The Masahiro Tanaka Derby is Coming Down the Backstretch

While the speculation continues on which team will land Masahiro Tanaka, one thing is certain. By 4:00pm CST on Friday the daily Tanaka watch will be over.

Reports suggested Masahiro Tanaka would make a decision by end of business on Wednesday because the team he agrees to terms with would need time to conduct a physical before finalizing the contract. Since the beginning of the process, there were rumblings that Casey Close would take the Tanaka derby down to the deadline in order to find the best deal, and situation, for his client.

Masahiro Tanaka took a physical while he was in Los Angeles in order to provide teams that were interested in signing him the necessary medicals. As of this writing, which is just before 2:00pm on Wednesday in Japan, Tanaka was still in Japan with plans to fly back to the States at some point by the end of the week.

Jayson Stark reported Tuesday afternoon he was hearing the Tanaka decision could go all the way to Friday’s deadline. But multiple reports were consistent about the winning team requiring a physical with their doctors. According to Ken Rosenthal, the team that lands Tanaka cannot include a contingency in the agreement he must pass a physical before the deal would become official.

The Cubs are rumored to have the biggest offer on the table for Tanaka both in terms of years and dollars. And while reports suggested Tanaka was deciding between the Yankees and Cubs that does not appear to be the case. The Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks remain in the mix and there is simply too much time left in the process to count any team out of the running for Masahiro Tanaka. Joel Sherman reported Tuesday, the White Sox, Angels, and Mariners “are viewed as legitimate suitors.” The Astros are also interested in Tanaka according to Houston’s owner, Jim Crane.

As for what signing Tanaka could cost the Cubs, Jeff Passan reported “one official involved in the Tanaka bidding believes the winning contract is going to fall somewhere in the six-year, $120 million range” plus the $20 million release fee. And Bruce Levine is hearing, Tanaka is looking at a six or seven-year contract worth more than $20 million per year. Then there are the terms of the contract and Casey Close is believed to be insisting on Tanaka’s deal including an opt-out clause.

David Kaplan quieted the report of possible blind binds taking place for Tanaka. Kaplan indicated Tuesday night, “teams can increase offers” until Tanaka makes a final decision.

Once Masahiro Tanaka agrees to terms on a contract, the other free agent starting pitchers should sign, which will make the last week of January rather busy throughout baseball.

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  • Tony_Hall

    Not much longer, but a decision could come at any time as there is only 57 hours left on the clock and everything has to be done before the clock hits zero. I really doubt Casey would cut this so close to the deadline as to risk a technicality not getting a signed deal. If he says last call, we are making a decision at Noon today, he will get whatever last minute pushes as if he called it on Thursday or Friday morning.

    Time to make a decision!

  • Scott McMeekan

    Neil, sleep much? I love it when I get up early in the morning to find that you have given us some new news or perspective. Personally I hope Tanaka takes the challenge and helps the Cubs make that final push…but to be honest I’m also ready for the ‘drama’ to be over. Hopefully he’ll make a decision today so we can all move on.

    • GaryLeeT

      If he were to help the Cubs win a World Series, the parade route couldn’t be long enough to satisfy the turnout, they would commission a statue while he was still playing, and would be an instant Chicago legend. Oh, and he would be one of the highest paid players in baseball. Just a little patience, and he could be famous beyond his wildest dreams.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Some days more than others. Hope all is well with you.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Steve Gilbert: Baseball Source: D-Backs no longer in running for Tanaka. Story soon on http://dbacks.com .

  • Ron Partain

    My money is on the Dodgers

    • Tony_Hall

      DOH!

      • Ron Partain

        or not…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    BREAKING: Tanaka to #Yankees, seven years, $155M, opt-out after fourth year.

    • cubtex

      Good. Time to move on. As expected. This is what was expected all along.

      • Tony_Hall

        They had the most urgent need to sign him. I always thought that the Dodgers or Seattle would go all in and blow even this offer away. I held out hope that the Cubs would sign him, as it would give a boost to the rebuild.

        How fast do the other pitching domino’s fall now? I bet by Friday at Noon we have most of the big names signed.

        • cubtex

          NY. As I said yesterday. Biggest stage in the world. No better media coverage. Yankees mystique. Kuroda there. Huge need for the Yankees to add a TOR starter. Made way too much sense for this not to happen on both fronts.

          • Tony_Hall

            Tired of being the bridesmaid though!

            David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 1m

            7/155. Cubs were reportedly runner up. Dodgers did not go to that level. Cubs not ready to win ended shot. @Ken_Rosenthal broke story

          • cubtex

            It was not the right time. Cubs will not be competitive for the next 2 years. God willing if we are both here in 3 years…I will bring up how Tanaka broke down at about the time the Cubs would need him.

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL! And I will remind you when he is winning his 3rd straight CY Young.

          • cubtex

            Time will tell but I don’t like his delivery and all that mileage on his arm. I know you hate the Yankees way of building a team but they will be in it for the next several years. Tanaka helps them way more than he would the Cubs.

          • cubtex

            That salary is so out of whack for a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the mlb. So glad he didn’t accept the Cubs offer. If you include the 20 mil posting fee… 7/175 or 25 mil per year. No thanks for Dice K part deaux

    • Tony_Hall

      Can’t wait to see the breakdown? I am sure almost all of his pay this year will be in a signing bonus that can spread out for luxury tax purposes.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Boo! (Not you Neil)

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m the first to defend the FO on most of their moves, but the next month before spring training is crucial. They put all their eggs in the Tanaka basket and now they need to do some work to fill some holes here. I’m not saying sign any big deals, but there’s definitely some quality SPs without a home that are probably pacing their homes like crazy that need jobs. Jump on it guys!

      • Tony_Hall

        They will sign a SP, but expect more of a Maholm, Baker type signing.

        • 07GreyDigger

          You never know. They might be able to get a Jimenez or a Santana on a one year deal.

          • cubtex

            Digger the FO values draft picks(even if the 1st pick is protected) to sign either pitcher. A 1 year deal on either those guys and give up a draft pick makes zero sense.

  • cubtex

    Now with Tanaka going to the Yanks. Let’s get back to realistic options of moving forward. Shark wants out. Trade him now to a contender and they need to draft a pitcher in the draft.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree here Ray.

      I think the Royals make a lot of since here. They are a bit desperate to “win now”.

      Shark for say, K. Zimmer and a lottery draft pick?

      I would say the Orioles Gausman and their lottery pick but they traded their pick to the Astros. And they are not willing to add much else pitching wise to any trade.

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130717&content_id=53967108

  • K_Gripp

    I know it was a long shot but this was the move that made sense from a be competitive and build for the future model. All of the options to be competitive this year went undone. We will be entering the season with arguably the worst starting day roster in a decade. Not landing Tanaka almost ensures that Samardzija is dealt at the deadline. The Cubs won’t have a playoff caliber team until 2016. Order your I-Cubs tickets. That is where the show is this year. Woo Hoo!

    • cubtex

      Baseball was at a standstill until this guy was signed. I am so glad this story is over. Shark no doubt will be dealt now. He wants out of this rebuild.

      • K_Gripp

        Yes the Shark wants out for the same reason Tanaka didnt want in. Great players don’t want to opt in to a losing organization.

  • Thomas D

    Well it looks like the Yankees get him espn just reported it on tv