Cubs Could Reportedly Challenge the Yankees for Masahiro Tanaka

Jed Hoyer said nearly a month ago the Cubs would be involved in the bidding process for Japanese right hander Masahiro Tanaka. The Cubs have done their homework on Tanaka and are very interested in signing him.

No one expects the Yankees to be outbid for the right to negotiate a deal with Tanaka, if Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball can agree on a new posting system, and he is posted this winter. The Dodgers, Rangers, Angels and Red Sox are also expected to place a bid for Tanaka. And while the Cubs have been viewed as a longshot at best, those reports might not be accurate according to Joel Sherman.

Joel Sherman was told by two teams that expect to place a bid for Tanaka “to keep an eye out for the Cubs” because they “are a candidate to be really aggressive” for Masahiro Tanaka.

During his meetings with the season-ticket holders, Theo Epstein mentioned that he wished there was free agency for young players and was looking for the Cubs to be more active on the international market. Tanaka would fit a need for the Cubs and if he can pitch near projections, he would give them a top of the rotation starter.

According to Sherman’s report, “there are officials who say the sale (of the Cubs to the Ricketts family) contains provisions that financially handcuff Ricketts that would not be a factor for a posted player.”

Masahiro Tanaka was thought to be high on the Cubs’ priority list this off-season, and if he is posted it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Cubs actually are in the process.

Posting Process

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are trying to hammer out a new posting system, one that was expected to be finalized on Nov. 1. The two leagues met last week prior to the holiday in New York but were unable to reach an agreement.

According to reports from Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, there is a new wrinkle in the talks. MLB proposed maximum bids on players that are posted. Brown reported that if more than one team placed the maximum bid then each team would be allowed to negotiate with the player.

MLB is looking for a way to make the posting system an even playing field for all 30 teams, just not the high revenue clubs that can pay out the enormous fees just for the 30 day window to negotiate a contract.

Jon Paul Morosi reported an agreement on a new posting system is not close at this point. Morosi added that the uncertainty on whether or not Masahiro Tanaka will be posted is lingering over the pitching market.

Joel Sherman was told if a new posting system is not in place in the next 7-10 days, “the probability of having a system this off-season all but disappears, because MLB teams need to know sooner or later whether to budget for the chase.”

Sherman added to Tim Brown’s report and said the current proposal from MLB has a max threshold of just $20 million. It has not been determined what would happen if multiple teams put in a maximum bid. Japanese teams are “strongly against this system” because they would not receive enough for their players.

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