1/9 Tanaka tour

Let the recruiting begin. According to reports, Masahiro Tanaka has arrived in the U.S. to begin a tour of Major League clubs. David Waldstein of the New York Times reported Tanaka had planned on flying to Chicago but the bad weather forced him to change his plans and he was in Los Angeles. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports Tanaka could meet with a dozen teams by Friday, including the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and Diamondbacks. The meetings began Wednesday in L.A.

12 Comments

What about the Mariners?

That could be his final destination.

Did MLB.com delete the Mariners site due to lack of interest?

It does say a dozen teams,maybe just did not include them,surprising though.

Los Angeles always have better winter seasons then Chicago……

a matter fact….Los Angeles has better baseball teams than Chicago has.

But we ship pizza there daily. Do enjoy,it is a bit of a acquired taste,but do enjoy. Chicago does have a recent W.S. title,just the wrong side. Hope fully that can change. Cubs Nation!

Since it is highly unlikely that Tanaka will be a Cub I hope he will be a Mariner. Seattle would be a very fitting city for him – strong Japanese presence which would help him transition to the States. I am wondering how soon we will know.

The deadline for him to sign or return to Japan is two weeks from today, so we’ll know in the next two weeks. And while I don’t expect the Cubs to sign Tanaka, I wouldn’t call it “highly unlikely” that he will be a Cub. Obviously, the Yankees, Dodgers, and Mariners are probably the front runners. While they are the front runners, there are plenty of reasons why the Cubs could out bid any of them.
The Yankees have already spent a ton this offseason and would go over the luxury tax threshold even if A-Rod is suspended for the season.
The Dodgers haven’t been very active, but they already have a large payroll and will need to set something aside if they want to extend both Kershaw (maybe the first $200 million pitcher) and Hanley Ramirez (a healthy and productive 2014 could turn into a Cano-esque payday for Hanley) within the next year.
The Mariners don’t have super deep pockets and are already locked into a lot of money with Cano and Felix Hernandez. Plus with Tanaka they’ll have great starting pitching, but a questionable bullpen and no offense after Cano. With Taijuan Walker coming up, they should be okay in pitching even without Tanaka, so maybe their focus should be on finding a bat or two to protect Cano in the lineup.
I’d put the Cubs ahead of any of the other teams linked to Tanaka. The D-Backs and White Sox pursuit of Tanaka is cute and makes their fans think they’re trying, but the Cubs can outbid them and paint a picture of sustained success over the course of Tanaka’s contract. Really, the only limitation the Cubs have is the amount they would be comfortable spending. If the Cubs wanted to offer him $150 million and blow away any other team’s offer, they could probably do that. Of course, the question is, would they be comfortable doing that?
I’d still put my money on one of the front runners, but there’s plenty of reason stated above why it will be the field instead, with the Cubs potentially the top team to swoop in and make a play on him. Either way, it should be an interesting two weeks! Stay tuned…

The decision has to be made by January 24. There is a thirty day limit after posting. This is per Hot Stove on MLB.

Does Tanaka have any say in the matter or does he go where his managers tell him to go?

Under the new posting system, he can negotiate with the team that bid the highest for him. If there’s a tie for highest bid, then he can negotiate with any team who tied for highest bid. There is now a limit of $20 million on the posting bids (to be paid over two years), and only the team that signs the player has to pay the bid, so there’s really no reason why any team doesn’t say we’ll bid $20 million and at least then have the opportunity to talk with him. I haven’t heard anything about any bids officially being made yet, but I’m guessing it’s already happened and all the teams you are hearing about have made a max bid on him. So in this case, he’s pretty much like any regular free agent and can go wherever he wants to go. Like all free agents, I’m sure his agent might have a say in it, but ultimately it’s up to Tanaka, and there will no doubt be several factors that go into his decision, with the dollar amount and the team itself only being part of the factors that will go into the decision.
Now it will be interesting to see what happens when a player who is not the best pitcher or hitter in Japan gets posted. Will teams all say “screw it, $20 million bid, now let’s talk,” or will it be like the old way where teams try to figure out what others will be willing to bid and see if they are willing to go over that amount. With Tanaka it was “screw it” but with someone else it might be more limited.

Having been associated with baseball for years with college ball and mlb affiliations along with being part Japanese, having lived in Japan as well as to be with a ball club there, and a life long Cubs fan, I would not get too excited about Tanaka coming to Chicago. Sure I would love for him to come but I know from first hand experience the expectations and desires of future ball players coming from there, and sad to say, usually they want to be a part of a contender. The way it is set up now, even though the “entrance fee,” has been capped, the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) and its players are in the driver’s seat. They can dictate, at least at the beginning of a player’s MLB career where they go. If they had to enter the draft like everyone else it would be a different story. Also, for the NPB and the people, the pride that comes with one of theirs playing not only in the MLB but for a contender is immense and Major League Baseball knows this too. Lastly, growing up in America with the opportunity to live and exercise certain traditions, as I said earlier I lived in Japan, Tanaka and his agent will meet with every team if they have to, not because they must. But rather, it is “saving face for them,” and for every team that will not get Tanaka. But at least they all had a chance at a “sit-down,” with him. Some will say my folks are overly polite, there is some truth to that as well as years of tradition. Again, I would love for him to choose our Cubbies but would not be surprised at all if he ends up on the West Coast (yes having ramen and good ramen is important and in the states the best is either in Hawaii or up and down the West Coast) and a contender like the Dodgers and/or the recent moves by the Mariners with “Ichiro’s” history there is a big plus. New York will always be in play because of the love and admiration Nihonjin have for the pinstripes as well as Texas because of Darvish. Tanaka-san ganbatene!

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