As you may know, we at WSD are very interested to see whether the Cubs make good on the rumor that they are prioritizing the signing of Japanese super-pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Dabynsky had previously written about the pitching possibilities for next season as well, and Tanaka would be a strong infusion into what could be a passable rotation.
Unfortunately, the problem with having a super-pitcher like Tanaka is that everyone wants him, not just Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Tom Ricketts might have to think about blowing his wad a bit because the New York Yankees are in the mix, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (via MLB Trade Rumors):
The Yankess “are going to be bold” in bidding for Tanaka, Passan continues. Previously, Passan has spoken with executives who believe that Tanaka’s posting fee could top $75MM, although we still don’t quite know how the posting system will work going forward. Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have been working on alterations to the posting process for quite some time, and George A. King III of the New York Post reported earlier today that a resolution could still be several weeks away. Under the previous system, Tanaka could have been posted on Nov. 1.
Passan writes that Yankees officials aren’t concerned about previous failures of Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa on the big stage in New York, adding that they liken Tanaka’s makeup and personality to that of Hideki Matsui.
Reading the article further, it makes sense for the Yankees since they are looking to stay under the $189MM luxury tax threshold and Tanaka’s posting fee won’t count against the payroll total. And since the Yankees have a metric fuckton of money, they will be extremely difficult to outcompete.
With teams locking up their young talent and less impact free agents sneaking onto the open market, that accounts for the stupid high potential posting fee and other similarly stupid demands that have leaked out thus far. One hope is that if the Cubs can’t outcompete the posting fee, they can at least try to get into the top echelon of bidders (assuming NPB and MLB work out the new posting system as suggested). This way, the Cubs can at least get to negotiate a salary that could blow the Yankees’ offer away despite losing out on the posting, given the Yankees’ desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold. This may not matter if Tanaka and his agents decide that the Cubs aren’t a good destination anyway. But there’s always a slim hope.