According to multiple reports including one from Bruce Levine, the Cubs submitted a formal offer to Masahiro Tanaka. Bruce Levine added his sources are indicating the Cubs are “the lead team” for Tanaka as of Saturday.
The Japanese media is reporting Tanaka received at least five offers worth more than $100 million. The Cubs, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and White Sox are believed to be the five teams and the Angels are no longer in the running for Tanaka. Another report from Japan indicated the Diamondbacks offer is for six years and $120 million, plus the posting fee.
Theo Epstein stated during the Meet Cubs Baseball Management session on Saturday morning the Cubs are not done adding players to the roster this off-season. The Cubs are “always looking to add impact players at the right age.” The Cubs held back spending some of their budget this winter in case an opportunity presents itself to add impact talent. The front office will likely be able to rollover the earmarked payroll to next off-season if they are unable to use it this year.
The Cubs could not comment publicly on the ongoing negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka during the convention. Five members of the Cubs’ brass (Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush and Rick Renteria are four of the five) met with Tanaka in Los Angeles and spelled out their vision for the Cubs and how he would fit in.
It was revealed during Saturday’s ‘Scouting and Player Development’ session at the convention, the Cubs have scouted Masahiro Tanaka extensively. Joe Bohringer first saw Tanaka in 2008 when Tanaka was just 19 years old and Bohringer worked for the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have “a book” on Tanaka.
There are a lot of teams interested in Tanaka. Theo Epstein said they have to wait to see how the process plays out and how it pans out for the Cubs. According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are still a longshot to land Tanaka.
David Kaplan reported late Saturday night he spoke with a pair of scouts about the possibility of the Cubs signing Masahiro Tanaka. An AL scout told Kaplan “he believes the Cubs offer is very strong but still believes the state of the team will make it tough to land Tanaka.” Kaplan indicated Tanaka should make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday so the team that agrees to terms with Tanaka has a chance to have their doctors perform a physical before finalizing the contract. The other scout Kaplan spoke with, one from the National League, “believes Tanaka is worth the risk and the Cubs are willing to spend huge” money to land him. But not being a contender “is a huge impediment.”
The deadline to sign Masahiro Tanaka is Friday, Jan 24 at 4:00pm CST.
For more on Masahiro Tanaka from the convention: