • Sorry to hear about your dogs, John. I've been there. It's not easy to lose a pet, but when it seems that you will lose two fairly close together, that makes it even more difficult.

    It seems that the Tanaka sweepstakes may go right down to the wire. The next nine days will be suspenseful.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I've been there too, John. It hurts like hell. Just remember the long, happy life she had with you and enjoy the time you still have together. This too shall pass.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Thanks Eddie. We have some time to enjoy her and we will do that. She's still strong right now and, in fact, at this moment is politely wondering if she might have a bite of my sandwich.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Thanks Tinker.

    As for Tanaka, the Cubs are doing everything they can -- and that is all we can ask. Hopefully it's enough.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I totally agree John. All the Cubs can do is their absolute best. Ultimately Tenaka will play where he wants to play, and it's no reflection on their efforts.

    So sorry about Chloe. As many here, I've had similar experiences with my beloved pets. It's difficult, but the years they've spent with you is totally worth it.

  • In reply to midwestlefty:

    Thanks lefty, I appreciate that.

    And it's true, the Cubs can do everthing (within reason) and still miss out. In the end, it's Tanaka's choice and he's got a lot of nice options.

  • John: Your having a very tough dog year: Hang in there and give her the most love possible in her future time. (For all the loyalty she has show her family). John I agree the Cubs are going to give Olt the inside track for this season. He was on a comcast interveiw on along with alot of other prospects at NW university. It was a workout deal, also all the cub brass was there, and said how Renteria was communicating with the future prospects already. GOOD SIGN!

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    It really has been tough. We knew they were getting old and Eva had started getting sick. Chloe shows no signs of being unhealthy yet, so we're happy for that right now.

    I'd like to see Olt win that job and give them some D, good ABs, and a little RH power. It would also strengthen the IF overall.

  • Sorry about your pups, John. Our two dogs and two cats are our children. Let us know if there's anything we can do.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Thanks Carne. I appreciate that.

  • fb_avatar

    Carrie Muskat: #Cubs Renteria says he was part of meeting with Tanaka

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 3m

    Renteria joked that he ordered Rosetta stone tapes in Japanese. #Cubs

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I hope it worked!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They are trying to sell the Cubs as a team on the rise. That and a lot of money.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    You know what might help with that? If they brought all the prospects to Chicago and, say, had them go to a Blackhawks game to get out and get local media talking about how great they are. Oh, wait...

  • Sorry to hear the news John. Sounds like a great dog.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Thanks Kodak. She is indeed a great dog.

  • My dog Lucy sends her best to Chloe. It is amazing how attached we can become, like having children all over again.
    Wouldn't it be great if Hendricks could wind up as a solid major league starter, after all the drama and baloney over the Dempster trade?

  • Thanks to you and Lucy. Much appreciated. Dogs are family -- I don't think there are any two ways about it.

    If Hendricks ends up a 4th starter, I'll consider it a great deal because of the value of having that sort of pitcher for 6 years of cost control. If he's more than that, then it's grand theft for the Cubs.

  • Our family dogs Santo and Possum Breath died years ago, but are still a part of the family gatherings conversations. We still miss them.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Great names!

  • Glad to hear Renteria was involved also anyone can help. Just hope the LA BS with his wife being so wanting to live out west is not htat big of deal.

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    Maybe they should take Mrs Tanaka to East LA or Crenshaw. Betcha shed change her mind about LA in one big hurry.

  • fb_avatar

    Tough news about Chloe, John. But, it certainly sounds like both her and Eva have had a very loving home. Just watched "Marley and Me" with my girlfriend last week, third time I've seen it and I still cried like a kid!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Ha! Can't get through that movie without shedding a few tears!

    And thanks. She has a great home and it means everything to her. I'd like to say my wife and I are her guardians but it might be the other way around :)

  • So is Tanaka going to go down to the last day or will something get done before the 24th?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I suspect he'll wait until pretty close to the deadline.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is the deadline 11:59 PM EST on Friday?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    No, the deadline is 5pm eastern, Friday January 24th. The contract must be signed and the physical must be passed by that time. So news will likely have broken at the latest on the 23rd. Less than a week to go...

  • fb_avatar

    I would be selfishly disappointed if I didn't get the chance to see Almora in the FSL...but, it would be awesome to have all of "the big 4" at AA or above!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Just posted the same thing on FB. Sad day to hear that I may not get to see Almora play at Daytona. lol

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Can you imagine? The Smokies would be a lot of fun to watch. Not just the top 4, but also Edwards and maybe Pierce Johnson. That's 6 of their top 7 prospects.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Smokies better be televising their games on MiLB.TV again this year!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Yeah well you got to see Bryant last year when he skipped over us midwest leaguers up north here. So it all evens out :)

  • Sorry about Chloe's declining health, John. When I lost my best friend Bismark to cancer at 13, part of me died with him. My question of Fangraphs is, where is Mike Olt? Or is he pegged to be the 3B? Has his vision problems been fixed?

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Thanks. I think a lot of people are hedging their bets on Olt. They want to make sure his vision is okay. Won't really know until he gets on the field.

  • John - thinking about you and your family as you deal with Chloe's declining health.

    On a more light hearted note, glad you are now openly admitting your raging man-crush on Almora!! You earned it, now own it! :)

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Thanks R2G, I appreciate that.

    And oh yeah, I like Almora more than most, but I tend to like those kind of players, so I'm probably a little biased. Love Baez, Bryant and Soler, but my 2015 Cubs jersey is going to have Almora across the back!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Love Almora too. All of these guys seemed destined to succeed in life. I love that Hendricks went back to Dartmouth for a degree in economics (in case I ever become an agent). I love that Olt is exuding the right amount of confidence. I love that Baez understands and buys into the need for another year of seasoning and hopefuly does dominate like last year. I love that Bryant will probably open in AAA. And Edwards putting on some weight. These guys are all mentally sound leaders with amazing baseball skills.

    Sorry about your dog John.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Thank BTC, I appreciate that. It's very cool that Hendricks majored in Economics at an Ivy School. These days that gets you into a front office. I can see that with him after his career is over.

  • Hang in there John. After never having a pet, my daughter dropped off her cat for us to watch for "a week" in March of 09. Well, almost 5 years later we still have her and love her. I feel your pain.

  • In reply to JimmyLeeMcMath:

    Thanks Jimmy. Much appreciated.

  • I never had to watch my first dog suffer through a sickness. She was only 6 years old, and I thought in good health, when she collapsed and died in my arms after a short run. I am not sure which is worse, the unexpected or knowing the end is coming. Thoughts are with you.

  • Having lost our beloved Moe (16.5 yrs) in November, the wife and I can relate to your situation, John. There's something unfair about dogs only living 10-15 years and tortoises until 150. The most comforting thing is I can tell Chloe is well-pampered.

    Not many pundits are giving the Cubs much more than a 10% shot at Tanaka, but on our team he'd be the centerpiece of a resurgence. On the Yanks, Dodgers, or Angels he'd be just another star on the roster.

    I can easily see Soler starting at TN, but where to put Almora has to be a major focus right now. Given that Baez tore up the Midwest League and still managed to struggle for a while in Daytona, I'd be surprised if Almora skipped high A. But it has to be tempting to get guys like Bryant, Soler, Edwards, Johnson, & AA on the same roster. With all the int'l experience Almora had and his performance thus far in the minors, he's one guy that could handle a double promotion IMO

  • In addition to Olt's vision issue is the concussion part of the injury. He took a tough shot to his head and often pretty macho type players become a bit gun shy and, about the time they get into a groove, a little chin music knocks them off their square. One thing for sure, if he comes back, he's a keeper.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I've considered the same thing about Olt being gun shy after taking a FB to the head. However after reading about the issue of his eye not producing fluid, I imagine that it is miserable for him to stand on a dusty baseball diamond and try to read a pitch. I think he is tough enough to be able to stand back in there. It's going to be about whether he can see the ball or not.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    remember Sosa's stance after he was hit in the head? his butt was halfway to third base.

  • The bit about the per diem was two years ago? old news. Cub fan since mid sixties, season ticket holder for 12 years. I read everything I can about the future of the Cubs and can't believe these reporters don't as well. The score guys are white sox biased, Kaplan while a nice guy doesn't seem to know as much as he thinks he knows.At the season ticket holder seat event last month my rep told me Cubs Den was a favorite with his co workers. I'm excited about 2014 and am getting a personal tour of the new ST facilities on tuesday.

  • I was reading yesterday about Edwards trying to put weight on. It is not that hard to put 20lbs of muscle on in 3 months. It just sucks shoving a bunch of shakes and food down your throat everyday. It kind of drives me nuts reading that. I'm really rooting for the guy but man his stock would shoot up if he hit the gym and did some deadlifts.

  • In reply to Jason Diedrich:

    Also sorry about the dogs... I have three myself so I understand.

  • In reply to Jason Diedrich:

    True, but it's the good kind of weight he's trying to put on. Would you want him to show up as Bartolo Edwards in February for pitchers and catchers? Sometimes guys just can't gain muscle, period.

  • John sorry to hear about Chloe. Like many here have said it's so hard losing a pet who is a part of the family. As far as Tanaka I believe Cubs will not only not be outbid but will be creative with their offer which may be the key to signing him. Hoping Olt wins 3b job but if he doesn't do you think the FO will use him at 1b at Iowa?

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Thanks Kansas.

    I think it's going to take a combo of a big bid and a creatively structured deal. And they'll have to sell him on Chicago and the Plan.

  • A few weeks ago when Theo was on Sports Central he was asked if he had a favorite from the Top 4. He implied that he might have a favorite but of course couldn't answer. For some reason I thought he might especially like Almora because of his makeup. Just thinking.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    If I had to guess, I'd say Almora as well.

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    at this point in the negotiations I am not believing anything anyone says about the Tanaka negotiations. Cubs pushing hard? This is not news, Theo said they would and I believe him. No story here. But one day the Angels are finalists, the next day they're not even in the hunt, one day the White Sox are "lurking," the next day they're not realistic candidates. One day the Cubs won't be outbid, the next day the Dodgers might offer something silly. There is a lockdown on leaks coming out of this negotiation tighter than a sailor on shore leave, and anything anyone is reporting is personal speculation wrapped in 3 week old news couched in some lackey's secret wish to be Deep Throat. We will know in 1 week. Until then, if you want gossip go read about the Kardashians on Huffington Post.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It's not news because I've been saying it for 4 months now :) In all seriousness, I've known from the beginning that the Cubs were going to be serious bidders. That part is not gossip.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Absolutely, because of you I haven't read the trib or sun times in months

  • Really sorry to hear about your dog's, John. That's a tough deal. Best wishes to you and your family.

    So , what are your thoughts on Olt should he tank it in the Spring and not break with the big club? Where does that put Villa? Back in AA? I'm sure that at some point Javy will get reps at third in Iowa as well. Is there room in Iowa for Olt and Villanueva?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks Ben. I think if Olt tanks, he goes to AAA and the Cubs move him around from 3B, to LF, RF, and 1B.

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    Very sorry to hear about Chloe.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Thanks Mike.

  • fb_avatar

    Yet more on Tanaka. The buzz has been building steadily all day.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks for that link - but again, conflicting reports. Kaplan says he needs a couple of days after signing to complete a physical. But previous reports said he had a physical when he was in the US. Which goes to show, nobody don't know nothin'.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    My read on that is he had a generic physical to send reports to interested teams. No team is going to sign him to a 9-figure deal if their doctors don't okay him, first.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    they want a generic physical? how about this one: 24-0 ;)

  • In 2011 we snagged baez in the 9 hole and the marlins got jose fernendez 14th. Who would you rather of taken looking back on it? And this is assuming baez hits his ceiling. but would you rather have an ace or a middle infeilder with power?

  • In reply to INgold91:

    Good question. I think the shelf life of a power-hitting middle infielder is probably longer than that of a power pitcher. As a Cubs fan, when I think of young phenom pitchers I can't help but remember Prior.

  • John, Sorry about Chloe but at least she's not suffering. The choice Tanaka makes may come down to intangibles. What does he value most, being on a team where he may be the ace that leads the cubs to a world series? Yes the money is important, bur at this point I imagine the people in the FO and the manager are where he's taking a hard look.

  • John, we had to put our 19 year old Siamese cat down this morning. I changed the channel in my head as best I could once we got home. The news of the Cub prospects helped with that. Baseball is just around the corner, but unfortunately, our Jasmine isn't. Thanks for the blog.

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    Julie DiCaro ‏@JulieDiCaro 1m

    #Cubs are "major players" for Tanaka. One source would be "surprised if they DON'T get him."

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    This has been the most fascinating day on Twitter. The story has done a 180 in 24 hours time.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    This is interesting, but does anyone really know what the guy is thinking? How would any source, unless they are in Tanaka's camp, have any inside info. Things have been kept insanely quiet, and I think it's worse because of the language barrier. Remember how the Blue Jays were said to have all but signed Darvish and then...they didn't? I don't think we hear anything concrete until a day or two before the signing deadline.

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    In reply to 2015HereWeCome:

    and remember the Cespedes signing? who had him going to the A's until he did? Following the speculation can be fun, but getting worked up about it is silly.

  • John, so sorry to hear about Chloe. We have two dogs and lost one to cancer years ago. I know how devastating it is. Glad you're feeding her table scripts, I'm sure she's earned them. Regarding Tanaka, the Cubs really need this one. Not only for all of the reasons discussed, but the Cubs need a big win for a change. They've been the bridesmaid all too often at the major league level of late. A big time signing like this would be some nice momentum to take into 2014.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Thank you for that.

    Agree on the Cubs needing to win this one. I know they're doing all they can and some of it is out of their control, but I will be disappointed if they don't land Tanaka more than I would have been for any FA since Jorge Soler. I think it may top the disappointment in not landing Anibal Sanchez.

  • It Tananka is a true competitor it's got be be more than just money to him. If he signs in with the Dodgers, he'd be a second or third in the rotation at best. With the Yankees, maybe the ace, but for a season or two as they crumble with age and no minor league system. With the Cubs, if things go right he could be a legend in this city. Jordan did here. Don't discount the ego factor if he decides to sign here.

  • john sorry about your dog I know how it feels to lose a dog to sickness. This is off subject but am I the only one who thinks that Kershaw was over paid ? I know that he is young but his arm isn't, And I know that he has seven years instead of ten and an out in five but what if he gets hurt before five and stays for the seven ? If it was me I would have offered him my price if he did not take it he would have been traded.

  • Just wanted to add my own consolations here, John. Very sorry to hear about Chloe. Hang in there. Maybe a little Ardbeg will help out...

  • Hardball MLB

    A number of owners are “convinced” that the Cubs will sign Masahiro Tanaka

    D.J. Short

    Jan 16, 2014, 8:03 PM EST
    1 Comment

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this morning that the Cubs are “pushing hard” to sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have obviously received much of the attention so far, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides more evidence why we should start taking the Cubs seriously here:

    It’s unclear what a “monster deal” means exactly, but one would have to assume that it would be well above $100 million. It could be worth it for a team like the Cubs, who are trying to find their way back to relevancy. While they are loaded with top position prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Alberto Almora, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara, they are a bit short on the pitching side. Signing Tanaka, while expensive, would be huge for the rebuilding effort.

    Tanaka has until January 24 (next Friday) at 5:00 p.m. ET to sign with a team.

  • Dogs are the best. Their love is unconditional. Be thankful for the memories John. This should be a good summer to watch minor league baseball. We are planning road trips to see the three Midwest teams. Thought it would be fun to see the prospects before they get to the show.

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    Jayson Stark joins the party: In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal.

    This much smoke, there has to be a fire. Doesn't mean we're going to sign him, but we are clearly all in.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Best thing to do if there's a lot of smoke, don't hold your breath.

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    In reply to Ray:


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    Fangraphs top 10 cubs:
    baez, bryant, almora, soler, alcantara, johnson, CJ, Vogs, Vizcaino, kyle hendricks
    interestingly, they also list eloy jimenez in the top 15, as #14

  • John- sorry to hear about Chloe n Eva. When it rains it pours. I did want say what a great job u do here and most notably the comment section. I come here first everyday and read every article n most links. If it's a slower day I read every comment, but recently have had more time and so I'm burning thru everything and found myself reading the comment section on And all I can say is wow, I had completely forgot about the trollers and negative people that simply just like to piss other people off. I don't know how u keep this environment, but well done sir. And well done to all the readers and contributors here for keeping this site the best place to talk or read baseball!

  • Is there a chance that it's more about where he wants to play than it is about money?

  • Give Tanaka $10 Mil up front and $25 mil for 5 years so he can get another contract. That way he doesn't waste 7-8 years like Sori.

  • give Tanaka $10 mil up front, a heated seat and $25mil for 5 years so he can get a new contract at 30.

  • So sorry John to hear about Chloe, believe me it's hard to see your friend suffer. As for Tanaka, I will also be very bummed if they don't land him, it seems like the stars aligning for it to happen

  • I tried posting earlier but it didn't take. My condolences on Chloe and Eva. When it rains it pours. I did want to say what a great job you do on the site and especially the commenting section. The articles and comments on the site usually consume my day, but yesterday I had burned thru everything and was reading comments on the link, and all I can say is wow. I completely forgot about the troller's, and negative a$$ho/@es, that simply just look to be negative and make illogical arguments. Well done sir, and everybody else here. I'm Ron Burgundy? You stay classy Cubs Den.

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    Thanks MT, sorry about your posts getting caught up in the spam filter. Appreciate the kinds words.

  • Hey, John - I feel for you, man. Been down that same road too many times in my 65 years. The heck of it is, we are likely to outlive our pets, thus we have to give them up when we love them so very much. And how they love us. How does anyone not love to death a creature that would do most anything to please you, that is so happy to see you walk through the door even if you've only been gone an hour? I think dogs, especially, are a gift from above. We have two that are the love of our lives and I hate to think of the day when they go.

    Now, before I start tearing up, I cannot wait to see this year's Tennessee roster. I live within about an hour of the Smokies and I will be going as much as I can. Excitement reigns!

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Thanks for the touching words '69. You described our relationship with dogs very well.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing Tennessee as well. This time a road trip is in order.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe we can meet up sometime for a game or two. Nine innings of baseball and baseball discussion would be great.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Any time. I go to more minor league games than majors these days, so that would be easier if that works with you. Otherwise we'll try and get a Cubs game on the same day.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Once we get into the season, let me know when you'd like to come down here and I'll get us tickets. I'd like to go to a game when Johnson or Edwards is starting, if possible.

  • John I wish nothing but the best for your Rotti, 14 is a great life for a large breed dog. But if she is tough as You say youll be blowing out her 15th maybe 16th birthday candles. A better friend mankind never had than that of a family dog.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Thanks, Bryan. Very much agree. It's my doberman, Chloe, that's 14. My rotti passed a couple months ago when she was 10. Both had/have great long lives for their breeds. So we are very lucky.

    It wouldn't surprise me to see Chloe hang on for another year, but whatever happens she'll be well taken care of while we still have her.

  • ESPN's Jason Starks:
    "In non-replay news, amazing how many owners in Ariz. were convinced #Cubs are ready to blow away the field & sign Tanaka to a monster deal."

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    Cubs and Valbuena avoid arbitration. 1.71 million.

  • John, thank you for your personal touch telling the tale of your doggies. Many of us have had to deal with either the loss or illness of our loved pets. Like yourself with in a week we had to put down our 12 year old Sheltie and ten year old Collie. This was four years ago and we still miss them so. On the upside with in a short period of time we got ourselves a Border Collie. What a treat she is. Still the wife will not let me get at second one, bummer.
    Good read, really good read on Johnson. As well seeing pics of the 15 at camp, kind of gave me goose pimples.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Thanks Wild Bill. We are already planning on getting another dog. We planned this before we knew Chloe was sick because we think she misses Eva. We went in a completely different direction this time in that we are getting a smaller dog. Chloe likes all dogs, big, medium, and small and she's always been nurturing and good with puppies, so we hope this gives her a little boost and some canine companionship in her remaining time.

    Really liked that interview with Johnson too. Really gives you a feel for what kind of pitcher he is.

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    Two interesting stories today. First, Ken Davidoff of the NY Post has the Cubs *and* the White Sox as serious players for Tanaka. I think losing him to the White Sox would hurt more than losing him to a coast.

    Second, Vogelbach was 4th on's list of top first baseman but what struck me is how barren that position is. The first two (Singleton and Dominic Smith) are very good. Cron (#3) and Vogelbach have high ceilings but a lot to prove. Then it falls off pretty substantially. And as I'm writing this, Jim Callis confirms:

    Not just you. Very thin. @snaketrain: is it me, or is 1B a relatively thin position prospect wise right now?

    I wonder if that will increase the return when the Cub inevitably have to trade Rizzo or Vogelbach.

  • Sorry to hear about Chloe, John. Dogs are amazing. There is no person who is as happy to see us as dogs are on an everyday basis. It's a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Keep fighting Chloe!

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