It has been a very interesting couple of weeks. In between Jeff Passan’s epic take-down of Cubs financial strategy (or lack thereof), the new mascot, and the deadline to sign players tomorrow before going to arbitration (just a formality, they can still settle before heading into the hearing), we have some news of Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka:
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…
As Brett at Bleacher Nation reported earlier, the Cubs went to Los Angeles last week to meet with Tanaka and his representatives. Even new manager Rick Renteria went along for the spiel, and it sounds like the sales pitch focuses around the up-and-coming talent that’s in the Cubs’ minor league system right now. If the rumors are true, this suggests that the Cubs really won’t be overbid (although again, Tanaka can choose to go to the Dodgers or Yankees, teams that are more likely to contend sooner rather than later). This further suggests that the Cubs aren’t completely broke as some may have thought, that they really will spend on the right kind of talent for the plan, and that there might be other complementary deals and transactions in place to supplement a Cubs team with Tanaka should they win the bidding.
How big is this “monster deal” Jayson Stark is hinting at? That’s anyone’s guess right now, though as late as Tuesday we saw that bidding could exceed $140MM. As we’ve said many times, given the perfect storm of age, skillset, and the fact that he’ll only cost money and no draft picks or prospects, it makes sense to take a strategic risk on someone like Tanaka here.
Now we just wait a week. In the meantime, let’s see if the Cubs sign Jeff Samardzija to an extension before tomorrow’s Cubs Convention (yeah, right).