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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cubs rumors: MLB source says Cubs will bid highest for Masahiro Tanaka

By on 12/25/2013 09:51:00 AM

Now that the Masahiro Tanaka roller coaster has once again shifted to Rakuten's posting of him, the bidding wars have resumed. Chicago Cubs fans are hoping that their team will land the Japanese sensation who went 24-0 for the Golden Eagles in 2013. As it stands now, the Cubs are in position to win the bidding war, says CSN Chicago's David Kaplan, who cites an MLB source from Christmas Eve.
Kaplan is the host of the Cubs' pre- and post-game shows when the Cubs air on CSN Chicago, and he also hosts "Sports Talk Chicago" on WGN Radio.

The on-again/off-again posting of Tanaka has sparked many rumors involving the right hander. Reports also have the Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners, and Rangers as high bidders. However, with Seattle giving $240 million to Robinson Cano and Texas signing Shin-Soo Choo for $130 million, both figure to have dropped out of the Tanaka sweepstakes, leaving the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers -- all of whom can and would pay big bucks to sign him.

Signing Tanaka is not as simple as it may appear on the surface. Offering a contract is actually one of the last steps. Kaplan very briefly describes the process in his Christmas Eve announcement of Tanaka's latest posting rumor. Kaplan writes,
"Once (and if) Tanaka is officially posted, all MLB teams will be allowed to front the $20 million posting fee. The teams that do so will then bid on Tanaka. Most teams in the league have expressed interest in at least entering the bidding war."
Cub fans should hope that team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer do indeed outbid the other contenders. While MLB still has some viable starting pitchers available via free agency, Tanaka is now the highest-rated one in CBS's ranking and #2 overall behind only James Shields. Few come along with his credentials. He is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.108 WHIP in seven seasons with Rakuten. He has made at least 20 starts every year. Joining Jeff Samardzija in the Cubs' rotation (assuming no trade) would allow Tanaka -- as ESPN Chicago puts it -- to fit in "like a glove."

Kaplan's source, though, says that even the highest bid would not guarantee that Tanaka would choose the Cubs. Drawing him away from Los Angeles and New York would prove difficult because of their recent successes while the Cubs are still in rebuilding mode.
One thing is certain: while the final decision ultimately belongs to Tanaka, Epstein and Hoyer need to do all they can to get him and prove to their fans that they mean it when they say that they want a winner very soon. Cub fans have wanted a winner for a very long time.

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  1. I don't think it's up to Theo and Jed..... of course they will be "all in" on Tanaka. The real question is, will Ricketts open up his wallet and allow the Cubs to be competitive throughout the bidding process?

  2. Jonny, you have a great point. Sometimes we can forget about the owners and concentrate on the GM''s, forgetting that they have instructions from the owners. I take your point very well. Thank you for the comment. It helps add to the conversation.

  3. The rooftop owners just may cost the Cubs a shot at this Ace. Even though city officials approved the renovations to historic Wrigley Field, which would bring the owners the revenue they need to compete via advertising on a big digital scoreboard, the rooftop owners have filed lawsuites preventing Rickets to move forward with renovations because it blocks their views from accross the friggin' street. Cubs are doomed.