Cubs and MLB Could Find Out This Week If Masahiro Tanaka Will Be Posted

The Cubs and the rest of baseball could find out this week if the Rakuten Golden Eagles will make Masahiro Tanaka available this winter. As previously reported, Rakuten’s offices are closed through Dec. 23 but Tanaka has been making public appearances in Japan over the last two days according to Baseball America. Ben Badler reported Tanaka has other events scheduled to start on Dec. 26 which could mean that Tanaka might meet with his team to discuss his future on either Dec. 24 or Dec. 25.

As Ben Badler pointed out, Rakuten has not made a decision on whether or not they will post Masahiro Tanaka this winter. Rakuten’s President, Yoho Tachibana promised on Friday the announcement would not be delayed much longer. Rakuten and Tanaka are expected to meet face-to-face about whether the team will post him or not before their decision is made public.

Another hold-up in Rakuten’s decision could be the currency exchange rate from the dollar to the yen. The exchange rate has fluctuated over the last several months while MLB and NPB worked out the new posting system.

Masahiro Tanaka has narrowed his search for an agent down to Casey Close, Arn Tellem and Mark Pieper. According to a report from Japan, Casey Close appears to be the frontrunner at this point to represent Tanaka.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles are on record stating they will do everything possible to keep him in Japan and pitching for their team. Reports last week suggested Rakuten could even double his current salary to around $8 million, which would make Tanaka the highest paid player in the history of Nippon Professional Baseball. Tanaka is currently under contract for the next two seasons at roughly $4 million per year.

During one of his recent public appearances, Tanaka was asked if he would still be motivated to help Rakuten win ballgames next year if he is not allowed to pitch in the majors. Tanaka told the Japanese newspaper that his motivation to win games would not change.

Rakuten’s decision on whether or not to post Tanaka is holding up the free agent and trade market for starting pitchers throughout baseball. And some feel the delay is helping out the Yankees, who are committed to get under the $189 million self-imposed salary cap for next season. The longer the Eagles take to decide on posting Tanaka gives the Yankees more time for a resolution on how many games Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for next year. Brian Cashman would, in turn, be able to use the money “saved” by the Rodriguez suspension to put toward adding another big-ticket player to his payroll … like Masahiro Tanaka.

The Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Diamondbacks and Mariners are expected to be the most aggressive in their attempts to sign Tanaka, if he is posted. And it could cost a Major League team upwards of $120 million over the next six-plus years to add him to the front of their rotation.

It could be a very busy Christmas throughout the game of baseball, one way or the other, if a decision is announced concerning Masahiro Tanaka’s future.

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  • 07GreyDigger

    It’s amazing that one guy holds up the whole FA SP market. That means that the Rakuten Golden Eagles are really getting hosed on the change in posting rules.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      But see what happens after when Tanaka does make his final choice……it will be the “Domino” theory on trades and other free agent signings afterwards………Yankees, Texas, Dodgers, Angels, Diamondbacks & Mariners will be all biding heavily on Tanaka……….oh sure the Cubs will bid…..but not in the major madness amount that these other teams will…….what will be amazing will be the trade offers for Samardzija in July.

  • paulcatanese

    And what happens when Sushi is not used?
    It spoils:)

    • CubbyDenCritic

      and if you eat too much Sushi or have bad Sushi, your stomach turns for days.

  • paulcatanese

    Again, why would the Cubs put up a 20mil posting fee for Tanaka, unless it’s an interest bearing account? They, the FO are not going to again put out the kind of money it would take to sign him, I just believe Theo and Hoyer have that on their mind, they are too sharp. This has the earmarks of easing the fan base. Not going to happen. Put the money where it will actually help the team, and sign someone that will have some kind of impact now. One pitcher will not be the answer, wheras
    two or three mid-level players would.

    • raymondrobertkoenig

      The Cubs will put up the posting fee if Tanaka is posted, if they don’t sign him they get the posting fee back.

  • daverj

    I think the Cubs will make very substantial offer for Tanaka. I could see the Cubs offering something like 8 years at $140 million plus the $20 million posting fee. Tanaka fits the Cubs long term plan in that he is a young (25) free agent pitcher with ace potential (a rarity in free agency these days). I think Tanaka may ultimately turn the Cubs down and sign with the Yankees, but an offer like that from the Cubs would be more than just an attempt to appease the fan base.

    • cubtex

      8 for 160? Wow! If he turns that one down….he would be nuts imo. I can’t see another team going 8 years for an umproven Japanese pitcher who will probably break down during that 8 year time frame.

      • Tony_Hall

        He will probably break down during the 6 year contracts we are all seeing talked about.

        Big Market baseball….Right?

        • cubtex

          hahaha. Big Market baseball is to “overpay” for a player to help you win a WS by adding a few extra years on the contract that you would normally not go just to assure you get the player over another team. Big Market Baseball…….I hope one day we will be there!

          • Tony_Hall

            That is why they will be willing to overpay Tanaka at age 25 and if they have to, do it in years. I would rather give 8 years to a 25 year old than these 7 and 8 year contracts to 31 and 32 year old’s.

          • cubtex

            but like I pointed out in my example…the first 3 years it will be a waste…unless they speed up the rebuild. Year 4 he could get hurt and a lot can happen with a Japanese pitcher who has never pitched under these conditions. That is why a Darvish was such a good fit for the Rangers. They have gone for it since they aquired him.

          • daverj

            Would it be a waste to give Cub fans 30 starts from Tanaka to get excited about?

          • cubtex

            As long as they don’t waste those 30 starts with an outfield of Schierholtz,Sweeney and Lake…with Valbuena or Barney at 2B. If you are going to invest 20 mil per year on a starting pitcher,give that starting pitcher a competitive team to pitch for.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Not that I think any of those combinations are good, but how many teams have won championships with poor hitting, but great pitching? The 2010 Giants come to mind. 3.36 team ERA and .257 team average.

          • cubtex

            Giants had a MVP caliber player in Buster Posey in the middle of their lineup to help with the complimentary players. Giants also had 3 studs in the rotation….not one. I agree with you on pitching. That is why I was so against the Cashner deal. You can win with good pitching and average players at a couple of spots in the field.

          • paulcatanese

            Remember the “Hitless wonders from the South side”?

          • paulcatanese

            I agree with the age and the extension. Also with the need to bring help in the lineup as you’re compadre (Tex), has stated.

      • daverj

        I agree with you. I expect other teams like the Yanks will offer 6 years at $120 million. The likely strategy for the Cubs to get him over those teams is to offer more dollars/years. I don’t think other teams will offer him the 8 years.

        The Cubs have to overpay if they want to act like a big market team (and for now the Cubs likely have to overpay more than others until the Cubs start winning).

        Didn’t the Yanks just overpay for Ellsbury and the Rangers overpay for Choo?

        You have stated you want the Cubs to start acting like a big market team in free agency … that means overpaying for free agents.

        • cubtex

          Exactly. So I am fine if they do an 8 year deal with him…AS LONG AS they do that as well with position players and field a playoff type team within a year. Those teams like the Yanks and Rangers are trying to win.

          • daverj

            Their need for position players (and which positions) will depend a lot on how Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Bryant, Soler and Alcantara develop in 2014 … this is a critical year for that group and the team.

          • cubtex

            A need for position players is obvious. Even if ALL their prospects hit within 2 years(highly unlikely) they have room to add better players(especially in the outfield)

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            I’ll bite. What OF FAs should the Cubs sign?

          • cubtex

            Nice to see you actually ask a question and add to the discussion. If you have been reading what I have been saying….I mentioned trade possibilities. Dexter Fowler would have been an big upgrade. Adam Eaton would have been nice. Trade James Russell. They don’t need a guy like him when this team isn’t going anywhere. Relief pitchers are not long term assets unless named Mariano Rivera.

          • daverj

            Ray – I really like Fowler and Eaton too, but who would the Cubs have traded to acquire them. Would you have traded Shark for Skaggs and Eaton? … I’m not sure if that deal was available to the Cubs, but I don’t think there is a player on the Cubs roster (other than Shark) that the DBacks would have accepted for Eaton. Also, the Cubs didn’t have a young, major league ready starter with upside to deal to the Rox for Fowler. A couple years ago, Lyles was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. His stock has fallen a bit, but the Cubs don’t have an equivalent pitcher to deal.

            There likely weren’t any realistic outfield options available for the Cubs.

            Would you have wanted the Cubs to outbid Texas for Choo? I would not want Choo for those numbers.

          • Tony_Hall

            Pretty easy to throw out a couple of names, much harder to make a trade work out.

          • cubtex

            Of course it is but the point is those guys were moved. I would trade almost anyone on the major league team who I don’t consider a core piece. That means Arrieta, Strop,Russell, EJax,Travis Wood as far as pitchers go. And every position player but Castro and Rizzo. I would even move Castillo because I am not sold on him long term. Does that give you a lot of chips to upgrade the outfield and 2nd base with a long term player?

          • SuzyS

            The main concern re: Castillo for me is maintaining his health.
            Other than that…I think he’ll be OK until the Cubs can land a better catcher.
            That being said, unless you already have a better replacement in hand…I don’t see using him as a trade chip at all….We are stretched too thin at catcher as it is.

          • cubtex

            My point if he has value now to a team and you don’t think he is your core catcher…move him in the right deal. You can always band aid that position for a year.

          • daverj

            I don’t think any of those guys (or any group of them) would have brought back Fowler or Eaton. You could likely get a decent relief pitcher or platoon outfielder type for Wood, but nothing too exciting given that GM’s must have seen Wood’s underlying skill stats from last year which were more of a pitcher with a 4.00-4.5 ERA.

          • cubtex

            You think Lyles has more value than Travis Wood? Wood has a lot more value than Santiago as well IMO. He had an excellent year. You could get a lot more for Wood than a relief pitcher or platoon outfielder.

          • daverj

            Unless I was trying to win a world series in 2014 and was in need of a #5 starter, I would absolutely trade Wood for Lyles. You are correct that Wood had an excellent year in 2013 … at least on the surface. A closer look at his 2013 xFIP, HR/9, K/9, flyball rates and HR/FB would scream fluke season to anyone who looked at the underlying numbers. GMs know those numbers and thus wouldn’t trade much for Wood. Wood is a good #5 starter or a decent #4. Lyles has the upside to be a #2 starter. Lyles also has the downside of a total bust so there is much more outcome variation for him than Wood, but if I’m in rebuilding mode, I want Lyles over Wood … and it’s not even close.

            I think Wood has a lot less trade value than you think he does.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Yeah after seeing how these threads devolve, I don’t often feel inclined to participate in a conversation. Where in this thread is there a comment about trading?
            This article pretty much sums up Fowler’s value, which isn’t very much : http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/astros-rockies-bet-on-different-kinds-of-potential/

            Eaton would have been a nice pick up.

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