We’ve been on pins and needles ever since MLB and the Nippon Pro Baseball league ratified the new posting system; will the Rakuten Eagles post their prize pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka? Tonight, we got what seemed to be the answer:
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 10, 2013
So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, that reduces the avenues that teams with money can funnel said money. The money that would have gone towards the $20MM maximum bid plus Tanaka’s potentially obscene contract will now have to go towards other options, such as Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Ervin Santana. Teams without money would still try the trade route to get David Price or Jeff Samardzija, but now Price and Samardzija also become more palatable options for the big money clubs as well.
This may not really affect the Cubs much except for the trade interest in Samardzija given what Jed Hoyer said today:
GM Jed Hoyer not ruling out Cubs interest in Tanaka. Said teams resources are better kept in house
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 9, 2013
It seems that despite their initial hat-in-the-ring attitude, the Cubs elected not to go all out for Tanaka, either because of a lack of financial backing or because their scouts advised them not to invest. However, if the Cubs can get the renovation and revenue-generating plans going, they might have another shot next year when Rakuten may elect to post Tanaka for their last shot at $20MM. We’ll wait and see.
UPDATE 9:35 PM: MLBTR jumped on this (finally) so I’m not completely making it up. It seems the Rakuten Eagles executive will hang out in Orlando and clarify the Tanaka situation once and for all. This Bruce Levine piece suggests that the Cubs can find the money if they so choose, but I’m still of the mind that the Cubs probably won’t bid too heavily on Tanaka even after putting up the posting fee. Again, a delay of Tanaka’s posting may have benefits for the Cubs now and in the future depending on what other teams do, whether the Yankees can get under the luxury tax threshold this year or next, etc.