Rick Renteria Confirms Cubs Met with Masahiro Tanaka

Earlier in the week it was assumed the Masahiro Tanaka derby was down to two teams, the Yankees and Dodgers, but that is not the case with a week left to the deadline (Jan, 24, 4:00pm CST). A day after two executives told Jayson Stark to beware of the Cubs when asked about Tanaka, Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday morning the Cubs “are pushing hard for Tanaka.” And when Tom Ricketts was approached at the Owners Meetings and asked about his team’s interest in Tanaka, Ricketts said he “must respect the process” and declined to comment any further before quickly removing himself from the situation.

Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria not only confirmed the team met with Masahiro Tanaka last week in Los Angeles, he also provided a little information on their sales pitch to the 25-year old right hander during one of Thursday’s stops on the Cubs Caravan.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Rick Renteria met with Masahiro Tanaka and several of his representatives, including two translators according to the Sun-Times.

Rick Renteria said the Cubs pitched the future of the organization, as expected, as the reason he should sign with the team. Renteria hopes they were able to sell him on the Cubs but admitted he is not sure where the team stands with Tanaka at this point according to the Tribune.

The Cubs’ manager said he was going to try to learn a little Japanese in the event they do sign Tanaka and he ordered Rosetta Stone to help learn the language.

David Kaplan reported the Cubs are “sitting at the table with the game’s heavyweights and are prepared to spend an insane amount of money for Tanaka.” Then Jayson Stark added an exclamation point to the day when he reported it’s “amazing how many owners in Arizona were convinced the Cubs are ready to blow away the field and sign Tanaka to a monster deal.”

The Cubs have been in on Tanaka since the beginning and even before Jed Hoyer mentioned they would be involved in the process in November at the season ticket holder meetings. The Cubs are prepared to offer him a rather large contract in order to land their off-season target. The teams viewed as the Cubs biggest competition for Tanaka, the Yankees and Dodgers, have different time frames than the Cubs. While adding Tanaka would speed up the building process and possibly help retain Jeff Samardzija, the Yankees are desperate for pitching, and, well … they are the Yankees. As for the Dodgers, the new ownership is putting a ton of money behind winning at least one World Series with the core they have in place.

Several reports have started to suggest the Cubs “need” to sign Masahiro Tanaka … for more than one reason.

According to David Kaplan, several teams “need to have some idea this weekend of where they stand” with Tanaka so if they need to switch gears there is still time to add one of the free agent starters still on the market.

No one is sure what Masahiro Tanaka is looking for. Is he looking to sign with the highest bidder? Or is he looking for the best situation for him and his family? One of Kaplan’s sources said he does not believe “it will come down to the last dollar for Tanaka” and he “believes it will come down to which situation feels the most comfortable for Tanaka and his family.”

Casey Close asked teams involved in Tanaka to keep the process confidential and not to divulge any information to the media. Teams seem to be getting restless and several addressed where they stand with Tanaka.

Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner told Ken Davidoff that “he recently spoke with Casey Close” and according to the report, Steinbrenner just wanted to tell Close that Tanaka is “a great player” and he has “a lot of respect for him.” Steinbrenner would not confirm or deny the Yankees met with Tanaka in Los Angeles last week. Davidoff indicated Steinbrenner did make it clear how bad the Yankees want to sign Tanaka and add him to their rotation.

And as for the Yankees pursuit of being under $189 million for next season maybe keeping them from signing Tanaka, Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday that is not the case. The Yankees’ payroll goal will not impact whether or not they sign Masahiro Tanaka.

If New York is not able to sign Tanaka, look for the Yankees to add another free agent starter but they are not believed to be interested in signing Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana.

Dodgers

In case you haven’t noticed, the Dodgers are spending whatever it takes to field the best team possible. The Dodgers have a seemingly endless supply of money due to their enormous TV contract and they are more than willing to use it. Masahiro Tanaka would slot in behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in their rotation. There are not too many teams that can pay $140 million dollars for a third starter.

Having Tanaka in their rotation would give the Dodgers a luxury many teams cannot afford.

Angels

The Angels are still involved in the Masahiro Tanaka derby according to Ken Rosenthal. But Buster Olney’s sources have told him the Angels insist privately “that they are not seriously involved to other teams in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes.” And Arte Moreno told Jon Paul Morosi Wednesday that his team did not meet with Tanaka while he was in their city last week.

The Angels have been trying to add a frontline starter all winter and could be a landing spot for Matt Garza.

Blue Jays

Alex Anthropolous would like to add a starter to his rotation before Spring Training, either via free agency or by trade. Anthropolous tried to pry Jeff Samardzija away from the Cubs but thought Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were asking for too much in return.

Anthropolous thinks the cost to add a starter to the mix is too high right now. Shi Davidi reported Anthropolous is looking for a bargain and he has not been able to find one.

It appears Toronto is out of the Tanaka sweepstakes.

White Sox

Kenny Williams told Chuck Garfein he believes the White Sox “still have a chance to sign the most coveted pitcher remaining on the free agent market.” Williams does not think “money will be the biggest factor” to Tanaka and the Sox are “not going to give up” until someone tells them the White Sox are out of the running.

The White Sox feel Masahiro Tanaka is looking for the situation that gives him the best chance to succeed.

The Mariners and Diamondbacks are believed to still be in the running for Masahiro Tanaka. Plus the ‘Mystery Team’ has yet to surface and will a week left in the process there is still time.

News and Notes

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles are “having ongoing discussions” with Bronson Arroyo. The Dodgers are also in the mix for Arroyo and view him as a back-up plan if they are not able to sign Masahiro Tanaka. Arroyo is looking for a three-year contract, and the Dodgers may be willing to go only two years at this point. If the Dodgers ink Arroyo most feel they are out of the Tanaka derby.

The Marlins signed former Cubs’ reliever Henry Rodriguez to a minor league deal that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • SuzyS

    I’m going to keep this extremely simple….Looking forward to nice warm, spring weather and GO CUBS!

    Triple: You beat out the Yankees and all their minions for that avatar…nice job!

    • triple

      I’m not gonna lie Suzy. I’m not an avatar kind of guy, but when I saw “Clark the Cub” it just felt right.

      • GaryLeeT

        Would you like an honest opinion about your avatar?

        • triple

          That’s the thing Gary. There’s been uproar and alot of bad energy/hate focused toward the new Cubs mascot. It doesn’t bug me one bit. The fact that the Cubs have a mascot at all is 100% insignificant to me. What blows my mind is that so many people can be offended by something so silly as a bear wearing a Cubs jersey and backwards hat. If they want to spend their time being negative about insignificant things in their life, that is their prerogative.

          To answer your question, that is your decision to make. Whether I want to read your opinion on the situation or not, it is still yourself that controls your own words and actions. No one here has any control over what others choose to type and post on the CCO. So if you must project towards the cute little Cubbie bear, go ahead.

          • GaryLeeT

            It’s not the mascot thing per se, it’s that it looks like a child’s cartoon character. Clark was designed with the intentions of entertaining the children, right? Even though your words don’t sound like a 7 year old’s, whenever I see your avatar, it looks like little Timmy from the 2nd grade is saying something.

          • John_CC

            Right again! He’s hot today!

  • Tony_Hall

    When you put all of the reports together, it seems like the Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers are the 3 favorites for Tanaka. I do believe the Dodgers are still in, but he is really a luxury for them, where as the Cubs and Yankees need him. To me that leaves it between the Cubs and Yankees.

    Young versus Old.

    Building for the future with top ranked farm system versus ready to win today with no farm system.

    For a 25 year old pitcher, who is looking for the best situation for him to succeed, it will be interesting to see who he chooses and ultimately his reason for that team.

    One more week!

  • The Dude Abides

    Here’s hoping the Cubs are really in it and Tanaka’s agent isn’t playing the Cubs against the Dodgers & Yankees to raise the $$’s.

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

    This is just a PR stunt… LOLOLOLOLOL!

  • 07GreyDigger

    I like the font change Neal. Looks really crisp and professional.

  • cubtex

    Chris Coghlan on mlb this morning. I always liked this kid and brought up his name a couple of years ago on this site as a player worth going after. I expect him to make the team but now look at the outfield.

    Lake-The only one who should play everyday and it should be in CF
    Sweeney- career high 6 HR’s in 534 PA
    Coghlan- career high 9 HR’s in 565 PA
    Ruggiano- last year career high of 18 HR’s in 472 PA
    Schierholtz- 21 HR in 503 PA

    Will this be the first year in modern Cubs history where we don’t have a 20 plus HR hitter in the outfield? Can anyone think of the last time that has happened? From Soriano to Sosa to Kingman….I can’t ever think of a Cubs team with as little pop in the outfield.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Why would you think that? You have two guys who hit either close to or over 20 HRs.

      • cubtex

        Why would I think that? Look at every players career numbers.

    • daverj

      The 1981 post-Kingman Cubbies immediately come to mind. I haven’t looked it up but I would be surprised if they had a 20+ HR guy in ’81. And I’m guessing they didn’t have one in ’82 either. I can’t remember when Durham first eclipsed 20.

      I’m not saying that it’s acceptable … just addressing your point about the modern era outfield.

      I suppose the good news is that it only took a couple years for Dallas Green to turn the awful ’81 and ’82 teams into the play-off caliber ’84 team.

      • cubtex

        excellent guess DaverJ.
        1981
        A young Leon Durham
        Mel Hall
        An old Bobby Bonds
        Steve ” Can Do” Hendu Henderson

        nobody close to 20 HR’s from that outfield.

        • daverj

          Other than half a year of Reuschel, the pitching was even worse than than the outfield …

    • triple

      ’83, ’84, and ’85 there was no OF with 20+ homeruns. We even won a pennant and should have gone to a World Series in one of those years. Goes to show how different steroid era baseball is from non-steroid era.

      Interestingly enough, in 2009 Soriano only hit 20 HRs, so that Cubs team was very close to not making the cut. I don’t think GreyDigger is too far off the mark in saying that we can possibly have 2 20 HR hitters this year. Last year Scheirhotlz got over 100 more ABs than he’s ever had previously so he should be better prepared to be as close to a full-time player that he’ll ever be. But if their platoons work out well, this OF can probably total 65-70 HRs which is just as good as having 2 power corner OF’s and a light hitting CF, including the backup OF who get little playing time w/ 3 regulars.

      And I’d also like to point out that no player on the Yankees 2013 OF roster hit 20 HRs wearing a Yankee jersey. In fact they only had 1 20 HR hitter in Cano. And to take this one step further, not one OF on the 2013 World Series Champ Boston Red Sox had 20+ HRs. So I guess dominating power in the OF is not necessary to be a solid contender in the post-steroid baseball era. Kind makes Cubtex’s post moot.

      • John_CC

        Nice work Clark!

        • triple

          You know why I really like the name Clark? It just reminds of Clark Griswald!

      • cubtex

        Triple!!! How are you? I’m curious to ask you what makes my point moot? My post was when was the last time the Cubs didn’t have an outfielder hit 20 HR’s? I hope you read questions better when you went to school. Lol

        • triple

          Well what’s the relevance of your question to winning? Are you more concerned with selling tickets and a plentiful fanbase than a winning team?

  • CubbyDenCritic

    The question is not about when was the last time we did not have a 20 HR OF hitter…..
    The question really is…….anyone here on this blog was alive the last time the Cubs was in a World Series?

    • paulcatanese

      Yeah, even listened on the radio. Not a great accomplishment though, frustration then, in between and then now. Good to be a Cub fan,
      it becomes less annoying every year, as one learns there are other things in life.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    My First Cubs Game……..
    My dad took me and my siblings to my first Cubs back in 1968 during the summer…..it was not my first MLB game…….sad to say, it was a White Sox / Yankees game and I couldn’t even tell you the players in that game or what happen…I might have been three…..I think I was half asleep….it was just a blur in my life………….but the Cubs game was special…..first, it had Fergie Jenkins against Tom Seaver, and the Cubs did lose the game…my Dad knew a place to park the car ….Nun’s nearby had a home for unmarried pregnant girls which they rented out parking spots on their site……….they charged my dad a dollar for parking, made people walk through a building where pregnant girls looked at the fans asking for donations for their babies….I didn’t think much of what was going on then of how the Nuns had a good money racket going on…… going up those steps and seeing Wrigley Field grass was something….all my life I only saw baseball games in black & white on tv………green grass….green leaves on the walls…..blue pin strip uniforms……….it was a low scoring game, not much action, not many fans in the stands……we had box seats behind home plate……I don’t think my dad even paid more then $25 for the tickets for all of us…….I did have the score card, 10 cents, and the Cubs pencil, which was free…….I remember the stadium smelled like urine in the stadium hallways…..there was the Andy Fran ushers………no roof top watchers….maybe a guy hanging from a window across the street……. all the food and drink items were under a dollar……..no fancy food then, just hot dogs, malt ice cream, peanuts, soda………..I got an autograph from Jerry Grote and Ed Kranepool before the game…..we saw both teams take batting practice…..when I saw Randy Hundley walk by, I asked for his autograph, and told me to “piss off”………..what a grumpy Bastard Randy was…..or was he working on a hangover the night before?…………for a kid, it was hard to get autographs from Cubs players….visiting team players always signed, but not Cubs……Years later, I just remember my little sister had her teenage girlfriends who wore those tube tops on in the early 1980’s, jumping up and down for Jody Davis, Bill Caudill and other Cub players getting their attention and signing my baseball……I did have to buy hot dogs for my sister’s friends for their bouncing ……those slim, busty teenage girls having all those hot dogs showed up on their figures later…….back to my first Cubs game…..I did see Jack Brickhouse..Billy Williams, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo……..one point at the game, a foul ball came down near us…..a African American guy caught the ball with his hand….what came out of my little sister’s mouth next made my Dad & Brother pretend they did not know my little sister for the rest of the game as she was only interested with hopping up & down the stadium aisle steps………all I can say my Dad blamed my Mother for using a certain word around the house in front of us kids……I know for a fact it was my Grandfather (Dad’s father) who always used that word……I have to say more people cheered for Santo then for Banks…………after the game, my Dad took us to see the fire truck across the street at Wrigley and then we got a big pizza to take home………..I might have seen three or five more White Sox games before seeing another Cubs game…..but I was hooked on the Cubs.

    • SuzyS

      Cool story, Cubbie Den. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Slick from Marco

    Give Tanaka, 10 mil signing bonus and 25-30 mil for 5 years, that way he can get another contract and we aren’t stuck with another “Sori deal” That with a heated toilet seat should do the trick.

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