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Levine: The Cubs will “outbid the field” on Tanaka

Jan 20, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT

Eventually Masahiro Tanaka will sign someplace, and when he does, we won’t have constant, often contradictory reports about who is in the lead and who will outbid who in what is, essentially, a totally opaque process. Until then:


This Thursday, January 24, is the deadline for him to sign. Expect more of this back and forth until then.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    The headline of this piece is interesting especially when you consider this headline:

    MLB rumors: ‘Yankees will not be outbid’ for Masahiro Tanaka

    PUBLISHED 3 hours and 24 minutes ago LAST UPDATED 1 hour and 15 minutes ago
    Justin McGuire Sporting News

    One National League executive pursuing Masahiro Tanaka believes the New York Yankees will bid more money than other team in their quest to land the Japanese pitching star, The New York Times reports.

    “There is a feeling in some circles that the Yankees will not be outbid,” according the newspaper.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      BTW, It’s important to keep in mind Tanaka does NOT have to sign with the highest bidder. He can sign with the team he prefers to play with, especially if the bids are relatively close.

      • ienjoysensi - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        Thanks for reminding everyone that a free agent gets to choose where he wants to play baseball. I completely forgot he could make his own decisions in life until you told us that.

      • byjiminy - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Actually that is a good point — under the old posting system, which existed up to a few months ago, that was not the case. This is the first time a posted player has a choice of teams.

      • byjiminy - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        He’s still not a free agent though. His options are restricted to teams that offer the highest posting fees to his former team. He can’t go sign wherever he wants.

      • scatterbrian - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        @ienjoysensi – that is a legitimate point. Generally players are strongly encouraged by the player’s association to accept the highest offer. The differences here are a) Tanaka is not a current member of the MLBPA, and b) the offers so far have not been made public and likely won’t be.

      • dondada10 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        Question about the posting system: Do the bidding teams have the chance to up their offer? I keep hearing about team’s “not being outbid” but is it because they are learning about opposing bids?

      • scatterbrian - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        @byjiminy – for all intents and purposes, he is a free agent. As for the posting fee, the maximum is $20M, so every team can bid on him, and he can therefore choose any team. The only limitation is the number of teams that can both meet and afford his demand.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        @ don…, yes teams can increase their offer as often and by as much as they want until Tanaka and Close say it’s done.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        @ lenjoysensi, have you always been an /\ss or do you just act like one when you comment on the internet blogs. BTW, that’s a rhetorical statement not meant for you to reply to.

      • purpleronin - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:33 PM

        Actually, if I remember correctly, teams submit sealed bids so I don’t think they can change their offer once it’s been made. I could be wrong though.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        @ purpleronin, I believe that was under the old process. Where each team submitted a bit to the team that had the rights to the player. The Japanese team selected the highest bid and the player then negotiated with that one team.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        correction: “bid”

      • purpleronin - Jan 21, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        @uyf1950 Ah yes good point, the ‘sealed bid’ was under the old system where the Japanese team was a defacto middle-man in the negotiation process. I suppose there’s nothing now to stop the player from going back to the team and asking them to sweeten their offer..

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      My sources say that The Marlins will not be outbid on Tanaka. I was told that they are too cheap to bid on him.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        You are correct. It seems that about 19 other teams will not be outbid in similar fashion. To me that signifies those teams are not really trying real hard.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:59 PM

        Please!! A bluejays fan is gonna accuse another team of being cheap? WOW!!! I didn’t see your team exactly go on a spending spree his offseason, so far you got a lousy no hit catcher

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:31 AM

        I noticed that the Yankees dumped their second baseman because he got too expensive. The Yankees may have signed an overpriced catcher, but they have black holes at third, short and second base.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 21, 2014 at 8:34 AM

        Yanks didn’t sign that 2nd baseman cause he wanted 10 years which would have taken him well into his 40’s. McCann was well worth the price they paid there, no doubt fair market price something you would not know a thing about and they aint done with the roster yet unlike the bluejays who think its ok to sign a lousy catcher and be done with a team that finished dead last and almost 30 games out of first place. Enjoy another summer of misery! hahahhahaa

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        The Yankees have become cheapskates.

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Craig, by the way the deadline is this Friday the 24th NOT Thursday the 24th.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      Thursday is the 23rd. Not sure why you’re getting thumbs down.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        It’s the only way some people on here know how to live.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:28 AM

        He’s a Yankee fan. It’s a reflex.

        I kid, I kid. (I like UYF.)

  3. jeffbbf - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    In theory – the right move. The Cubs will be terrible again in 2014, but Tanaka will bring fans to the park and to the apparel stores. No pressure on Tanaka to perform in 2014. When the Cubs are ready to compete in 2-3 years, Tanaka will be at the top of his game and will be leading the staff.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      You accidentally put a dash between the 2 and 3.

      • rje49 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Good one. I love it! Sorry, Cub fans….

      • twenty1miles - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        Ahaha. Nice.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        how extraordinarily clever of you.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        I’ll never understand how someone who claims to be a Red Sox fan could mock Cubs fans in this way.

        You’re a jerk.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 21, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        Im a cubs fan and that was one of the funniest comments in this blogs history. cheers

      • stex52 - Jan 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        Good one, tbuck.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        18thstreet, I mock every team. Including the Red Sox.

        BECAUSE I’m a jerk.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      My friend there will be pressure on him to perform from day 1 no matter where he signs.

      • jeffbbf - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Different pressure. Lots of media attention – but not like Nomo. Everyone hailing him as the savior. But not so much the pressure to win his first year. He goes 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA for the Cubs, and everyone will be talking about his potential. He goes 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA for the Yanks, and he will be torched for being a bust.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        True. And I think that a real competitor like Tanaka wants to be….competitive. Something that will not be at best for 2 or more years with the Cubs. Even if all their best prospects pan out and they make a few other key signings, the Cubs are not a this year or next year kind of thing. Also for at least that long the Cards, Reds, and Pirates will not be going away either.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        @ jeffbbf, he goes 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA with the Cubs and my guess is they will want Epstein’s nailed to a cross. But that’s just my opinion.

  4. yournuts - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    It would be a waste of money and time for Tanaka to join the Cubs. They will still be the Cubbies with or without Tanaka!

  5. tfbuckfutter - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Big caveat Cubs fans….

    The amount Theo covets a free agent is inversely proportionate to that player’s eventual contributions to the team.

    You have been forewarned.

    • rje49 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Be fair now. It’s hit & miss. Some do fine, or even great. But then some don’t.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Pay attention to what I said.

        The players he covets in free agency are inversely proportionate….the guys he wanted a TON, like Renteria, Lugo, Drew, Dice-K, Crawford all turned out to be worth considerably less than he signed them for…..the guys who were under the radar value pickups were hit and miss.

    • tonyz6060chevy - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      Yeah, he could very well be another Dice K!

    • 18thstreet - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:31 AM

      There’s no reason to believe it was Theo who wanted Crawford.

  6. lanflfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I would think the only way the Cubs could sign Tanaka is to outbid the field and hope he chases the $$$, because they can’t offer the other options (better team outlook for 2014 and beyond, location, additional city value, family appeal) that Los Angeles and New York can offer. This is not a slight on Chicago, just a nod to what the other cities bring to the table that Chicago can’t for a variety of factors.

    • jeffbbf - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      There is no doubt about that. See Robby Cano

    • Uncle Charlie - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Family appeal in LA? I’m still laughing.

      • dylanthom2013 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        Well, in Compton and Chesterfield Square they have to peel families from the floors of the houses they’ve been shot in.

      • lanflfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:06 PM

        Family appeal was meant to include quality of living, outside opportunities for other family members, family attractions and crime factors. Only biased or ignorant people fail to realize that, within a short drive of downtown Los Angeles, are Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, ski resorts in San Bernardino and Wrightwood, lots of historical monuments and locations, museums of all types, many beaches and marinas and miles of hiking trails to name just a few of the many family activities and attractions in the Los Angeles area. The entertainment industry is huge (i.e. Hollywood), which could be a draw for Mrs. Tanaka (i.e. family appeal).

        Regarding the murder rate implied by dylanthorn, I would like to remind you that Chicago, New York and Detroit all had more total murders than Los Angeles; additionally, Chicago and Detroit plus Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis and Philadelphia all had a higher murder rate per 100,000 people than Los Angeles (New York was lower) (source:FBI census).

  7. cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    Craig, I have a question about the 1/24 deadline. Does Tanaka have to pick a team by
    then, or does the deal, physical included have to be done by then? If the physical and entire deal have to done by the 24th, shouldn’t we know tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest who got him?

    • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      My friend, I’m not Craig but I can answer that question. Tanaka has to have passed his physical and everything.signed on the dotted line etc… by Friday Jan. 24 5:00pm ET.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        Thanks UYF. Then I think we will know by noon ET Wednesday where he has landed.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        @ cackalackyank, we may even find out sooner then that. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear something later tonight or sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) at the latest.

        I’m feeling more and more if the bidding gets more stupid then it already seems to have gotten that I would rather the Yankees sign 2 of the other FA pitchers. They would probably cost no more dollars in total on an AAV then it would take to get Tanaka and I’m sure fewer years. Don’t get me wrong IF the Yankees do sign him I will be out there cheering him on, I’m just not sure that he’s worth 7 or 8 years and $20MM plus per having not pitched a single inning of professional MLB against MLB teams.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        I think we are basically in agreement here uyf. It’s not like I think Tanaka is the next Irabu, and I could be wrong, but so far (long term look at Darvish not yet being available) I cannot think of any NPB pitcher having had seven effective seasons in MLB. But rather than get into a 7/140 or more deal for Tanaka, go for Jiminez and Garza on 5/75 type deals instead. The only real problem I see is the ripple effect that the Tanaka and Kershaw deals will have on the price for the remaining FA starters will probably push them above the 5/75 range.

  8. elvin2014 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Seattle Mariners could sign Masahiro Tanaka this week….

    • cackalackyank - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      So could the Mets,but….no, no they won’t.

  9. mentalotherhalf - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Had the quote come from RANDY Levine, we’d have something interesting here…

  10. nymets4ever - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Tanaka to Yankees, Jimenez to Seattle, Garza to Anaheim, Santana to Toronto. Cubs will end up getting some low-cost guys like Capuano and Hammel to fill out the rotation and eat innings.

  11. raysfan1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    I have it from a very reliable source (the voices inside my head) the Tanaka will eschew the big dollars and sign with the Rays. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  12. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    i just read where AA said nobody will underbid the bluejays for “any” free agents this winter and you can take that to the bank!

    • uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      I have to ask why all the animosity towards the Blue Jays?

      • dylanthom2013 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        DirtyHarry once tried to get into the Jays dressing room after a game when they were showering and got booted. Every team in MLB doesn’t allow women in the dressing room though so not sure why Harry’s singling out the Jays.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        I hate Canada that’s why, baseball is America’s game and Canada has no business playing it. Let them play hockey the way god intended it to be and stay the hell away from American’s pastime!

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        if I ran for president of the US I would run on the promise that we begin bombing Canada tomorrow, why? because I can, im the president!

    • dylanthom2013 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      When you’re done jerking off, your mom wants her eyebrow tweezers back.

    • canadiansportsfan77 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      That wasn’t even clever Harry, a 12 yr old troll wouldn’t even have pushed enter after reading that. Your slipping

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        I was asked a honest question and I gave an honest answer, whats wrong with that?

      • canadiansportsfan77 - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        The original comment wasn’t clever, your childish responses to the question just show how young you really are

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 21, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        once again I wasn’t trying to be clever, I was asked an honest question and I gave a honest response. Don’t like it? Too bad! Go watch some hockey you hoser

  13. jerrahsucks - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Why would any decent ballplayer sign with the Cubs?

  14. jerrahsucks - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    elvin2014 – Jan 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM
    Seattle Mariners could sign Masahiro Tanaka this week

    HaHa,Ha,Ha, just shut up and enjoy your 25 million man, who will hit .250 with 19 homeruns and not run out a damn thing in Seatle. One fluke signing does not make you a big league ballclub.

    • stevequinn - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:23 AM

      You cant possibly bereferring to Robinson Cano. If you are, you just lost any credibility you had.

  15. jjohnb5393 - Jan 21, 2014 at 12:43 AM

    9 yrs $300 million won’t be ‘outbid ‘ I’d say….

  16. uyf1950 - Jan 21, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    Rumor has it that the Diamondbacks have offered Tanaka 6 years / $115MM = $19.17MM per AAV. I doubt that would be enough to get the deal done for the Diamondbacks. I would think they have to outbid the other teams (Yankees and Dodgers) by a tidy sum to have Tanaka pick them. But you never know.

  17. stevequinn - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    With apologies to Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandburg, and Ron Santo, the best way to ruin a promising baseball career is to play for the Chicago Cubs. It seems endemic to the Cubs that once a ball player plays a season with them, their career is never the same again.

    If Tanaka is smart, he’ll stay the heck away from the Chicago Cubs.


    A Cardinal Fan

    • stevequinn - Jan 21, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      P.S. Remember Daisuke Matsuzaka

  18. 461deep - Jan 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Latest reports indicate less teams in on Tanaka so maybe only 1 or 2 outrageous bids. We’ll never know though which is kind of frustrating as it is a large part of the story we’ve been following. Why bids need to be kept secret after Tanaka signs and begins spring activities escapes me unless we’re afraid of an international incident. Yankees get him unless way way outbid by Cubs. Dodgers have 3 really good starters so perhaps backing away some.

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