Cubs in the Middle of the Masahiro Tanaka Speculation

The deadline to sign Masahiro Tanaka is Friday at 4:00pm CST but reports have suggested the news could surface on Tuesday or Wednesday which team has landed the 25-year old right hander. David Kaplan and Jim Bowden reported Monday that Tanaka could agree to terms on a contract at some point over the next two days. That would give the winner of the Tanaka sweepstakes enough time to have him undergo a physical with team doctors and still have him signed, sealed and delivered by Friday’s deadline.

Bruce Levine reported the Cubs “will outbid the field on money and years.” And while that may be the case, David Kaplan is hearing the Cubs’ offer to Tanaka is nowhere near the seven-year, $160 million deal that reports have suggested. Buster Olney has heard one team is willing to pay Tanaka like a “Cy Young-caliber pitcher” and that could mean a $150-160 million contract. And rumors have suggested Tanaka could be looking for an opt-out clause to be included in his deal.

What makes Levine’s report interesting is the hint of a blind bid. Levine said “none of the clubs know the other teams’ bids.” The Cubs are believed to be in the middle of the process with Tanaka along with the Yankees and Dodgers. The Diamondbacks and White Sox are thought to be out of the running for Tanaka at this point.

Masahiro Tanaka fits in the Cubs’ plan and the front office is pushing to sign him. The Cubs will have to overpay in years and dollars to land him. Jon Paul Morosi does not think Tanaka will pick the Cubs. Morosi told David Kaplan that the Dodgers would be a perfect fit for Tanaka and the Yankees would be more appealing to him than the Cubs.

The Cubs’ pitch to Tanaka was based on what the team will be in the near future. Tanaka might not be willing to have a rough first year in the majors with a Cubs’ team that has zero expectations. But as Levine reported, Tanaka “wants to be the man and loves a challenge.” Reports have suggested Tanaka wants to be the staff ace on the team he signs with and commits to long term. And with that said, most consider the Cubs as a longshot to sign Tanaka.

Masahiro Tanaka is in Japan and completed his second bullpen session in three days on Monday. Tanaka tossed a 30-pitch bullpen session Saturday according to Dylan Hernandez with an American baseball. Tanaka told the Japanese media the ball felt normal. Tanaka threw another pen Monday with splitters, sliders and experimented with a rising cut fastball according to a Japanese report. Tanaka didn’t talk to the media after a 40-pitch bullpen session.

Casey Close has kept the entire process very quiet, as promised. There is more speculation than actual updates right now … and that should change in the next 48-72 hours.

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  • Tony_Hall

    Whether the Cubs sign Tanaka or not, no one can say that they haven’t gone all out to sign him.

    This is not a PR stunt, this is not for show. This front office just wouldn’t waste their time for either of those reasons.

    It has sounded like it was down to 3 teams for awhile and yet another team could still end up with him. No matter who signs him, the contract will be an overpay and hard for Tanaka to live up to. But if there was ever a reason to overpay in free agency, a 25 year old pitcher with his stuff is the reason. Will he get injured? Of course he will, he pitches. Will Kershaw? Most likely at some point in the contract he signed.

    We should know possibly today, but almost for sure by the end of Wednesday as they need a signed deal by Friday.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Totally agree… The whole “PR stunt,” idea was always ridiculous. Teams don’t devote years studying and then months in negotiations and preparations for a PR stunt. I think we can all finally agree to end that talk.

      • Dorasaga

        Well, I think the word is not PR. The owner spills out his or her deep pocket because there is value. Baseball value, and marquee value ADDED (marketing purposes). Believe it or not, John Henry already knew before Dec. 2006, what effect he’ll get when he decided to sign Matsuzaka at all cost. He took corresponding business decisions so swift soon afterwards, it’ll be naive to think that the owner didn’t know what they are “overspending” for. I hope this Tanaka signing will fare well to the Cubs’ end, but it’s really up to the owner than it’s up to the baseball people.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I agree with all that. It was the idea that te intention to sign hin was a large elaborate hoax that I thought was ridiculous. People sying the interest was a “PR stunt.” It was silly.

          That Theo is going to lie and say they’re interested to placte fans and pull all of these resources and time into evaluation and courting is ludicrous. Especially when Theo has shown he could care less what the fans think as long as he believes in the direction of the franchise. Some just want to throw wild accusations and say silly stuff just to try and reinforce their notion that Theo is a bum ever since he attived.

  • Ripsnorter1

    The suspense is nearly killing me.

    Will it be Paul Maholm, Scott Baker or Jason Hammels? Or will Justin Grimm be handed

    the 6.37 ERA, 1.65 WHIP job? Who will be our #5 starter? WHO?

    Let’s narrow this down:

    1. Scott Baker is not coming back. Theo got totally suckered into buying him in 2013, when his injuries
    were more significant than Theo figured when he bought this damaged package. He’s not throwing
    hard enough. There is no evidence that he can throw hard enough. He’s unwilling to prove he can
    throw hard enough with a MiL contract. So he’s not coming here.

    2. Jason Hammels is not coming here. He’s proved that he can win 10 games if he’s got 12 runs
    per game run support. The Cubs’ do not have that, and he cannot win here. Have you seen his WHIP?
    NASA would love to have him to help with the moon shots they make. Besides, he costs too
    much money (ie, more than the Major League minimum). He’s not coming here.

    3. Paul Maholm: he’s had enough already. He doesn’t want to be traded
    at the deadline again. He’s not coming here.

    4. WA LA! Our new starter is Jason Grimm! “He’s the future!” Is it exciting?

    Tanaka, you ask? He ain’t a coming here. He’s not crazy.

    • Tony_Hall

      Grimm is 25 years old and was rushed to the majors to fill a need in the Rangers rotation for a team with World Series aspiration.

      Don’t hold 2013 against him.

      He is thought to be a mid-rotation SP who may be better suited for the bullpen where he would profile to the late innings. I expect them to start him this year, but in Iowa.

      I am sure Maholm would hate to sign with the Cubs and get traded to a team in the playoff hunt again. Wait a minute, it might be his best chance to make it to the playoffs this year. He might like that.

      Baker hasn’t signed with anyone, due to Tanaka. No team wants to give him a major league contract until his situation gets resolved and no pitcher wants to sign a minor league deal when there is still a possibility of a major league contract. Baker can sign that prove it minor league contract anytime he wants. He is waiting out the market to try and get a rotation spot in the majors.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Nevertheless, we will see who that new starter is very soon, and let’s just see if
        it isn’t Grimm and not Tanaka, Baker, Maholm, or Hammels.

        • Tony_Hall

          I honestly would have no problem with a 25 year old Grimm who throws mid 90’s and can reach upper 90’s as our 5th starter.

          • Ripsnorter1

            That’s good, because that’s who it’s going to be.

          • Tony_Hall

            The reason I don’t think it will be to start the year is he has 2 option years left, they can still try to sign someone and flip them in June/July then bring him up if they want.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Grimm will have competition from Hendricks as well. And who knows who else
            will be in the mix from NRI and last minute signings and pick ups. I can’t wait for ST!

          • Tony_Hall

            Hendricks is going to Iowa as well.

            I believe you are being sarcastic, but I really can’t wait for ST to start.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I don’t mind Grimm. I think by the end of the season it will be Hendricks, Ramirez or similar…

      • J Daniel

        Often, part of the problem is teams give up on pitchers to early.

    • Brp921

      Why are you, and so many others for that matter, so sure there is no scenario where Tanaka would sign with the Cubs? Again, I’m not predicting he will, but I don’t see where it is out of the question. If he is what the scouts say he his, he would advance the rebuilding process to the Cubs being contenders to possibly 2015. I think we have as good a chance to sign him as any other team.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I don’t think it makes sense for 2014 or 2015 to sign
        a guy for $175-$250 Million. Here’s why:

        1. We can’t win in 2014. Therefore 2014 is a waste.
        2. 2015 we HOPE to break in some new prospects.
        But it doesn’t seem likely we will have enough horses to compete–even
        with Tanaka–in 2015.
        3. Tanaka, if he is as good as advertised, would be just the stud to bring the
        LAD (where I think he will land) to the WS Championship. I think Tanaka wants
        that kind of team around him. I do not think he wants to lead a team featuring Barney,
        Valbuena, and an assortment of .210-.225 hitters with no power, no speed, and no
        prospects of winning anything.
        4. If Theo signs Tanaka, and he tanks or becomes injured before 2016 or 2017,
        this contract becomes an albatross that dooms the Cubs’ rebuild for the future.
        It’s another Milton Bradley/Alfonso Soriano/Zambrano contract that would prevent the
        signing of needed FAs for a true opportunity to win a playoff spot.

        Sorry, but I am convinced it is “wait until next year” again.

        • J Daniel

          Yes, but at some point you have to start adding players because it is not just going to happen in 1 year. Plus, maybe he makes it easier to add someone else next year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            And that is the $175-$250 million dollar questions:
            Will the Cubs’ risk it, and will Tanaka accept it?

            We should know TODAY. : )

            But I say, “Not going our way.”

          • J Daniel

            Again, I agree that it is not going the Cubs way. But, let’s look at the price of TOR pitching, it keeps going through the roof. At age 25, IF he is a TOR guy, then it won’t be a bad contract. And, let’s face it, they need a TOR guy.

          • cubtex

            Remember Dice K was 26. Tanaka has a violent delivery. Thrown a ton of pitches for a 25 year old. Has that typical slight Asian hesitation at the apex of his delivery. It is a huge gamble that he will even be healthy in year 3 of his deal(when the Cubs should be ready to compete)

          • cubtex

            what scares me is that Theo might be going 150 mil at 6 years plus the 20 mil posting fee. That will probably get it done because I doubt anyone will be close to that.

          • J Daniel

            Another factor, and I am not smart enough to figure out, is how many additional tickets will be sold? How much does this offset the salary? Has to be some because I don’t believe that I am the only one that turned down a chance a season tickets?

          • cubtex

            How long did that work with Fukodome? At first I am sure all of his starts will be sold out but at some point the product on the field needs to produce W’s.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Steve Stone said about Funkodome–“He doesn’t deserve to be on the All-Star team.”
            That was in his first season, when the fans were voting him on the team in June before
            the game was even played. It wasn’t long before the fans soured on him.

          • cubtex

            After his big HR on opening day…it went downhill pretty quick.

          • Ripsnorter1

            April .327
            May .293
            June .264
            July .236
            Aug .193
            Sept. .178

            Yup. Fukodome sunk each month.

          • cubtex

            Looks like Bryan LaHair :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL
            And LaHair plays in …..Japan.

          • cubtex

            Lol. That is one guy who I saw the writing on the wall immediately. The league figured him out after his first 150 or so at bats and it was Katy bar the door.

          • J Daniel

            Again, agree. I turned down tickets … to expensive for the product that is being put on the field. I am not going to pay my hard earned money for an inferior product in hopes of “being there when it happens.”

          • 07GreyDigger

            Why are we comparing Fukudome and Tanaka? Aside from them being Japanese, the similiarities end there. That’s like comparing Andre Dawson and Bob Gibson because they’re both African American.

          • cubtex

            are you reading the posts before commenting? We were talking about selling tickets

          • J Daniel

            They were going to sell out with our without Fukodme at that point.

          • cubtex

            agreed. If the Cubs totally blow everyone away and Tanaka signs here….they then need to go to 150 mil payroll by 2015 and go for it. If you waste 2 of his first years with this rebuild it will be a waste of an asset.

        • cubtex

          Exactly what I have been saying. Another thing to consider on Tanaka’s side. There will media reports daily back to Japan. Talk is that he wants to play for a winner. Cubs have zero chance to win this year. Imagine if Tanaka goes 8-14 next year with the Cubs with a 3.40 ERA? Very possible. Do you think Tanaka’s camp hasn’t thought about that? Do you think Tanaka would be willing to be an under .500 pitcher for a year or maybe the first 2 years?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Pride and Nation Pride demands that he be a winner. 8-18 won’t cut it in Japan.

            He’s not coming here.

          • cubtex

            agreed. No way do they want the best pitcher in Japan to go to a place where he will have a losing record

        • Brp921

          I guess I have not seen anything saying it is a priority to Tanaka to go to a team that can win immediately. I have read here and elsewhere that speculation is that he may want to sign with a west coast team. I have also seen here and elsewhere that he would like to be the ace of the pitching staff. So what are we to believe? I think I will believe what I see in the next couple of days. I am not going to count us out quite as easily as some of us who comment on this site. :)

          • 07GreyDigger

            There’s nobody on this site like that! :)

          • cubtex

            Why do you constantly make comments like that? You are like a school child!

          • 07GreyDigger

            It’s sarcasm sir. Ever heard of it?

          • cubtex

            how many times do you say IF this….how many on here will still complain? If That…how many will say this? What is the point of making those comments? Who cares what other people think?

          • 07GreyDigger

            I must also say, in my opinion, that anytime I read this site and the great articles posted, it gets frustrating to read in the comments about every move or trade about what’s wrong with it and something negative all the time. I’m not under the illusion that everything the FO does is rainbows and kittens, but I don’t think that everything they do is storm clouds and acid rain either.

          • cubtex

            I enjoy the differing opinions. It would be boring if everyone agreed. I even enjoy going back and for with you Digger :) But those sarcastic comments provoke more of a wedge between the posters imo. Don’t mean to make too much of a big deal out of it but it is constant with you.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m waiting for Neil to say, “boys, boys boys, can’t we all just get along…”

    • 07GreyDigger

      There’s a report on MLB Trade Rumors that states Paul Maholm wouldn’t mind returning to Chicago and being flipped again at the deadline.

      • Ripsnorter1

        If that’s true, he might get the moniker “Pancake Maholm.”

        • cubtex

          Maholm won’t have a lot of options to be given a starting spot. He didn’t pitch much in the 2nd half and when he did it wasn’t pretty

        • J Daniel

          He stated that last week during an interview with Bowden.

          • mutantbeast

            If Maholm pitc hes like the Maholm did here before he was traded, Id be glad to have him back. He was probably pitching better than anyone else in our rotation at the time he got traded.

      • cubtex

        It is not like he will have a lot of options.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I reported the same last week.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Maybe it was you after all. Sorry Neil!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            No worries.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
    • CubbyDenCritic

      Same thing I have been telling people…….
      By September, our rotation will be Hendricks, Beeler, Arietta, Wood and Johnson.

      • daverj

        I will bookmark this page so I can point you to it in September when your prediction is wrong.

        Johnson (I assume you mean Pierce) will not be in the September rotation.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I think it will be a bunch of rookies, like you say. Except I don’t expect
        Arietta to make it in the rotation all year long.

  • GaryLeeT

    Levine said “none of the clubs know the other teams’ bids.”

    Maybe the initial bids are blind, but there is no way, they won’t be revealed to the other teams soon after. What agent wouldn’t allow counter offers, and invite a bidding war?

    • cubtex

      of course. If one of the blind bids blows the others out of the water…You don’t think the agent will give the other teams a chance to counter? Close gets more money in his pocket as well if he lets this get into a bidding war.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I think Tanaka would refuse the Cubs $250 million dollar offer for LAD.

        • cubtex

          I still say the Yankees. Huge media. Biggest stage in the world. Matsui did great with them. Kuroda is there. Many All Stars on the team. Big Asian community. Makes too much sense.

          • calicub

            if i’m looking to sign a 6-8 year contract i look at where the team is now, and where they will be over the course of my contract. The Yankees’ only shot at the playoff’s is signing Tanaka but even then they have an old and injury prone roster with more question marks than answers moving forward; couple that with a poor farm system and monetary restrictions, i wouldn’t touch that team with a ten foot pole.

            The cubs aren’t going to be competitive this year, but the next 6-10 years look mighty promising for the Cubs. Ownership has an obvious willingness to spend and has supported that fact with its commitments through out it’s organization.

            As for the dodgers, they are already at a gaudy level for payroll, and while becoming their 3/4 starter may be nice, you have to be concerned as to whether all the Dodger’s commitments will strangle them in the long run.

            I don’t think the Cubs win it, but if they do, no matter the price, it will be worth it. I look at Tanaka as a high level prospect who has dominated at AAA and for w/e reason has become a free agent.

            IF EVER THERE WAS A REASON TO DO IT, Tanaka would be the best reason to break the bank on a F/A.

          • cubtex

            You don’t think the Yanks will not get more star power over the next 6 to 8 years? The Giancarlo Stantons, the upcoming stars on small market teams that will become too expensive for them? The mistake that many casual fans have is that they think everyone is on the same playing field. The Yankees and Dodgers are in a league of their own. They will buy buy a team every year that has a chance.

          • paulcatanese

            And that is the difference between the both of them and the Cubs, win now, not three of four years down the road, where their is no sure thing that it will happen even then.

          • Bryan

            Paul…for those here that have been fans for decades, don’t you just feel that we’ve heard this storyline so many times before….”prospects”, “wait til next year”…etc. I’m excited about guys like Baez, Bryant, etc….but all it takes is one injury, or one mental-case detour and the “master plan” is sidetracked. I’m just amazed that no-one is currently in our farm system that is projected to make the team post-spring training. And besides the hype around Tanaka, Rickett’s is doing his Wrigley imitation in the free-agent market.

          • paulcatanese

            Exactly, and to the point.

          • Tony_Hall

            The Cubs are not putting all of their prospect eggs in one basket. If one fails they have depth now in the farm system to move on. If all the Top prospects were to make it, we would have a different problem with not enough spots for them.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Fourth place and most likely finishing in the same spot in 2014 is definitely win now.

          • calicub

            Undoubtedly the Yankees will add star power over the course of that possible contract, but if the world series since 2009 can teach us anything, it’s this:

            Aside from the 2009 Yankees, who added CC Sabbathia, AJ Burnette, Texiara and Nick Swisher that season, each and every team that won not only had a strong core of homegrown players, but a deep minor league pool of players able to contribute.

            I highly doubt there will ever again be a season where three high caliber players like Sabbathia, Burnette and Texiara could all be added to one roster; it’s just the state of free agency in general. And so, the organization with the youth and quality depth to compliment their major league rosters throughout the year, will time and time again be the Winners of the Classic.

            Giants, who had a strong system a few years back due to years of losing, won 2 WS.

            Cardinals, no explanation necessary, two world series rings.

            Boston had a veritable bevy of youth ready to contribute/trade throughout the year which lead to their WS.

            All i am saying, is if i were an agent with knowledge of the league and it’s trends, and all offers being the same in a vacuum, i would steer my client in the direction of the Dodgers or Cubs because the Cubs have future promise and money to spend, and the Dodgers have money now with a stated goal of rebuilding the farm at the same time.

          • cubtex

            would it surprise you if the Dodgers won the WS this year? It sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me. Look at that payroll and roster. Kemp,Puig,AGon,Hanley and of course Kershaw,Greinke and Ryu leading the staff.

          • cubtex

            BTW. Greinke,Ryu,Puig were all added in the same year I believe. All FA’s

          • calicub

            Two of which were International FA’s with alot more question marks than Tanaka, hence the lower contracts and in the case of Ryu, lower (at least expected due to new CBA) posting fees.

            Greinke =/= C.C. Sabbathia, even with the down year CC had.

            Ryu =/= A.J. Burnette

            Puig =/= Mark Texiera

          • cubtex

            3 major impact players added in one offseason via free agency

          • Dorasaga

            And if you think about it, collectively, they were only good for that 2009, not since after.

          • cubtex

            What????? You have a pretty high standard of what you consider “good” LOL
            2010 95-67
            2011 97-65
            2012 95-67

            Can the Cubs be this “not good” for the next 3 years? I will take it now

          • Dorasaga

            I meant the free agents for 2009, CC, Tex, Burnett, and Swisher combined. Do you know where the Yanks would be without Cano? Give you an example:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=900&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=17%2cd

            Yup, 2011-’13, you don’t see anyone else there but Cano, who was not FA.

          • cubtex

            don’t understand your point. You are saying CC hasn’t been a good starter since 2009? You are saying that because Cano has a high WAR and noone else does that the Yankees will not win? I don’t believe in computer baseball if that is the point you are making.

          • Dorasaga

            No, what I’m saying is “collectively” and “combined,” these FA-signings for 2009 were not good enough (leaderboard linked) for the Yankees to return glory since 2010. I read the peripherals and get past ERA and RBI. They faced a rebuilding O’s and Blue Jays and even the rebuilding Cubs in 2011. That’s why cumulative stats are useless for talent evaluation.

            In the postseason, scouting reports and weaknesses exploited, Tex and CC were fatigue and many veterans injured.

            Don’t tell me your “eyeball test” failed to see those during postseason.

          • cubtex

            What again? Did you see Tex’s and Cc’s numbers for 10 and 11? You need a full team to win. They did their part and you need a couple of overachievers. I will take those 3 years from CC and the first 2 from Tex any year!

          • Dorasaga

            We are lucky to have watched the best of Sabathia 2007-09. His fastball velocity dropped every year since 2009. He served more and more longballs since then. Teixeira had injury, lost playing time, and gradually lost power since then. Old players who lost power usually walks more. But Tex wasn’t even doing that.

            By 2012, Kuroda became the de facto ace, Cano delivered for 2010 and ’12; Granderson ’11, and so on…

            The ’09 Yankees were not sustainable. They had younger players and new FA signees to help them, but not those signed pre 2009. On paper, the 2010 Rangers were just as good as the Yanks, but what separated them in Oct.? The Ryan Club was significantly younger than NYY. Anyway, not like I care.

          • cubtex

            CC Sabathia

            2010 21-7 with a 3.18
            2011 19-8 with a 3.00
            2012 15-6 with a 3.38

            That is not good?

          • cubtex

            TEX

            10 .256 .365 33 HR’s 108RBI

            11 .248 .341 39 HR 111 RBI
            12 .251 .332 24 HR 84 RBI

            I think the Cubs would love to have that production from Rizzo. The 2012 year is pretty similar to who Rizzo is.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            So you like Rizzo now?

          • cc002600

            sure, but you can’t have a guy at every position making 15-20M. It doesn’t work. You need to have some young talent which the yankees have zero right now. Just wondering -how many WS have the yankees and Dodgers won since 2000 ? 1 between the 2 of them. not that great.

            78 wins for the mighty yankee. If they get Tanaka, I’ll move it up to 82. LOL

          • daverj

            Actually with the Dodgers new tv contract, they probably can afford to have a guy at every position making 15-20 mil.

          • cc002600

            you know something ? That’s a scary thought and I can’t say I would disagree with you.

            but doesn’t it always seem that when teams outspend everyone else by wide margins it usually doesn’t work ? Look at last year. They were over $200M and were bounced in playoffs. Yankees will be over 200M this year most likely and have a .500 team at best.

          • cubtex

            so if Tanaka is worth 4 wins to a mlb team(I guess the Cubs are also a mlb team :) that is a lot of dough to possibly get to 90 losses this year. And the Cubs don’t even have close to the roster the Yankees are throwing out there. I guess you are not a proponent of signing Tanaka.

          • cc002600

            well, when you say the cubs are “not even close” to the yankees, we will see. For 2014, yes, yankees will be better most likely. But after that, good luck. Yankee arrow pointing down. Way down. Yes, it helps to have ridiculous payroll, but there are not enough good FA’s available anymore to be able to just “buy” a championship team. You need good young talent too, which the yankees do not have anymore. and yes, Tanaka is only worth 4 wins on an old, bad team. LOL.

            78 wins

          • cubtex

            So what is Tanaka worth to a terrible team? 2 wins?

          • Eugene Debs

            Signing Tanaka is not about “next year.” But consider this rotation:

            1. Tanaka
            2. Samardzija
            3. Wood
            4. Jackson
            5. Arrietta

            That’s pretty good, IMO.

          • GaryLeeT

            Last year’s starters as a collective group, did pretty well. Unfortunately their performances were masked by dreadful pen in the first half, and an inept offense all year,

          • Ripsnorter1

            The reason Garza and Feldman did well was–they were playing hard for a contract.
            Then of course they were dealt away.

            What’s left is:
            Samardzija, playing for a contract, and
            Wood–perhaps unlikely to repeat his good performance.
            Arietta–too wild to be successful,
            Jackson–I think what you see, is what you get: 8 wins and a terrible ERA.
            ????–Maholm? Rusin? Hendricks? Grimm? All are not very good right now.

            100 losses is possible again.

          • GaryLeeT

            I guess it’s possible, but you would have to call it a worse case scenario.

          • Eugene Debs

            Do you feel the bullpen is better? I’m hopeful but not certain it will improve.

          • GaryLeeT

            As long as Camp, and Marmol aren’t in it how could it not be? Not a big fan of Russell or Wright, but I guess management is. Although there are still some moving parts to the backend, Strop, Veras, and Villanueva, are nice anchors to a much improved pen.

          • Tony_Hall

            They have lots of options coming to ST. I do feel the pen will be better this year. They also have depth coming in young arms that should hit by mid-year.

          • Denver Mike

            I don’t think players of Stanton’s caliber will be available via FA for the Yanks to overpay, unless said player is 30+ and trending downwards.

            The only way to get quality talent before 30+ is via trade. What can the Yankees offer via trade for someone of that caliber? Sanchez + their next 5 1st round picks?

            I think the Yanks will always be trying to add talent, but it is going to be a lot of the Mark Reynolds, Soriano, Granderson, and Brian Roberts type guys. I doubt they even get a chance to kick the tires on a Trout or Stanton type guy in their prime.

          • cubtex

            didn’t they add 2 players in their prime years this year? McCann and Ellsbury? Those 2 should be good for the next 3 years and then you add again and again. That is the beauty of FA and a top payroll. You can compete each and every year even with an average farm system. The small market teams can’t but the Yanks can.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I think by prime years he means 26-27. Most baseball publications deem the age 26 season as the breakout season.

          • cubtex

            many players are only in their 2nd or 3rd year at 26. Around 30 is usually where most hitters are in their prime.

            http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9933

          • 07GreyDigger

            Nice article. I remember this one. But based on the bell curve at the end of the article (and based on what I’ve read in numerous fantasy baseball magazines, the decline for a player hits around 31. So if you sign a guy at 30, how much value are you truly getting? That’s why Theo talks about FA for younger players so much.

          • cubtex

            agreed. You would love to get players earlier but many hitters stay the course through their early 30’s. Like I said about Ellsbury and McCann. They should be productive for the next 3 years at least.

          • 07GreyDigger

            That’s why I’m more excited for the rebuilding than most. Most FA’s are useful until 34ish, but I’m tired of the Cubs throwing money at the problem. I’d like to see some young guys with the team for a long time that they drafted and developed. As a Blackhawks fan, that’s been way more fun.

          • Tony_Hall

            That is why the Cubs are trying to fix that. Most elite players are the ones that make it in their early 20’s.

          • cc002600

            is .500 “competing” ?

            LOL

          • cubtex

            They weren’t in the wild card hunt till the end? I know it’s been awhile for the Cubs but I would take that right now! Hahaha

          • cc002600

            they were never that close. and I would think most yankee fans would agree. Just look at drop in attendance. Wait till this year. When they finish around .500, will you tell us how they “competed” ? I guess $200M doesn’t buy what it used to. LOL

          • cubtex

            So you do not want the Cubs to compete like this? No WC for you? Win division or bust. I will remind you of that in 2 years when we will be close to that WC. Bite your tongue on what 200 mil can buy. That could be Tanaka! Loooooool!

          • cc002600

            If that’s what you call competing, sorry, not that exciting. Dude, they were never really in it. They were always the 3rd or 4th team back in WC. If that excites you, God Bless. Sorry, doesn’t really do much for me. It’s kind of like competing for the 8th seed in NBA playoffs. Does that really get the juices flowing when you know you have zero chance of winning championship ?

          • cubtex

            Good point. A WC team has never won a WS and only teams that win divisions do! Division or Bust! Cubs in 2019! Hibernate till then CCoo. Loool

          • cc002600

            ah, you’re funny, tex.
            there is nothing wrong with winning WC, I would be very excited if cubs won wc. But the yankees were no more in the WC race then the Astros were. They were NEVER in it.

            ok, time to go hibernate.

            LOL

          • cc002600

            yea, yankees spend $200M EVERY year….tanaka contract will be over 6 years probably. Big difference. $200M for a bunch of 38 Y/O’s !! Yuck. LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            On they way up, competing for a Wild Card will be fun. But not on the way down.

          • Tony_Hall

            End of their prime. Ellsbury will have a better shot of being productive through his contract as McCann I think will fall quickly in a few years.

          • cubtex

            Even next year if they wanted to replace the left side of the infield they could sign Asdrubel Cabrera for SS to replace Jeter and Chase Headley for 3B. There will always be players to sign and upgrade positions of need.

          • Tony_Hall

            Agreed, but neither is elite at this time.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Is that why the Yankees were tied for fourth place and are heading in the opposite direction of the Orioles?

          • Tony_Hall

            No. Stanton’s are going to have to be traded for as teams won’t let his type walk with getting something for him. The Yankees cupboard is bare of prospects to trade.

            They will continue to sign guys that make it to FA, but the elite guys will not make it through anymore. It will be guys like Samardzija who look good, have decent years, decide to be patient, then have monster walk years. But even those will get traded in July.

          • Bryan

            Good post (thank you), but I just can’t agree on your comment that “Cubs ownership has an obvious willingness to spend….with its commitments throughout the organization”. What commitments are you seeing? By having a sub-par performance (that’s being nice) at the major league level, we have gotten high draft picks to secure some “potential” talent. With prospects everything is still a crap shoot…The pitcher we got from the Braves was supposed to be a TOR starter. One injury, and two years later, and who knows if he’ll pitch at the ML level. While I truly hope all our hyped prospects play out, as yet we haven’t seen a single person from the Theo era make it to the big league team, and make an impact. The Cubs have reduced payroll, is losing attendance, and has lost big market appeal. Cubs ownership has sold the fanbase on its commitment to build thru the farm system (ok, good thing). Beyond that and it’s been a pretty poor Rickett’s ownership push since he took over. Until we see some progress at Clark and Addison, it’s all just hype.

          • cubtex

            well said

          • calicub

            Yes. Presently, payroll is down.

            But willingness to spend has nothing to do with waiting for prospects.

            New facilities in Latin America.
            New facilities in Arizona.
            Proposed $500MM facilities in Chicago. (without aid/subsidies/tax breaks/community help.)
            Improved minor league facilities throughout the organization with basic things like video feeds, etc.
            An expanded workforce changing the Cubs from one of the smallest front offices to one of the largest in the game. (my favorite of which was bringing in Tom Tango)
            Commissioning of a Cubs stats/baseball software program.
            Huge increase in international spending.
            Opting out of an inefficient media contract in order to maximize profits.
            Paying off the debt required for the purchase of the team before it capitalizes and hinders the team in the future.

            The FO has stated multiple times that they earmarked money this off-season to go for high end talent (tanaka) and will use it next year.
            Teams are getting smarter and smarter with their money. FA signings have purposes other than complimenting the on-field product. (See Albert Pujols and jersey sales).

            With all the other upgrades to this organization from top to bottom and everything they’ve added in between, if the FO feels it smarter to not spend money on the major league aspect of the club for the time being, I trust that.

          • Bryan

            You’re entitled to your opinion, and respected for it. But please try to sell that spin to the season ticket holders.

          • calicub

            If they’d pay me i would.

          • paCubsFan23

            That is not spin. It’s actually a really smart plan. Our team needed a complete makeover, and starting from the ground up is the smartest way to do it.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are right,but not all season ticket holders are against the rebuild.

          • Eugene Debs

            The facility in Arizona was not paid for by the team.

          • calicub

            Fair enough, though the organization did put itself in a very good position to receive a favorable return.

            Now if only the Cubs could pony up and do to Chicago what they did to the City of Mesa, AZ…

          • Tony_Hall

            They are spending money on the facility. Maybe not the infrastructure and construction, but not everything is paid in the construction phase.
            But about time the local, city, state helped the Cubs who bring in tons of money to the local governments and all the local business’s that profit from the Cubs.

          • SuzyS

            Bryan, nice to see you posting again.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            But that was the good old Yankee days…..when they were in their prime….now they have too many issues, plus Boston & Tampa are getting stronger while the Yankees are getting older………..I believe the Yankees are Tanaka’s second choice…..but it looks like the Dodgers from reports that Close is talking with the Dodgers clan.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Is that what Cano said as he left town? All Stars, pitcher wins, and RBIs, because all of those things matter.

          • cubtex

            No. I think he said….damn Seattle is giving me 250 mil? See ya NY! Lol

          • Tony_Hall

            I think you mean former All-Stars :)

        • CubbyDenCritic

          LA for sure!

        • J Daniel

          COMPLETELY DISAGREE!

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Never been to Southern California JD?………..much better than cold Chicago……..plus, the Dodgers have real star hitters on their club.

          • J Daniel

            Really? If the Cubs offered @250 and the rest were at say 175 … he wouldn’t choose the Cubs? REALLY? May be wrong but don’t think so.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            No one really knows what the team offers are……we are just hearing rumors…….
            But L.A. Dodgers are a playoff team, with great hitters and other great pitchers…..Cubs will be a last team this year, and maybe next year……and the future may look bright for the Cubs, but that is what the local media said about the Bulls when Rose came here 3 years ago……………Baez, Bryant, Almora have not proven nothing yet…..
            Tanaka could take the Cubs at their high offer, but this guy wants to win now…not three or four years down the road…….his big payday is back in Japan with all those endorsements if he does win with the Dodgers now……
            then we have to think about the third option….Mrs Tanaka……she might have aspirations to be a Hollywood socialite, model or movie star……..
            we should all know soon……
            just don’t let this Tanaka get to you when he signs somewhere else……if the Cubs got Darvish a year ago, I would have a different opinion.
            .

  • 07GreyDigger

    I think if the Cubs were in the running for a pitcher who was guaranteed to not break down and win 50 games, you guys would find something wrong with it.

    • cubtex

      Sure. He should have won 51. hahahahaha

      • Ripsnorter1

        There’s that “IF the Cubs…, then….” again. LOL

        At least the Tanaka deal has given us something to talk about until ST gets here.

  • John_CC

    If Bowden and Kapman say that it will be today or tomorrow it won’t happen until Thursday.

  • J Daniel

    CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS STORY TO END!!!!!!!

    • CubbyDenCritic

      The Samardzija trade rumors will be longer!

    • Eugene Debs

      Beats arguing about Tyler Colvin vs. Ian Stewart.

      • Tony_Hall

        Ain’t that the truth!

  • CubbyDenCritic

    My Quote of the Day………
    “June is the beginning of Summer…..and the end of the Cubs season”

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Please stop this. There was no reason to post this whatsoever. Thank you.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Neil, I found out over my entire life, the Cubs will make us cheer, cry, scream, yell at them, boo them, cry even more, get angry, get sad, give us hope, give us doubt, drive us crazy………….but whatever the Cubs do…..it makes all of us come back and see them again the next season.

        • Rational Logic

          Just stop, really. I won’t make another comment in this regard, but you’re killing the integrity of this site.

          It makes it unappealing to read through the comments, which are filled with mostly insightful commentary, with repeated pointless quips and empty, vague attacks on the Cubs.

          While I do enjoy debating about the Cubs, I can’t stand poorly constructed arguments filled with useless information and empty attacks. You have a lot of good things to say as well, don’t dilute the site with the other stuff.

          It had to be said. I’m done.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    I personally hope the Cubs dont get Tanaka.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Here is a story about HOF Paul Molitor who is saying that A-Rod does not belong in the HOF for PED use…..

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-01-19/alex-rodriguez-suspension-peds-hall-of-fame-paul-molitor
    I do recall Molitor had a cocaine problem in his career……yes, people should not throw rocks in glass houses.

    • John_CC

      Not even the same ballpark.

  • Robert Marciano

    A lot of You Bad mouthing the Fact Of Tanaka Coming Here and How Cubs Going to Suck Are Not Even True Cubs Fans and Has no clue About What the FO is Really Doing here, Which Has Never Been Done Before in All the Years of CUBS F.O./ We finally Get The Winning Ingredient to Building a Long Lasting Team that Wont Be a One Yr Winner and Loser the Next. but A Team That will be in Contention Year in And Year out. But You Think It happens overnight? What You want to be like the YANKEES and Buy Championship year in and Year out? But instead Have highest Payroll and produce the Least championships Over the time period? Or you Want A young Team With DEEP FARM to Have continued Success Over Many Years? WHY NOT take the Chance with TANAKA? IF he is the Man That Says Like Reports say about him, That He wants to Be the Man, He wants to be the Man To Be a Legend And Likes a Challenge Then the CUBS are the Answer. EVEN if He goes to DODGERS and Yankess and they Win WORLD SERIES will not make him better or set him above anyone else, But would be a Waste of His possible Legacy. He would Be more remembered as the Player that Helped Initiate a Winning Team ad be PART of THE FIRST WORLD SERIES And MANY more OF CUBS World Series Championships. HE will Be Remembered Then and more importantly Than Playing with Overpayed Aged Players trying buy championships.
    Secondly, What Would Tanaka Signing Mean to the Team? Mean A lot!!
    1. Increased Revenues to The team and Media coverage and Hopefully Landing a Mega DEAL=Profits
    2. F.O. Would shut up The Fake CUB fans By Backing up their statements of Building a Strong Young Core of Players and farm System For Future Success longer than One year.
    3. If they Spent A lot of money on this Player, think about the Returns On Him, and the Push for the CUBS to Push for More Free agents, And spend Money on good Players to Back up the Core. I think with Sales, Media, and everything Else will make up for Contract if He is a BUST.

    ** I know we tired of Losing, And Sometimes Patience is a Virtue (* Hate to admit that). But What Theo and Organization is doing is the BEST thing to Do and Damn Right I Think Signing Tanaka Is a NO brainer, Whether he is Over rated or not!! For Will help also Keep a PROVEN starter in JEFF SAMARDJA the SHARk. DUH!!!!! Excuses the Misspells But At work and had type fast without Boss seeing LOL.

    But Let us See If Tanaka is that guy Wants a Challenge to Be Remembered as a LEGEND or if He is just one of the Players want to Get a Cheap WS Ring or prove hs is as Good as He is!!

    • cubtex

      what is a true Cub fan? Blind faith and loyalty? Is that a “true” Cub fan? I was always curious to what that means. Do you think that some are not “true” Cub fans because they do not want Tanaka at an outrageous amount of years and cost? Were the fans that questioned Soriano’s contract at the time not “true” fans? I am curious what your answer is to that.

      • calicub

        It’s the same thing as a real American.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Just like Hulk Hogan. I hope someone gets that joke.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            we do, Brother!

      • Robert Marciano

        True Cubs Fan is Hoping the Best things Come to Cubs, And Also Still Loving them When it Does not go their Way, To Speak highly of Team You Follow and not Bad mouth them. True Cubs fan Also Knows The history of Cubs and history of the F.O. in the past. Which this F.O. is doing hundreds Time Better than ones in the Past and Building it Right for first time for the Future. With Farm System (* purpose of a farm System is to produce) to prevent us to Spend outragelously on the market But Growing them within the Farm. But is Looking forward to the Future of the Cubs Organization and holding their Heads high.

        As for the Soriano Part, He had Chance in MLB and I thought He Was Overpayed and Shows as Prime Example Spending money on Older player and trying to compete with Yankees By trying to buy a team Did not Nor would have Helped.

        As for Tanaka, fresh face, Young Arm, Proven Track record in Japan, Where each year he got better, So shows he is Constantly Learning and trying to better his record from previous Year , but Can Throw 200 plus Innings and Not be pressured to Be ready in First year facing MLB?

        The Asset It would be to CUBS, TV deals, Marketing, Future Spending Profits, Image, Truth to show Theo is serious With Ricketts on Willing to spend money On young talent, etc…, Too many positives.. compared to Soriano Everyone already seen him, known him, And Did not pay off the contract itself.

        • cubtex

          that is where you are mistaken my friend. This FO hasn’t done anything yet that translates to mlb wins. Will this plan work? Maybe. Is it guaranteed? A “True” Cub fan can question the plan that any current FO or past FO implemented. The Cubs were 5 outs away from a WS a couple of years ago. You need some breaks. The ball didn’t bounce their way but IF it had?
          Just because you believe this FO will get it done and those that feel they could do more doesn’t make one more of a fan than the other. Everyone wants the same result.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            This FO hasn’t done anything yet that translates to mlb wins.

            What world do you live in?

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL – A couple of year ago.

            Time sure does fly as we get older.

        • daverj

          A true Cub fan is a fan that cheers for the Cubs win or lose. A true Cubs fan doesn’t need to support every (or for that matter any) decision of ownership.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          you JUST said UP ABOVE that the purpose of current FO PLANS is to prevent us from spending outrageously…yet you hope WE GET Tanaka WHICH can ONLY happen if the CUBS spend outrageously.

          It is actually HARD TO type intermittent ALL CAPs by the way…kudos for you to be able to execute on it so well.

          -a TRUE cubs FAN

          • Tony_Hall

            Big difference when talking about a 25 year old spending big money and years on then a 31 year old.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Last season, Garza was the hottest pitcher when he was with the Cubs …but when he went against the big boys in A.L., his record was not so hot…….a pitcher can pitch different with various clubs……sometimes it is surroundings, the pressure, the run support, the pitching coach, his battery mate, or the teams in that league………..it is better for a pitcher like Tanaka that if he really wants to get to that world series title game quicker, he will not sign with the Cubs………our system right now is set up to promote from the farm system and sign low rate free agent pitchers who we can flip later………anyway, Theo will not give Tanaka a “no trade” clause, and Tanaka’s agent will not accept that for his client..

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree with most of your thoughts, but just a few things from reading down through posts.

      I go round and round with many people on here and just because we don’t agree, doesn’t make me more of a Cub fan, because I support what the front office is doing. Their side is if you are blindly following you aren’t a real Cub fan isn’t right either. I can give my full support to the team, the FO, and ownership, and the path they have chosen to bring a world class organization that can compete year after year by building from the ground up. I can also not like every move they make, yet not have to blast them for the moves I don’t like. Does anyone really think I like Valbuena? Of course not, but he filled a need and his platoon with his RH bats from last year, actually produced an above average 3B production. And the plus is they didn’t waste $15M a year to do this. No one truly knows how much the baseball operations is sitting on in the bank after the last 2 years. They were fully prepared to make a large posting fee to win the rights to Tanaka. The cash had to come from somewhere.

      But, most everyone on here is a true blue Cub fan! Have no doubt about that. Even the ones that blast every move, every signing, every FO addition, mock titles, I really could go and on. But they are Cub fans and all they want to see is the Cubs win a World Series.

      I have used this analogy before, but many of us go at it over and over but if the Cubs win a World Series and we were all together, it wold be like at the end of Major League when Roger Dorn decks the Wild Thing, then picks him back up to celebrate. We may go 15 rounds, but if we win a World Series, we would all be celebrating together. Now some on here would be already complaining about how they can’t repeat wild the champagne is still flowing, but hey they will be happy for a moment in time.

      The other thing is lay off the CAPS. It does come off poorly and will create more bad responses. Using it every so often to make something stand out works.

      Just remember if your boss walks by, ALT/TAB to your work and you will be just fine, and give you time to proof read longer posts.

      Above all, come back, I and many others could use all the help we can get.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Latest Tanaka odds……
    White Sox…20-1
    Cubs………..4-1
    Yankees……2-1
    Dodgers…….1-1

  • Rational Logic

    Prior to Yu Darvish’s success, a contract with an AAV of $20M would be absurd. The hype for Dice-K was very similar, and he has extremely under-performed.

    I fail to see how the success of Darvish translates into a higher probability of success for Tanaka. Yes, Tanaka’s scouting reports are better than most (in fact, it appears as though Darvish is still a more talented pitcher) Japanese-league players, but considering the BEST players he pitches against are not MLB-caliber players makes the potential contract an extreme risk.

    I would love to have him on the Cubs, however, I hope he chooses elsewhere because the team can spread the money around in better ways.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      as they say……..”Throwing all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea”

    • Eugene Debs

      Problem is, we WON’T spend the money.

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe not this off-season, but it is not like they Ricketts split up any money not spent each year. It stays in the baseball operations pocket to spend later.

  • SuzyS

    Neil…great quote from a great player!!! “Smokey Joe”
    got his name from the “fire” that he threw off the mound.
    Says wherever he went he played baseball…even when he sat up front in the covered wagon with his dad…he had a baseball glove on!
    He blew out his arm, sat out a season…and converted to an outfielder the last years of his career.
    He spent nine years as a pitcher…20 years coaching baseball at Yale…and was in his mid 90’s when he died.
    Just under 10% of his life was spent as a pitcher…which made his name for over 100 years.
    Kind of a wonder…isn’t it???

    …Just a little levity on life…while all the passions are flying around on Tanaka.

    • paulcatanese

      And to add, he spent a great deal of time with weights, stretching and hanging from a horizontal pole letting his dead weight stretch the arm and learned to throw with the pain.
      (insight from a relative of his).