Yankees Reportedly Interested in Barney, Cubs Continue to Wait on Tanaka

Bruce Levine reported on Saturday morning the Yankees interest in Darwin Barney may pickup with Omar Infante no longer available after signing with the Kansas City Royals. Levine has been consistent with his reporting of the Yankees interest in Barney and indicated during his Hot Stove Show on The Score that those talks could move to the forefront in the coming days. The Yankees could see Barney as a starter depending on how their roster shakes out or a late inning defensive replacement.

Darwin Barney is arbitration eligible for the first time and is coming off just a miserable season at the plate (.208/.266/.303/.569). But for as bad it was for him offensively, he did not take his offensive struggles to the field. Barney’s defense stood out again and he would fit a need for a team like the Yankees. Barney is in line to make between $1.8 and $2.2 million next year and he recently said he and the Cubs are on the same page with his arbitration figure which would help facilitate a trade.

The Cubs value Darwin Barney for his defense and leadership on the field and will have to weigh a possible return on what he could provide early in the season until other players make a push for his starting job.

Masahiro Tanaka

Reports last week indicated the Rakuten Golden Eagles would meet with Masahiro Tanaka around Dec. 15 to determine whether or not he will be posted. The new posting rules are agreed upon and are just waiting for the MLB Executive Council to give final approval.

Yozo Tachibana, Rakuten’s President, told reporters during the Winter Meetings he is not sure if Tanaka wants to be posted or not and he would sit down with his pitcher on (or around) Dec. 15 to find out.

The delay on the new posting system and Rakuten’s decision on whether or not to post Tanaka has put Major League Baseball in a holding pattern. Teams that are interested in Tanaka are not willing to commit to free agent starters and teams discussing trades involving pitching are not willing to make the deals until the process with Tanaka plays out.

Bruce Levine reported the Cubs are putting all of their chips on Tanaka this off-season and have avoided “middle moves” because they are waiting on Tanaka.

The Cubs view Tanaka has a long-term investment and are willing to spend the money that they have, in order to sign him. The Cubs will have to outbid teams such as the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Diamondbacks that are also believed to have Tanaka at the top of their list. The general consensus is a contract for Tanaka could hit the $100 million mark, plus the $20 million posting fee.

If he is posted, which could be determined in the next 48 hours, the Cubs will be involved in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes.

Jeff Samardzija

The Cubs met with several teams during the Winter Meetings to discuss Jeff Samardzija. But the front office did not receive the offers they are wanting in a return for Samardzija. The front office has put a large price tag, in terms of prospects, on Samardzija and is not willing to accept a deal just to make one.

The Cubs and Samardzija are communicating throughout this process and are still discussing a long-term contract. The two sides are not on the same page with the Cubs most recent five-year offer.

Another factor in regards to Samardzija is the team’s ability to sign Masahiro Tanaka, again if he is posted. Tanaka is projected to be a top of the rotation starter in the majors. If Tanaka is added to the Cubs’ rotation it would not only help the building process but would show Samardzija the team is serious about winning baseball games.

News and Notes

According to ESPN Chicago, the Cubs specifically told Jorge Soler to take it easy out of the box on grounders in the Arizona Fall League. The Cubs did not want Soler re-injuring his foot in the AFL on meaningless groundouts.

As previously reported, Brooks Raley is transitioning from a starter to a reliever and could end up as a solid lefty reliever that can also pitch multiple innings. It sounds like Zac Rosscup is penciled in to begin the season in Iowa with James Russell and Wesley Wright going into Spring Training as the favorites to be Rick Renteria’s two lefties in the pen.

According to Dan Bernstein and Greg Hinz, the city is not only pressing the Cubs to begin the Wrigley Field Restoration project but is putting the heat on the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association to resolve their issues with the team so Tom Ricketts will green-light the project.

Mark O’Neal, the Cubs’ Director of Medical Administration/Athletic Training, was named President of the Professional Athletics Training Society during the Winter Meetings.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax