The Daily Tanaka: Speculation Continues in the Masahiro Tanaka Derby

The Masahiro Tanaka updates took a backseat to baseball’s biggest story on Sunday. The speculation continued on which team will end up signing Tanaka with the Cubs remaining among the teams considered as a likely destination.

The Cubs have not confirmed or denied they met with Masahiro Tanaka last week while he was in Los Angeles. The Cubs’ front office is respecting Casey Close’s instructions and is keeping the process with Tanaka as confidential as possible.

According to a report from Bill Plunkett, Masahiro Tanaka met with eight to nine teams in Los Angeles before he returned to Japan. Plunkett reported the Cubs, Yankees and Diamondbacks were three of the teams that met with Tanaka last week.

The Cubs are reportedly prepared to make a nine-figure investment in Masahiro Tanaka but the front office has the tough task of not only outbidding the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels, they have to sell him on pitching for the Chicago Cubs.

Reports have suggested Masahiro Tanaka would prefer to pitch on the West Coast. Reports have also indicated Tanaka would like to pitch in New York, Los Angeles or Boston. And reports went as far to say on Sunday the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels are the three finalists to sign Tanaka.

The New York media continues to focus on the Yankees being able to use the money they are saving with the Alex Rodriguez suspension to sign Masahiro Tanaka. Andrew Marchand does not see a scenario in which the Yankees will be outbid for his services.

Nick Cafardo updated the Tanaka sweepstakes in his Sunday column. Cafardo spoke with one National League general manager who told Cafardo, “Someone is going to come in and blow everyone away. There’s going to be a dance where everyone is in the same boat and then there will be a team that breaks the bank for him.”

According to Cafardo, there “is a growing sentiment he would be worth it for rebuilding teams such as the Cubs, Astros, Blue Jays, Mariners, and even the Padres.” Cafardo pointed out he would also be a fit for the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, Tigers and Phillies.

As previously reported, the Cubs are expected to be one of the six “finalists” for Tanaka. And it would be to presumptive to count out the Rangers or the White Sox in the process.

With 11 days left before Tanaka has to sign with a MLB team or return to Japan for another season , Casey Close and Masahiro Tanaka will likely make a decision right before the deadline (Jan. 24, 4:00pm CST) in order to make sure the team he signs with is the best situation for him.

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