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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MLB rumors: Masahiro Tanaka to meet with Cubs and White Sox this week

By on 1/07/2014 07:00:00 PM

At least when Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka visits Chicago this week, he will know that the weather will get warmer during the season. The temperature in Chicago is currently in the single digits with wind chills well below zero, but the Tanaka rumors are getting warmer and warmer. Comcast Sports Net Chicago's Luke Stuckmeyer reports that Tanaka will meet with both Chicago teams this week in effort to find which Major League team best suits him and meets his salary demands.
Tanaka's Nippon team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, posted him for a $20-million fee, and Major League teams have until 5:00 p.m. EST on January 24 to bid on him.'s Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat answered a fan's question of why the Cubs would want to spend a lot of money on a huge contract -- plus the posting fee -- for someone who has not yet pitched in the Majors. She answered as follows:
"[H]e's Major League ready.... They could select a high school or college pitcher and then wait years for him to develop, not knowing for sure if he'll even get to the big leagues. In talking to scouts who saw Tanaka, they feel the right-hander is worth the investment."
On Christmas Eve, news came out that the Cubs would not allow other teams to outbid them for Tanaka, but that still would not mean that he would definitely sign with them. Other teams heavily rumored to want him include the Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Angels. These teams are currently much more competitive than either Chicago team, but the Cubs are in a building process while the White Sox are trying to improve right now.

In addition to the $20-million posting fee, the signing team will very likely have to shell out over $100 million over five or more years to land Tanaka. He is a sizzling hot ticket coming off his 24-0, 1.27 ERA and 0.943 WHIP, making him CBS's #2 free agent pitcher. Could he perform as well in the Majors? It is not likely, but he will still make for a very good starter for whoever signs him.

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