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A number of owners are “convinced” that the Cubs will sign Masahiro Tanaka

Jan 16, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this morning that the Cubs are “pushing hard” to sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have obviously received much of the attention so far, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides more evidence why we should start taking the Cubs seriously here:

It’s unclear what a “monster deal” means exactly, but one would have to assume that it would be well above $100 million. It could be worth it for a team like the Cubs, who are trying to find their way back to relevancy. While they are loaded with top position prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Alberto Almora, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara, they are a bit short on the pitching side. Signing Tanaka, while expensive, would be huge for the rebuilding effort.

Tanaka has until January 24 (next Friday) at 5:00 p.m. ET to sign with a team.

  1. cackalackyank - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Well, Tanaka is young, so I guess he might be willing to wait a few years (or five) to win.

  2. braddavery - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    People have to understand that there is an agent involved here and agents do what agents do. Anything you hear may be BS to get the team he wants to sign with to up their offer. I don’t see the Yankees not signing Tanaka. 2014 is the perfect storm for the Yankees to step up and get this kid, no matter how many non-Yankees fans disapprove.

    • happytwinsfan - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      i would heartily approve. i want him to sign some ‘monster’ deal with either the yankees or the dodgers so that 1/30th of 50% of his salary goes to my twins by way of the luxury tax. (100 mill * .5)/30 = 1666666.666666667. better then chopped liver.

      • larrymahnken - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        I hate to break it to you, but the luxury tax is not distributed to other teams. It goes to player benefits, international development and the Industry Growth Fund.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        and all that for a guy, however great he’s looked at the equivalent of AA – AAA, has yet to get his first out at the mlb level.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        @ happytwinsfan, you really don’t understand how the MLB Luxury Tax that a team pays is distributed, do you.

        Just a hint, UNLIKE revenue sharing which does get distributed equally among all 30 teams, the luxury tax money paid by a team does NOT. There are sites you can google to improve your understanding of how the tax is distributed and how it works.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:01 PM


        damn. didn’t know that. go cubs go. tell him he ain’t lived until he’s pitched in Wrigley.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:05 PM

        If the Cubs are going to blow teams away, I think the total figure would be something like $200-225mil for 10 years.

      • Old Gator - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        I disagree that signing Tanaka would be better than chopped liver. Obviously, you are accustomed to inferior preparations of chopped liver. Okay, here we go:

        Chopped Liver a la Sammy’s Famous Roumanian Steakhouse

        – Fry one entire thinly sliced onion in chicken fat until the rings are practically blackened and crispy. Separate the crackling onions from the leftover viscid schmaltz but do not throw the liquid away. You should have about two tablespoons of schmaltz left. Keep it warm.

        – Shred a a half cup of radish.

        – coarsely dice or chop another small to medium onion.

        – finely chop one small hard boiled egg.

        Add salt and pepper to taste to about two pounds of chopped liver. Mix together well with the crackled onions, radish, chopped egg and chopped raw onion. Then drizzle the remaining warm schmaltz over the liver and mix well.

        Scoop it up with a nice crusty slice of rye bread (seeds in) and fress out.

        Tanaka’s got nothing on chopped liver, properly prepared.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM


        radish? intriguing.

        which leads me to the thought, the cubbies offer tanaka first night out; sushi with barack, michelle, and opra.

      • km9000 - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:52 PM

        Or CM Punk.

      • Old Gator - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        The radish is critical. It adds a second tier crunch behind the crusty rye bread, which transforms the chopped liver experience.

        I think that if the Obamas and Jesse take him out, they’re going to Leon’s. Closest he’ll ever get to Kobe back ribs.

      • NatsLady - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        The egg is superfluous. No one puts an egg in chopped liver.

      • Old Gator - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        “Listen and learn.”
        – Kevin Spacey, Swimming with Sharks

    • braxtonrob - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:31 AM

      @braddavery, Us non-Yankee fans don’t “disapprove”, we just think you’re FOS and that it is NOT going to happen. Only Yankee-arrogance can talk about an unsigned player in such detail as though it’s a done deal. What bull$%^. You f’n wish! Tend to your infield problems, ’cause you ain’t gettin’ Tanaka (no matter how matter-of-fact you talk about it).

      • braddavery - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:37 AM

        I’m not a Yankees fan, fella. Calm the F down. You are completely ridiculous. lol

      • braxtonrob - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Relax @brad, (It’s all said calmly with a smile on my face.)

        “Ridiculous” is assuming the Yankees have Tanaka in the bag.

      • braddavery - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        lol Of course I was right.

  3. bigdaddy44 - Jan 16, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    When it comes to big money signings Theo Epstein has a perfect track record. J.D.Drew, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett’s last contract, John Lackey, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Roughly 650 million dollars almost totally wasted. Eventually, someone will have to break his streak. He hopes that Tanaka will do it.

    • mic08n64 - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      You forget Matt Clement, Julio Lugo, Edgar Rentaria, and Mike Lowells contract,lol Although Clement (shoulder) and Mike Lowell (hip) essentially suffered career ending injuries during those contracts

      • 18thstreet - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        Clement was hit in the face with a batted ball and was never the same afterwards.

        Theo Epstein won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox. It’s amazing how quickly that’s just become a thing that happened, as opposed to breaking a 86-year losing streak.

        I can’t believe I’m arguing with people who think the JD Drew deal was a bust.

      • braxtonrob - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:40 AM

        @mic08, You don’t think Mike Lowell’s contract was worth it?!?! That just makes me F’n SAD how little you understand the impact of great fielding on the game.

        The guy brought you a world championship within two years of arrival. Did you not enjoy your 2007 World Series title? I’ll bet if you asked Theo, he would tell you the $54 million was worth it!

    • RoyHobbs39 - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      I am not sure if you should include the J.D Drew deal in with the others…

      • 18thstreet - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        BUT HE DIDN’T HAVE MANY RBIs! And his hat was cleaner than Trot Nixon’s!

        Worst. Player. Ever.

    • dan1111 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Drew had a 114 OPS+ over 600 games for Boston. At worst, he was a valuable player who was slightly overpaid. The Gonzalez deal is also far from a clear bust. He will likely be a good player for years to come. The fact that he was traded away from Boston had nothing to do with Theo.

      Every other player you mention was derailed by injury. Some of the contracts were rather expensive, but no one could have predicted the outcome.

      Epstein was probably never quite as good as the reputation he had a few years ago. But it is amazing how quickly he has gone from overrated to underrated.

      • bigdaddy44 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        The original comment had to do with Epstein’s misses on big money free agents, not every aspect of his tenure here.Those listed were all 75 million dollar and up contracts, He got away from what made him successful. No one knows for sure what ownership might have forced upon him, but, nonetheless, the record is hung on Theo. Yes, Gonzalez will be a good player for years to come, but not in Boston. He became a major problem when the going got rough and much like Crawford, did not have the stomach to play here. That, coupled with his contract was bad for the Red Sox. Ben Cherington moving the contracts of Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford will go down as one of the greatest trades in basball history.

        As for J.D. Drew for 5 years at 75 million in 2007, the contract was a typical Boras fleecing. Great guy, steady player, good defender and one timely hit against Cleveland in 2007. As for contract vs. numbers the picture is not so good. Drew averaged 121 games played in his time with the Sox, not to mention the inordinate amount of times he left during games. This was always one of the knocks on Drew, he missed 1 out of every 4 games with the Sox. Over 5 years he averaged 16 HR, 57 RBI, .264 BA. with a respectable OBP in the .370’s. Serviceable player on the field, but contractually a bust, which was the original point.

        Let’s use Tanaka as an example. If he signs a 7 year contract somewhere and averages 13-14 wins a year, that could be considered a pretty decent stretch. On the other hand, if someone pays him 20 million plus for those seven years, that contract would be a bust. Theo, stick to doing what you do best. Build the farm system, and go back to the strategies that brought you success in Boston. The Cubbies will continue to sell tickets until this team is successful, without making big time signing mistakes.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        .370 is not merely a “respectable” OBP. Robinson Cano’s career on-base percentage is 15 points LOWER than that.

        Batting average is garbage.

      • bigdaddy44 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        Alright 18th street, you win, you’re a genius. You can have J.D.Drew’s last five years, and I get Robby Cano’s last five years. I bet you would take Bronson Arroyo for Clayton Kershaw too. Shmuck.

  4. tfilarski - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    as a cubs fan, i really do not want to sign him

    • NYTolstoy - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:16 AM

      Why as a Cubs fan would want the Cubs not to sign a guy who can help you team somewhat contend or atleast look competitive. I mean 100 years without a W’S I would think anything is a good thing by now?

  5. sabresfanallday - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    Yanks will get him

    • Old Gator - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      One way
      Or another
      I’m gonna getcha
      Gonna getchagetchagetchagetcha…..

      • dcarroll73 - Jan 16, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        OG, if you’re gonna start channeling from the ’80s, Blondie is fine, but please go with Pat Benatar. She could do “kick-ass” vocals (amazing range and power in those years) and Neil Giraldo (later her husband) played awesome guitar (interacting with and not overbalancing the vocals as sometimes happened in later years.) Her music was one of the best things about the ’80s (from my understandably fractured memories of that decade – believe me, what they always say about the ’70s applies to the ’80s – if you remember that time too clearly, you just weren’t part of that zeitgeist.)

      • moogro - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:04 AM

        Uh…, OK. Maybe:

        Yanks will make him Promises in the Dark?
        Yanks will be Invicible?
        Hell is for Tanaka?

        p.s. Neil Giraldo is awesome.

      • Old Gator - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        DC: saw Benatar several times. She put on a hell of a show. But I was going purely with the lyrics, with no sense of temporal provenance intended. If I were going to channel the 80s, I would prolly default to the political jokes, for which it was a period of unprecedented fertility (ie, Q: why did Argentina invade the Falklands? A: To impress Jodie Foster!” Or maybe Q: What has long blonde hair and big tits and lives in Switzerland? A: Salman Rushdie!”).

  6. jayquintana - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    To have three big money teams — Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers — engaged in a bidding war over you… #lifeisgood !

  7. byjiminy - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    I think the team that needs him most is the Mariners. They can afford him, too.

    It’s the difference between being bad and being intriguing. Cano’s contract being a total waste and Cano’s contract maybe helping them achieve something.

    Without Tanaka they are a car wreck. With Tanaka they are a juggling bear on a unicycle. They could still crash and collapse. But they might not — and you would want to watch to see what happens.

    • joenash72 - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:01 AM

      This would be a great way for Seattle to have at least, as you put it, “intriguing” team, and hopefully also more competive. Would be nice to be able and slot Tanaka into the top 3 of the rotation with King Felix and Iwakuma.

      Also works as far as taking advantage of Seattle’s proximity to Japan. And the team’s history with players from Japan. Many players besides just Ichiro.

  8. uyf1950 - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    We are entering the home stretch with the Tanaka ordeal, one week and counting. I find it truly amazing that not more tidbits of information have leaked out about which teams are doing/offering what, even on a rumor basis. There has been the little piece here and there about teams like the Cubs or Diamondbacks but even those have been broad stroke rumors like “Cubs pushing hard” etc… Very, very surprising that we haven’t gotten more info.

    • skids003 - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      That’s because everyone seems more concerned with ARod and JayZ.

  9. kastout11 - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    As a Cubs fan, I really want the Cubs to sign him. The team has not been relevant for several years now, and although they are still a few years away from competing, this would be the first big step. I still think he will end up signing with the Yankees though.

    • Old Gator - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      I beg to disagree. With each record shattering season that the Cubs go unmated to a championship, their relevancy actually increases.

  10. ctony1216 - Jan 17, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    So, exactly how many owners were convinced the Cubs would sign Tanaka? Two, three, twenty? Even a few would be “amazing,” I guess.

  11. phillysports1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Cubs = money and beer
    Tanaka & Prospects = WS CHAMPS 2018

  12. sickcub - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Ten years too early-they will get him after is second Tommy John surgery in 2024

  13. tonyz6060chevy - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    Yeah, It’ll be like when the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to a monster contract and they went on a roll and won something like 5 world series in a row ,and not only that, Chicago is a nice west coast city and should make his wife very happy !

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