Updating The Daily Tanaka and Other Cubs News and Notes

It’s the final day of 2013. Will the Cubs make any moves on the last day of the year? From all indications, the Cubs’ front office is focused on Masahiro Tanaka right now and for the most part, so is the rest of baseball. At least in between the Hall of Fame debates.

Masahiro Tanaka’s workload made a headline on Monday. Jeff Passan reported that Tanaka’s pitch counts are a concern to a number of executives surveyed by Yahoo Sports. According to the report, Masahiro Tanaka has averaged more pitches per start (113.3) over the past five seasons than Justin Verlander (112.9) and Felix Hernandez (106.5). Passan went onto explain the pitch counts he amassed as a 17-year old and as a 20-year old then reminded everyone of the 160 pitches he threw in game six of the Japan Series and followed it up the next day with a 15-pitch effort to close out Rakuten’s first championship.

Masahiro Tanaka completed 1315 innings in 175 games during his seven-year career in Japan while Yu Darvish totaled 1268 1/3 innings in 167 appearances during his seven years with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Teams that are interested in signing Tanaka may be willing to take the risk for a right-hander who just turned 25 in November due to his projected upside. And as Passan pointed out, Tanaka does throw what has been labeled the best splitter in the world.

Wallace Matthews reported the Yankees have not made “meaningful contact” with Casey Close about Tanaka and they probably will not until next week. According to the report, “Close is said to be on vacation with his family and will not be open for business again until Monday.”

The Diamondbacks are considering making a trip to Japan to speak with Tanaka and the Dodgers have yet to confirm publicly if they are interested in Tanaka. The Cubs and Giants are the other two NL teams known to have interest.

Mike DiGiovanna reported on Monday he believes the Angels are going hard after Tanaka following a conversation with Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto. As for the other AL West teams, the Mariners are thought to be all in on Tanaka as well and the Astros have also been connected to Tanaka. But Houston is viewed as a longshot, at best, to sign Tanaka and many feel the Twins fall into the same category as the Astros.

The Rangers do not appear to be in the mix for Tanaka. Jon Daniels would not comment directly about Tanaka was he was asked about his team’s interest in him last week. Daniels said he was looking to add more of a back of the rotation starter to his team and not a top of the rotation arm. Thad Levine, the Rangers’ assistant GM, reiterated the same on Monday morning during an interview with Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth on MLB Network Radio. Levine said at this point the Rangers are looking at moving forward with the team they have in place. Levine added if the season started tomorrow they would be ready to go and they really like their starting rotation the way it is currently constructed.

As for the other teams in the American League that could make a run at Masahiro Tanaka. As Nick Cafardo reported, the Red Sox figure to be big players in The Tanaka Sweepstakes before it is all said and done. And, do not count out the Toronto Blue Jays in this process. Alex Anthropolous has been looking for a top of the rotation starter and the Blue Jays have done all of their homework on Masahiro Tanaka.

Teams have until Jan. 24 at 4:00pm CST to sign Masahiro Tanaka to a contract.

News and Notes

FanGraphs posted two good reports on Masahiro Tanaka on Monday. Click on the links to read Dave Cameron’s Masahiro Tanka and Prospect Valuation‘ and Tony Blegino’s ‘Tanaka-Fest: This Is Going To Be Insane

Jason Parks revealed more information about Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 Prospects for 2014 on Monday. Parks has already indicated Javier Baez will be ranked among the top five prospects in the game and that three of the Cubs’ young players will be ranked in the top 25. The Cubs will have seven prospects in the Top 101 for 2014, tied for the second most in baseball. Parks tweeted on Monday the Twins will place eight prospects in the BP 101 followed by the Cubs, Royals, Pirates and Rangers with seven. The Red Sox will have six players ranked in the Top 101.

Comcast SportsNet took a look at what the Cubs will be up against in the NL Central in 2014 as the teams are currently constructed.

Yes, the game has changed according to Bernie Pleskoff.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Fujikawa came over, pitched 12 ineffective innings, and had surgery.

    My feeling is that Tanaka will come over and
    have surgery, too.

    • raymondrobertkoenig

      Great points! The Cubs should not break the bank for Tanaka.

      • Eugene Debs

        The Cubs have cut the payroll so much that several “big money” moves would not break the bank from an operational income standpoint.

        The problem is the enormous debt the ownership accrued when borrowing this team from banks.

        With such non-debt overhead, financially the team will improve. But payroll has nearly bottomed out – its time to invest.

        A 25 year old MLB ready pitcher that does not cost any talent or draft picks is worth it.

        • raymondrobertkoenig

          I have no problem with the Cubs signing Tanaka as long as they don’t give him Verlander-type money. Even if he’s healthy and stays that way, he’s not worth 20+ million per season.

          • Eugene Debs

            Valid point.

            That being said, by becoming the worst team in baseball and the least secure location for longevity, the Cubs are going to have to pay everyone more than they are worth for a bit.

            See: Nationals.

            Now, they get good players at market rates. That was not the case a few years ago.

            The situations are similar except the Cubs are theoretically in a better market and have the advantage of a rabid fan base. Just like the Nationals, we are seeing massive talent waves in the minors.

            To get Tanaka, the 2014 Cubs are going to have to overpay. The cost to develop a Tanaka is also enormous.

    • Sonate

      I share your fear. However, it seems that there have been some pitchers with “rubber arms” that can throw many innings each year without losing effectiveness. Steve Carlton and our own Fergie Jenkins come to mind. Is Tanaka in the set of resilient pitchers (like Jenkins) or in the set of brittle pitchers (like Kerry Wood)? Hopefully, Theo’s crystal ball won’t be cloudy on this question.

      • 07GreyDigger

        I’m not sure we can compare today’s pitchers to Carlton and Jenkins. That was a different era. We’ll never see guys throw 300 innings ever again and I think a lot of those guys pitched more with their legs than their arms. Signing any pitcher is an injury risk, but a 25 year old is a risk I’d be willing to take over a 30 plus pitcher. To me, pitchers in MLB are becoming like RB’s in the NFL. After a certain age, let them be someone else’s problem.

        • Sonate

          I agree on all points. Tanaka’s previous workload has certainly increased his risk of injury, but youth is a mitigating factor. Theo is somehow going to have to put a $ figure on the risk factor.

      • mutantbeast

        Ever see Steve Carltons workout. Part of it included sticking his arm in a 25 lb bucket of rice and twisting in 10 times. Besides, Carlton never threw that wipeout slider until he was 30, and even he had arm problems in 1974 when he first threw it, until he started working out with Gus Hoeffling.

    • GaryLeeT

      There are plenty of Japanese pitchers like Darvish, and Kuroda that had almost the identical workload, but didn’t break down. I am not going to look it up, but I would be willing to bet that the same percentage of regular MLB pitchers get TJ surgery as do pitchers that come over from Japan. Plus, Tanaka’s stats look more dramatic because you are getting them from the age of 18.

      • cubtex

        1300 plus innings is a lot of wear and tear on the arm for a 25 year old. I think I read somewhere that he averaged 118 pitches per start as well. This guy makes sense for a “ready to win now” team.
        This could be a Mark Prior scenario where you have a short window with him ( 3 or 4 years as an example) to win with him.

        • cubtex

          I guess Neil posted a different article about pitch count concerns and Tanaka :) Didn’t notice it till afterwards.

    • cubtex

      Remember my scenario? That is why imo they need to add pieces immediately and try to win now if they sign him. It is very possible that he gets hurt in say…year 3 of his deal (just when the team is starting to compete.) If he pitches well in the 1st 2 years of the deal and the team fails to make the playoffs….it is a waste of a playoff type asset and money that could have been used elsewhere.

      • BigJonLilJon

        Its possible ANY pitcher gets hurt in any year of the contract. It is and always be a crap shoot. You swing for the fences and cross your fingers you get it right. Tanaka is a good chance for us to take!!! A frontline pitcher who fits in with long term plan… not like a Jimenez!!

      • Ripsnorter1

        I remember and I agree: he’ll get injured, and probably around year 3.

        If they signed him, it would make no sense not to pay Samardzija and to pay Garza.

        I don’t see them signing any of the three.

    • Nick Pappigeorgia

      let’s remember; the kid is 25 and already has 1300 plus innings pitched. that’s 220 IP on avg. the Shark has 560 IP for his career and is 29.
      that workload is gonna be a problem as he ages.
      if that was prior or wood with that many IP; fans would be going nuts.

  • Brp921

    Thanks for the fangraphs “prospect valuations” link Neil. It’s a great read. I think the last paragraph was the key to explaining how possibly overpaying for an unproven talent is reasonable. Not having to trade costly developed talent for a young unproven player has a value. I hope our front office does go all out for Tanaka. After reading that article I think it’s a good move regardless of the outcome.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Neil, there’s also a great article on MLB Trade Rumors who did an interview with former pitcher CJ Nitowski who pitched in Japan and said that Japanese pitchers do get a lot of wear in Japan, but some of that almost reverses itself due to much lighter workloads here in the states.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/cj-nitkowski-qa.html

    • SuzyS

      Grey Digger, Thanks for posting…it is a fascinating read and well worth it!!!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you for posting the link. I will go and check it out. I really like C.J., he is a must listen to on XM.

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks, and finally! Cubs-related! Not just those Tanaka nonsense speculations! Nitkowski mentioned Wada, whom the Cubs signed. The former journeyman confirmed what I worried: the workload. I almost forgot about the bullpen pitch-load, and how the old school coaches led by Sadaharu Oh abused pitchers. They are coming back. And I’m not expecting much from Wada. He’ll be a pleasant surprise if he can pitch 60+ innings for Chicago without falling apart afterwards.

      Great insight from Nitkowski, a good observer and a smart man who seizes his own Fates.

  • cc002600

    With the amount of teams that want this guy, there is no doubt in my mind he gets at least $25M / Year. Its very, very rare that you get a shot a guy at a FA with those type of credentials (and yes, I know its in Japan, but still) who is only 25 years old.

    • cubtex

      I think 20 to 25 is realistic. Giving 7 or 8 years to a pitcher rarely works out in baseball no matter what the age. If the Cubs are not going to be competitive for another 3 years it really doesn’t make sense to take that chance.

      • SuzyS

        Reinsdorf always felt that a pitcher should never get more than a 3 year contract.
        In baseball sense…that may be true.
        But the marketplace has gone far beyond baseball sense…evidenced by contracts like Pujols etc.

        Given Theo/Jed statement last year that you cannot build a rotation in one year…It actually does make sense to land Tanaka now.

        It will accelerate the rebuild…show that the Cubs are serious about winning in the near future.

        • cubtex

          How is that John Danks contract looking that Reinsdorf signed him to at age 26? 5 years 65 mil.

          • SuzyS

            Reinsdorf gave in to market realities. Doesn’t mean he changed his mind.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You know what your problem is? You are always giving us the facts.

            “Don’t confuse us with the facts; we’ve already made up our minds.”

          • Tony_Hall

            More like one side of the story…

      • cc002600

        agree it will be huge risk. But there is no doubt he gets minimum $25M per year. This will be like a feeding frenzy.

        I really doubt the main competition will be Yankees or Dodgers. I think its going to be Mariners, DBacks, Giants, and maybe Red Sox that will be huge factor. Either way, the cubs will be right in the thick of things, and why not ? They have the payroll flexibility.

        Who knows, maybe Houston offers him 30M per year ?? They certainly have the room on their payroll.

        • 07GreyDigger

          That would seem out of character for Lunhow. He’s of the Cardinals way and they rarely make large, long and high risk signings.

      • Tony_Hall

        Happy New Year!

        I know you hate anyone that tries to be positive, but here is an article that states how the Cubs can make the playoffs in 2015. It all starts with Tanaka!

        http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove13/story/_/id/10214765/how-chicago-cubs-make-playoffs-2015-mlb

        Now you don’t need to pick it apart, as nobodies ideas or thoughts are perfect. This isn’t a perfect sport in which any team you can say what they are doing will work, 100% for sure. It is just a way to see that they are not as far away as you keep preaching over and over and over again.

  • cubtex

    Here is my point with Tanaka and the Cubs.
    Let’s compare him to Dice K. The Red Sox added him because they were ready to win now. They signed him for the 2007 season. They got 2 years out of him until he broke down and flamed out. Dice K was 26 years old in 2007.

    Dice K
    2007 15-12 204 IP

    2008 18-3 167.2 IP

    2009 HURT only 59.1 IP and that is all she wrote.

    Red Sox were playoff ready immediately. Won a WS in year 2 of his deal.

    • cubtex

      Who would down arrow this? I didn’t make up the stats :)))))

      That is funny!

      • cubtex

        hahahaha.

        • John_CC

          It is pretty comical isn’t it? Sometimes I wonder if there is a “downer-bot” trolling here. As soon as we post…bam!

      • J Daniel

        Really is comical!

      • Tony_Hall

        At this point it looks like you had 4 or 5 fans yesterday. They are against you comparing Tanaka to DiceK.

        Why do you respond to the down arrows anyway? What does it matter?

    • SuzyS

      Cubtex, while your points are valid…the times and circumstances are a little different.
      The new cba changes how talent can be acquired cost effectively.
      The Cubs lack of movement in this offseason suggests they were saving their pennies to make a run at Tanaka.
      What is the value of a Tanaka signing to keep up fan’s interest in the team for a year or 2 while our prospects mature????

      • SuzyS

        BTW…I don’t down arrow.

        • cubtex

          I know you don’t down arrow. I know who it is and it is funny. He is on a roll today with the down arrows :)

          • Tony_Hall

            You do?? That would be a good trick. Please tell us who your “fans” were yesterday.

      • cubtex

        that’s a valid point but that is an expensive piece to add to keep fans interest up for a year or 2.

        Again…I have no issues whatsoever if they sign Tanaka and add several players to be competitive. My issue would be if they add Tanaka and have a 85 mil payroll with Sweeney,Schierholtz and Ruggiano patrolling the outfield.
        It is like Seattle adding Cano and not doing anything else. If they try and win by signing Tanaka, signing Garza and keeping Shark….Sign me up!

        • SuzyS

          If they sign Tanaka…Shark should also extend.
          Not sure about Garza…nor do I personally want to see him back with the Cubs…might be much better options next year.

          Expect the 3 OF’s to give way to either prospects (like Bryant/Szczur/Vitters and or Trade deadline pickups to build with.

          • cubtex

            Yes but my point is if they play prospects they will more than likely have growing pains and struggle at times. Theo even brought this up himself. They will not be ready to win as soon as the prospects are given a shot.

          • SuzyS

            I agree with that.
            I really feel that this year, the focus will change…at least incrementally…to building to win at the mlb level.
            We need to find out about Olt/Villanueva…maybe Bryant.
            etc.
            Whoever is deemed excess talent might be packaged to land an mlb veteran OF or similar need to lead the way for the prospects.
            That’s kind of what I’ve meant by this being a pivotal year for the Cubs…I believe they’re going to switch gears and actually begin to focus on the mlb team…once they have a little better handle of where the prospects are.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’ll say it again. I think part of the point of amassing prospects has nothing to do with being a homegrown team like the Royals, its about amassing talent to trade for proven MLB players.

          • SuzyS

            I agree…”it’s part of the point”.

          • J Daniel

            No to Garza … We have seen that mess already

        • Eugene Debs

          Good point about not stopping with Tanaka signing.

        • BigJonLilJon

          Tanaka, Garza,,, I like it!!! Ruggiano could be a diamond in the rough signing as well.

        • Cubbiemacg

          That money will be nothing in3 years ala the new TV deal. So why not

    • Dorasaga

      FYI: They won it all in year 1 with DiceK. They made it to the postseason in year 2, but the Angels beat the crap out of them. 2013 was good because the Sox upgraded almost everything. They were a more “complete” team with an average or above-average player for each role and position. I think this is what the Cubs is now aiming for, a “complete team,” instead of one or two superb players (George Brett for the Royals, the rotation for the recent Giants) contributing most and overshadowing what other teammates can do.

    • cc002600

      I don’t understand what relevance Dice-K has to Tanaka….they are different guys. I can say that Darvish has been pretty good so far, does that really matter ?

      And you are always complaining on here on how the cubs are “trying to lose” and “acting like a small market team”, but now you rail against them going after Tananka ? Jeez, you can’t have it both ways, dude.

      • cubtex

        You miss my point(big surprise) Not to pick on you but you do that a lot.
        To repeat my point. IF the Cubs are going to try and win and ACT like a Big Market team. Sign him! IF they are going to continue to act like a Small Market team…IT doesn’t make sense since there is a very good chance he breaks down before they are competitive. Dice K was signed to win immediately. Darvish was signed to win immediately.
        And you complain that I am redundant?

        • Tony_Hall

          Tanaka is a good fit for the Cubs and the Cubs for Tanaka. He is 25 and will be able to ease his way into pitching in the US in 2014. Even an 8 year contract only pays through his age 32 season, where many FA contracts start.

      • cubtex

        If the Cubs sign Tanaka with the current roster….73 WINS!!!! You heard it here first. 73-89. That will be an improvement and they will not lose 90 games.

        • Ripsnorter1

          89 losses is so–o–o-o-o-o very close to 90 losses.

          Hey, let’s sign him, and STILL drop the 90 games!

    • cubtex

      I guess I need to point out the relevance.
      1.Dice K when he came over 26
      Tanaka 25
      2. Both Japanese(I am sorry but I had to do that :)
      3. Huge Workload and pitchcount
      4. Both were considered top of rotation starters and instant help to a playoff bound teams.
      5. Dice K broke down in year 3
      6. Dice K is listed at 6′ Tanaka 6’2 and Darvish is 6’5
      7. All 3 speak Japanese(that is a joke)

      • GaryLeeT

        Tanaka is 6’2″ 205 lbs. That’s pretty good size for any pitcher, let alone a Japanese one.

        • cubtex

          Not many 25 year olds have as much wear and tear on their arm as Tanaka does. If the Cubs have a 3 or even 4 year window of winning a WS….sign him. To count on him in year 5 of this deal is a HUGE risk!

          • GaryLeeT

            Gutting the farm system for a single player is a huge risk. When there’s only other people’s money involved? I say, nothing in life is guaranteed except death & taxes, so add a dollar to beer prices, and go for it!

          • cubtex

            I would rather sign Garza at 1/2 the cost. I think he will be better and have a longer career even with the age difference.

          • GaryLeeT

            I am surprised you picked somebody to hold up against Tanaka that’s had so many health issues in the past. Anyway, you can’t wait until the Baezs & Bryants are MLB proven, then go out, and look for FAs. Everybody needs to come together at the same time, so to be ready in 2 years, now is the time to start adding FAs.

          • cubtex

            I agree. You can’t and shouldn’t wait until the Baez and Bryant’s are mlb proven. I 100% agree. I agree about adding better players. Some FA and many more through trades. Saying what I said about rather having Garza goes to show you how much faith I have in Tanaka long term. Dice K lasted 2 years and he was 26. I keep mentioning what Hahn has done on the South Side but that is what I wish Theo would do. Trade some players who aren’t core pieces for other young talent. Trade Russell, Travis Wood(now at his peak) Trade a Wellington Castillo if you can get a better piece to fill another need.

          • GaryLeeT

            So the Cubs don’t need a #1 or #2 to win in the future? If you you think they do, just where in the heck do you think they will come from? Tanaka is a risk, but unfortunately, that is one they are just going to have to take.

          • cubtex

            Of course they do, but if Tanaka breaks down in 3 years, they won’t have him when they need him. Where will they find one is the million dollar question. The draft this year and hoping CJ Edwards and Pierce Johnson continue to get better. Make another good trade for a top prospect by dealing Shark or another player or 2 with value.

          • Tony_Hall

            All pitchers are injury risks. By your view we should only develop our own pitchers and trade them off as they get some mileage on them. Not that that isn’t a good idea.

          • cubtex

            Japanese are a much higer risk. Who cares if he is 25. Dice K was 26.

          • Tony_Hall

            Why do you compare him to Dice K and not Darvish? Darvish had his arm abused just like Tanaka. Is it because Darvish has been successful and Dice K we know broke down.

          • cubtex

            maybe because Darvish has only pitched 2 years in the mlb so far? What did Dice K’s first 2 years look like. I posted it above if you hadn’t noticed ;)

          • cubtex

            Gotta get ready to go out for drinks and dinner with the wife. Have a Great New Year!

          • GaryLeeT

            I will, and same to you.

          • Tony_Hall

            Agreeing with you a lot on this!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            There is a lot of noise that Garza’s medicals are not very good.

          • cubtex

            Is that from Baltimore? :)))

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Well done sir …

          • GaryLeeT

            Which might explain his fade at the end of last season.

          • SuzyS

            Please.
            At his best…Garza is only a #3. When given an opportunity to make a difference in Texas this past season…he couldn’t do it.
            Garza is ok as a placeholder on a losing team…but that’s it.

            I want a difference maker on a winning team.
            Not sure who that is just now…but certainly not Garza.

          • cubtex

            that is funny. At his best….Garza is only a #3. Since 2007 he has never had an ERA above 4.00. How many #3′s have done that for 7 consecutive years? How many #3′s were an ALCS MVP. If Garza is a #3 at best…The Cubs do not have any #3′s on their staff and with your standards Shark would be the only #4. Everyone else is a 5 or 6.

          • Tony_Hall

            You can stop with all this Garza talk, he is not going to sign with the Cubs and at this point he is not going to be getting the contract that even I have thought he would get. His medicals are not giving teams any reason to sign him. That is just another example of how good Theo and Jed are at their job, they turned him into a huge return, yet no team is jumping at him as a free agent even without any draft pick compensation hanging around his neck. I would like to see him back as well, but not gonna happen unless he starts looking for a make good contract where the Cubs could sign him for 1 year and then trade him again in July :)

          • cubtex

            where did you see this about his medicals? post a link please. Why should Garza have signed already? Playoff teams are holding out for Tanaka and the teams that don’t get Tanaka will probably up the price for Garza. His agent obviously is advising him this. I would do the same.

          • Tony_Hall

            It was on twitter at some point in the last few days, stating that teams are shying away from Garza due to concerns over his medicals. Neil posted this as well.

          • cubtex

            I saw Neil say this but I tried to find something on it and my search came up zippo. Every where I look it says he is 100% healthy. He was throwing as hard as ever this past year and his last start of the year was a shutout if I recall.

          • Tony_Hall

            I will see if I can find it. It was saying how his stint in Texas on top of his past injury concerns and that when teams have reviewed his medical info, it has not been good.

            I would love to sign him back on a 1 year make good deal.

          • cubtex

            He will get more than a 1 year deal.

          • Tony_Hall

            But if this info is true, he may not get what he wants and would rather take a 1 year deal with a higher salary to rebuild his value. If this is true.

          • cubtex

            I imagine Tony if that info is true….It would have been reported all over the place.

          • cubtex

            just like Grant Balfour

          • Tony_Hall

            He hasn’t agreed to a deal and had the medicals stop it. Until then, it is just more rumors.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      If I remember correctly, Matsuzaka pitched in the WBC prior to the 2009 season and was never the same. There was concern at the time he was not ready and he pushed it.

      With that said, Tanaka has also pitched in the WBC.

  • Aaron Fox

    Hey guys! I’m a regular CCO reader and lifelong Cub fan but rarely comment on the site. Neil, thanks for all your hard work in keeping it rolling on a daily basis. Really enjoy all the articles and commentary.

    If the Cubs can get Tanaka to sign at 18-20M/year, can they afford to extend Samardzija for 5 years at 13-15M/year?

    • GaryLeeT

      Yes, and a lot more. With their market size they should be able to sustain a 160+ million dollar payroll, and they are around 60 million right now. Like Tony, and others have mentioned, the Cubs are going to front load Tanak’s offer to where it would be impossible for others to match. Tanaka will do what every lottery winner does, and take the lump sum upfront. It’s really a great plan to pay him a lot now, then have tons of flexibility in the future to sign Baez, and Bryant (and hopfully many others) to long term team friendly contracts 2 years from now.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you very much.

  • John_CC

    This is a great little read on the small stuff that most of us never think about when we think we know why a player would sign one place rather than the other.

    I said the other day that there are so many reasons/factor that Tanaka could/should/would sign with the Cubs. These things are not simply about the record of the team making the offer. It is a courtship.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/12/expect-theo-and-jed-to-pull-out-all-the-stops-to-land-tanaka/

  • paulcatanese

    I’m confused. If the Cubs under Theo, (other teams as well) do not pay for “past” performance, how do they arrive at a price for players?
    Do they just look for potential? That still has to be based on “past” performance. No team can just say this guy is worth X amount of dollars without knowing what that player has done.
    Even the players that have been injured or a “down” year and are brought in have a past that is taken into consideration before signing. They can come back to an earlier time in their past, and that has been the crux of signings.
    So to say that the Cubs are not paying for “past” performance is false, they are.

    • SuzyS

      It’s a thin line, Paul. Basically what Theo/Jed are saying is they don’t want to pay premium dollars for players past their prime.

    • John_CC

      Good point Paul, but I think you are stuck in the semantics of it. Of course the only way to evaluate anyone – athlete or fry cook (no offense to any fry cooks out there!) – is by looking at what they have done in the past.

      But as Suzy said, when not paying for past performance, it means that one should not pay a veteran who just passed prime based on his prime years. Think Cano at 30 years old and paying him until he is 40. The last 5 years of that contract are awful for the payer, great for the payee.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think what that means is you don’t want to sign a veteran and backload the deal. That’s where you get into trouble. For example, Albert Pujols will be making $30 million at age 41. Why pay a guy that amount of coin to be awful? You’re paying him for “past” performance.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Paul,
      Why do you insist upon bring up the facts? Reality, my friend, is so very harsh.
      LOL

      You are dead right, of course.

    • Tony_Hall

      Paul – Here is an article from fangraphs that talks about aging curves. It shows how players age in productivity and has a graph that compares 95-05 versus 06-13. Without PEDS being as rampant, players are now almost always on the down swing and producing at lower levels as they age. The goal of the Cubs is to no get stuck with Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, etc type contracts, let alone the mid-sized ones. Any contract to a 30 something player more than a few years is just not going to turn out good very often.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/hitters-no-longer-peak-only-decline/

  • CubbyDenCritic

    What will Cubs Nation talk about when Tanaka is with another team and Samardzija is traded?

    • John_CC

      How bad Rizzo is, what terrible in game calling Renteria makes, Epstein is/has ruined Castro, the OF sucks, we are never going to win, the rebuild is a joke, act like a big market ….blah blah blah…

      • cubtex

        cmon John, Don’t be so negative!

        • John_CC

          Right! Sorry. I was just thinking of all the things that “Cub Nation” will obsess about no matter what happens!

          • cubtex

            It will be alot of….How great it is that Sveum is no longer managing. Why doesn’t Renteria rip his players in the press like Sveum? Why is Renteria being so positive with the team?
            Try that John. Look at it as if your glass is half full! C’mon dude. New Year…..New Attitude! You can do it!

          • John_CC

            I’ll do it if you will.

      • 07GreyDigger

        You forgot,
        -Why isn’t the team playing Logan Watkins?
        -Why is the team trading so and so veteran pitcher and he’s helping us win!
        -Edwin Jackson was not worth the deal he signed.
        -Poor roster management

        • John_CC

          Those are big ones for sure!

          I think their roster management sucks already!!

          • 07GreyDigger

            I forgot the hand wringing and complaining about not bringing up Baez or Bryant.

        • cubtex

          I think most of those complaints was Theo wanting to know why Logan Watkins wasn’t playing.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Grey,
          Great post about the “poor roster management.”

          Man alive, I had almost forgotten about that phrase.
          I am glad you brought it up!

          Thank You!

      • Eugene Debs

        It beats the “should we be playing Tony Campana” debate.

      • Ripsnorter1

        John,
        You are dead right.
        : )

  • John_CC

    Hey!

    Happy New Year boys and girls!!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      And a Happy New Year to you …

  • CubbyDenCritic

    What Cubs Nation will be talking about in 2014……..
    January……….Losing out on Tanaka
    February…….Our Pitching Looks Great
    March………..We might surprise the NL this year
    April………….Our Pitching Looks Bad
    May…………..Rizzo Not Hitting
    June………..This Team Sucks & #4 Pick
    July…………..Samardzija Trade
    August………Rolling Stones Wrigley Concert
    September…..Javier Baez ROY
    October……….Hiring New Pitching Coach
    November……Going after F/A
    December……Trading Rizzo & Castro

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Best New Years I was ever at was in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii………this was many years ago…..every New Years Eve was unreal……the women…..the fireworks…..the smoke in the air……..all out celebration……knee deep in the street with fire crackers…..explosions going off……….great food & drinks & entertainment………….did I mention the women?……..the 80′s were a great time.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    someone is really in a foul mood to end the year…..all these down arrows on every one.

  • mutantbeast

    “the best splitter in ther world”. Lets not forget pitchers who the splitter also ended there careers. Bruce Sutter. Mike Scott. Billy Swift. Scott Garrelts. All of them had huge seasons before arm surgery, and none of them recovered afterwards.

    • Dorasaga

      Interesting. Both Uehara and Conseco, who learned their forkball (old school split) not in the minor league system, had longer careers. Just saying. Probably irrelevant to what you’re starting at, to which I more likely to agree. Risk, risk, and management of more risks! Happy New Year!

    • GaryLeeT

      Since Sutter is in the HOF, I am not sure you want to use him in your splitter gone bad” scenario. It worked well for Clemens and Jack Morris too. The trick is to use it, but not abuse it.

      • cubtex

        Clemens took some Flintstone vitamins to help him have a longer career.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Astros signed Jesse Crain

    • SuzyS

      Ahhhh Well…They out Cubbed the Cubs!

      • cubtex

        You brought up the Astros and Tanaka. They could be relevant in a hurry with their young prospects in Correra,Springer Singleton by signing Tanaka and drafting Rodon. They could have Appel,Rodon and Tanaka in the rotation by 2015.

        • CubbyDenCritic

          World Series by 2016!……
          Houston, the Cubs have a Problem.

        • SuzyS

          Possibly…and how is that possible???
          Perhaps a $26 million payroll and consistently losing just a little more than the Cubs for higher draft picks would do the trick.
          The very thing you’ve railed against.

          • cubtex

            I’ve railed against the small market rebuild. This goes to show you that ANY team that loses several years in a row can do the same thing. Do you want to do another 2 years of this so we can catch up to the Astros???

          • CubbyDenCritic

            The Twins, Astros ,Marlins all made gains this off season, I have no doubt the Cubs will be in the top 3 of the draft in the next two years.

          • SuzyS

            Like you, cubtex…I don’t really care for losing.
            Unlike you, I’ve accepted it as the strategy that’s been adopted…AND see many historical precedents to this model…most recently the Detroit Tigers that suffered through 5 consecutive losing seasons in order to bring the powerhouse they currently have to be relevant.
            Closer to you are the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves (pre Ted Turner).
            I’ve maintained all along that I expect the focus tro shift to the mlb team by the end of this season.
            It does not mean we are going to be an immediate winner.

          • cubtex

            Only in America! You are going pre-Ted Turner on us :)
            The plan is what it is. It is the sloooow painful way to rebuild. It is not the only way.

          • SuzyS

            I never said it was the only way.
            The Cubs never tried it before on purpose…and were still losers.
            From day one, Ricketts said the Cubs World Series would come through a better organization and home grown talent.
            He has actually put his money where his mouth said it would go.
            Growing up…the Atlanta Braves were a terrible joke…until they built the organization that Turner brought….It was that organization that made it possible for the Braves to steal Maddux from us…when they had all the other pieces needed to win.
            I don’t believe the Atlanta Braves are irrelevant to this rebuild.

          • SuzyS

            Gotta go…will catch you later.

          • cubtex

            I am leaving for the day too. Happy New Year!

          • Ripsnorter1

            Detroit did a great job drafting and developing Miguel Cabrera.

            Oh wait. They traded for him.

            Oh well, then there’s Victor Martinez. They drafted him….oh wait, he was a FA signing.

            Well then, Cecil Fielder, he was…..signed as a FA.
            Sure, Verlander was drafted. And how about Anibal Sanchez? You mean, Anibal Sanchez was
            signed as a FA also?

            Well, they surely developed their SS Jose Iglesias. He was drafted by….Boston. And they traded for him.

            Doug Fister. Great draft choice! By Seattle? And Detroit traded for him?

            What about Phil Coke? What about Austin Jackson? They got them by trade.
            Tory Hunter? FA signing.

            Alex Avila. Drew Smyly. Rick Porcello. Andy Dirks. None of these are top flight players.
            But they did draft them!

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I see your points…valid.
            However, if trades were made using farm talent gained via sucking for numerous years, then that is the same, imo, as drafting the player you acquire.

            But if the main impact players are FA’s, then it doesn’t support the small market rebuild theory.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Detroit built their team by FA signings, along with one trade: for Miggy Cabrera, whom
            they got by paying cash money. In other words, Miguel Cabrera was acquired like a FA.
            It was a money thing.

            And he has been a great investment.

          • Ripsnorter1

            The Royals and Pirates have both proved that you cannot build a winner simply
            via the draft. The Pirates tried it for 21 years. What got them to the playoffs was a few
            FA signings.

          • SuzyS

            No one said…simply by the draft.
            The Royals and Pirates are terrible examples.
            Both of those teams didn’t even have the $$ necessary to hold onto any of the players they developed…so there was a constant churn.
            If the Cubs develop a player…they should have the cash to hold onto them.

          • Dorasaga

            There was a nice fangraphs article about the Pirates winning many first halves for a season. They tried, traded for second-tier players as a boost through the second half of a season. Never worked out for them. Strategical maneuvers failed when their GMs repeatedly signed not underrated, but washed-out veterans.

          • Tony_Hall

            Where have you seen the Cubs intend to only use the draft to build a team?

            I see them using all fronts to build this organization, and right now they are using FA to fill in some holes, but when the time is right they will shop for the prizes of FA, in an effort to win now.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            The Pirates only started spending on FAs when most of their minor league talent reached the MLB, and are you really holding up the Royals as a model franchise?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Let’s see if I can express myself in a more clear manner:
            If the Cubs follow the small market rebuild model that the Royals and Pirates
            have done, it will take forever and a day. The idea that other teams have
            built via the draft alone is not supportable via the facts.

            The Detroit Tigers bought one superstar, Miguel Cabrera.
            Then they spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fill out the roster:
            Vic Martinez, Cecil Fielder, Anabal Sanchez and others. They also made some
            trades.

            As far as the draft, they had ONE TOR pitcher, Mr. Verlander.
            They drafted poorly, for the most part: Porcello isn’t more than a #5 pitcher.
            Avila, Dirks, Coke are marginal MLB players–bench players; utility men; back of the bullpen
            help.

            The idea that the Tigers built a winner with the draft is not accurate.

            Pirates? 21 years trying to build via the draft, and never got over the top until they
            made some decent FA signings last winter.

            Royals? They won 86 games this year. That’s the most since 1989 when they won 92.
            2013 was the first year they were at least .500 since 2003. And they haven’t signed any
            big FA signings. And of course, they are not going anywhere.

            Therefore the Cubs’ small market rebuild of the ML team isn’t going to work without
            FA signings and some decent acquisitions via trades. The Cubs will not be competitive
            without FAs and some talent acquired by trades.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            I can only pray that the Cubs FO isn’t as bad as the Tigers. Talk about a team that mortgaged it’s future with nothing to show for it, they’re aging worse than the Phillies without the WS. Plus that Fister trade was a stroke of genius.

          • Dorasaga

            Please don’t discredit 2006. The Tigers had the good Bondermann, a very young Verlander, and the last great year of Kenny Rogers, plus a bunch of traded or signed position players throughout the years, like I-Rod, Magg-O, whom the White Sox didn’t want, to build around Granderson. Ordonez was traded offseason 2004, so he alone couldn’t help the Tigers. So was Rodriguez the year before, and Polanco the year following.

            It’s really when all these building blocks piled high enough, the farm matured, and so on, then things clicked. This is one choice of strategy which the Cubs can do, in a year or two.

          • Tony_Hall

            He was also traded for a good haul. By taking on Dontrelle is how they paid though.

            December 4, 2007: Traded by the Florida Marlins with Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern (minors), Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin,Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo.

            Here is an article that reposts an article from at the time. And of course shows why trading prospects for proven players can be good. And also, your Tigers example shows how a team can use their farm system to get players from other teams.

            http://www.freep.com/article/20121203/SPORTS02/121203050/

            “Among the six young players surrendered in Tuesday’s trade were the Tigers’ top pitching prospect, Andrew Miller, 22, and their top hitting and outfield prospect, Cameron Maybin, 20. They represent the Tigers’ top picks in the 2005 and ’06 drafts. They could grow into stars.”

            “But you’re looking at it the wrong way. Prospects are like money. Youearn money through hard work – in this case, good scouting and good player development, which the Tigers finally have – and then you take that money and spend it. You spend it now or you spend it later.”

            “Having prospects is what allows you to trade for guys like Cabrera, Willis and, earlier this fall, shortstop Edgar Renteria. In many ways, prospects are a better currency to have than star players, because moving a star for a star is often harder than moving one for a gaggle of prospects. Teams looking to move stars often are trying tosave money or build for the future. To take on a new, expensive superstar in place of an existing one is often a foolish move.

            So the Tigers have been rich – prospect rich – and they just spent a good deal of their “currency” to build a team that can win now.”

          • SuzyS

            It takes all three methods of talent acquisition…but it really helps to have a core developed first…which is what the Cubs are trying to do.

          • Tony_Hall

            Trading for players is part of using your system to build your team. You have to have players other teams want for them to give up on their players.

            Here is how they were built.

            http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/jim-callis-look-at-how-the-detroit-tigers-playoff-roster-was-built?ymd=20131001&content_id=62033432&vkey=news_mlb

          • SuzyS

            Tony , and Dorasaga,
            Thanks for the supporting documentation to my “discussion” with Cubtex and Rip yesterday regarding the Tigers.
            I didn’t have the time to respond properly to their retort. :-)

          • Dorasaga

            No problem, Suzy. Facts are facts. Of course, some opinions between the lines helped round out the vision and results following the actual events.

          • cubtex

            Lets look at the pattern. Cubs vs Astros.
            Astros record vs Cubs. We are almost there. 1 more losing record should tie the Astros and we can start catching them.

            Astros vs Cubs

            2008 Stros 86-75(last winning season)
            Cubs 97-64
            2009 Stros 74-88
            Cubs 83-78
            2010 Stros 76-86
            Cubs 75-87
            2011 Stros 56-106
            Cubs 71-99
            2012 Stros 55-107
            Cubs 61-101
            2013 Stros 51-111
            Cubs 66-96

            What do you think? 1 more year tanking or 2???

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m not sure how you tank much longer with a wave of good offensive prospects close to the majors. I’m not saying they all make it, but if two of them do, that’s two big bats to add to your lineup.

          • cubtex

            most will struggle at first.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            To be fair, the Astros set the bar high (er..low?) with sub-60 win season in 3 consecutive years.

            They are, like, the Greg Maddux of losing records.

            The Cubs simply aren’t in their league…the Cubs are a Rick Sutcliffe in the area of losing…solid, to be sure, but not HOF credentials. Yet.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I didn’t see the terms of the deal, but its my guess that Crain picked the Astros because he knew he could close. Closers make way more money down the line.

          • cubtex

            Not a big loss.

        • Tony_Hall

          Hilarious!

          • cubtex

            What is? Appel Rodon and Tanaka could be the best pitching staff in baseball for 2015. They also have Lance McCullers. Losing like the Astros and Cubs gives you a top farm system with top prospects.

          • Tony_Hall

            No, you saying how the Astros can be relevant in a hurry with their prospects, while the Cubs will lose for years and years with theirs.

          • cubtex

            Astros have pitching pitching pitching. It is about pitching. If they draft Rodon to go with Appel and sign Tanaka with McCullers coming as well. That is head and shoulders above where the Cubs are at.

          • Tony_Hall

            It is funny how with the Astros pitchers you are assuming they will ALL make it, yet with the Cubs hitters you say how they are still prospects.

          • cubtex

            Appel. #1 pitcher in last years draft. Rodon #1 pitcher in this years. Both college arms so they have less risk. I never said none of the Cubs hitters won’t make it. I think Bryant and Baez will be great. Not sold on Soler one bit. Almora will be serviceable but not a star.

          • Tony_Hall

            Mark Prior was a #1 pitcher.

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually I think we can play the comparison game (you know Tanaka to Dice K) with Appel to Prior. What do you think?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      maybe he didn’t have TJ issue to garnish enough Theo’s attention.

  • cubtex

    Neil and others. I just listened to a fascinating interview on mlb radio with Lyle Yates(he is currently a pitching coach in Japan) I hope others heard it. In nut shell he said he WOULD NOT give a long term contract to Tanaka. He said there are definite concerns about him breaking down. The workload and pitch count is a definite concern. They asked him if a GM of a mlb team asked him what he would be getting in Tanaka..His answer- A front line pitcher for 1,2 maybe 3 years but I would not recommend signing him to a long term contract.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Cubs will not be ready in 1, or 2 or 3 years to compete…………
      watching this snow fall here in Chicago……I should be in Hawaii…….but instead, my tax dollars are there.
      who are the people giving us all down arrows today?????………
      Looking at the Cubs 2014 Prospect list…..I am predicting Pierce Johnson will make a big jump this year.
      By July, both Szczur & Ha should be flying around the Cubs outfield along with Lake.

      • cubtex

        The down arrows are funny. I am glad a few get their rocks off by doing it.
        I agree. Tanaka should be signed to win a WS within 2 years maybe 3. The Cubs are not there.
        It was a great interview. The Japanese are a different breed when it comes to pitch count and throwing. Tanaka threw 160 pitches one start and came back and pitched the next day. There was one tournament when the kids are in High School where Tanaka threw some ridiculous amount of pitches( I want to say 700 plus and another kid threw 900)
        It is a pride thing with their culture that they should throw and throw and throw. Lyle Yates said that the Japanese have arm injuries for their pitchers just like we have here in the US. Japanese pitchers do get hurt as much or more than here in the US.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I am trying to resolve the down arrows with Disqus. They are taking their sweet time with removing them. I do not see a positive with having either arrow for any reason.

          • cubtex

            No worries Neil. You do a great job. Happy New Year!

          • GaryLeeT

            I like the up arrows, because it can be a way to agree with what someone said, without clogging up the comment section with “I agree” , and “me too” posts.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Thank you for letting me know. I did not think about that.

          • paulcatanese

            I didn’t either.

          • paulcatanese

            Good point Neil, I agree 100%.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          The Tanaka outing you referenced is in my report.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Party pooper!

      • cubtex

        Go listen to that guy. He was on at about 3:10 pm.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I heard the interview. It was very good. He made several excellent points. The mileage on his arm is a concern. If you remember correctly, I was one of the first to point out the number of innings. I hope you heard Mike Stanton talking about the same topic this morning. He pointed out that all pitchers no matter their age is a risk in today’s game. Stanton reference Mark Appel as an example, just due to all of the innings and pitches these kids throw at a young age.

      I still think the Cubs will be heavy players in the bidding for Tanaka. There is a risk, no doubt, but one I think they are willing to take.

      • cubtex

        I didn’t catch Mike Stanton this morning. The Lyle Yates interview was great. I hate to hear about all this abuse the Japanese do to their pitchers. Like Yates mentioned….Pitching is an unnatural movement of the arm and elbow. Arms aren’t meant for this violent action. To have young kids throw that amount of pitches is not healthy and even at age 25….I don’t think Tanaka will have a long career in the mlb. A 7 or 8 year deal will be a mistake for a team like the Cubs. If a team is looking to win a WS in the next several years and willing to eat the last 3 years of the deal…..that makes more sense imo

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t think you realize the abuse that kids pitching in the US have on their arms. Most of these guys play tournaments on the weekends where they pitch 10-12 innings over the weekend, then pitch again during the week in leagues. Pitch counts are also not watched that closely. I say a 14 year old pitch a 7 inning game, in which he struck out 16, but walked about 15, only gave up 1 hit though, so his coach said he couldn’t take him out. Then wanted the player to pitch the next day!

          • cubtex

            I coached a high level Select team here for 5 years. We had pitch counts and the good teams and good pitchers couldn’t get away with not following the pitch counts and rules. They were monitored. It isn’t even close to what happens in Japan. I do not think Tanaka’s young age matters one bit. He will have a short mlb career. He is for a team with a 3 maybe 4 year window to win a WS.
            That being said….I do not think the Cubs will get him and that is fine. To give this guy a 7 or 8 year contract will be a huge mistake. He is Dice K 2.0

          • Tony_Hall

            I always love how people talk about kids teams. “high level Select”

          • cubtex

            We finished 2nd in the state behind the Banditos. Select baseball in Texas and Illinois is night and day buddy. We had this discussion before. The Banditos and our team and other top teams could not abuse pitch counts and pitchers.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not all teams abuse their pitchers but many do. Even in Illinois we have many teams that have figured out how to count pitches :)

          • cubtex

            My point is that the “top” pitchers on the “top” teams cannot get away with ignoring pitch counts,innings limit and consecutive day restrictions.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are right, Mark Appel has always been on a strict pitch count.

          • cubtex

            Look at how the Astros are handling him now. He is 22. He was shutdown last year because his innings were at an all time high. They are monitoring his workouts. Tanaka has been abused a hell of a lot more and longer than Appel. It isn’t even close.

          • Tony_Hall

            Even more reason for Tanaka to come to the Cubs, he can spend the next 2 years under a more strict pitch count :)

            Tanaka watch has 3 weeks left!

            Happy New Year Buddy!

          • cubtex

            Have a Great Year!

  • SuzyS

    A safe and Happy New Year’s Eve to all.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      To you as well Suzy.

    • paulcatanese

      Yep, by the time of my post, you can guess where we are. Watching the bowl games and our favorite oxtail soup. And Happy New Year as well to all.