1/16 Renteria prepping for Tanaka

Rick Renteria is preparing himself in case Masahiro Tanaka picks the Cubs and said he ordered the Japanese version of the Rosetta Stone language learning tapes. The Cubs manager said Thursday he was part of the team’s contingent that met recently with Tanaka in California, joining Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

“We’ve had conversations with Tanaka,” Renteria said. “I’m not sure exactly where we’re at in that process. I think Jed and Theo, if something were to happen with [Tanaka], I’m sure they’ll let me know. Right now, I’m looking at the players we have and how we’re going to move forward with them.”

The Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams believed to be involved with Tanaka, who has until Jan. 24 to make a decision on which Major League team he will pick.

Renteria called the Cubs’ meeting with Tanaka “very good conversations,” and added they had an interpreter.

“I actually ordered Rosetta Stone, the Japanese version,” Renteria said.

The Cubs do have pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa on the roster. Is Renteria that confident the team will sign Tanaka that he’s going to learn to speak Japanese?

“I’m going to be prepared if it does [happen],” Renteria said. “I’m going to try to learn a little Japanese and if it happens, good for us, and if not, there are a lot of Japanese players who are quality players who could come through the organization at some point in time and I hope I’m able to at least say ‘Hello,’ ‘Good night,’ and ‘Can I do anything for you?’”

The Cubs are coming off a 96-loss season and it appears the front office is targeting the 2015 season and beyond, not 2014. The Minor League system is loaded with highly touted talent such as Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and C.J. Edwards. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who posted the right-hander for a $20 million fee. The bidding for Tanaka will end at 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 24.

“The points to [Tanaka] were that we’re a club on the upside,” Renteria said. “We’re a club that has a lot of talent besides the guys who we have here presently, and that the organization has quality players coming up who will significantly impact the organization.”

– Carrie Muskat

10 Comments

I wouldn’t spend to much time trying to learn Japanese skipper, I’m pretty sure Mr. Tanaka will be on the west coast, hanging with the beautiful people, eating sushi and listening to Magic Johnson tell him what a great life it is living in Hollywood. Such is life.

We also have Fujikawa on the team. It is nice that Renteria is willing to learn some of another language for a player. Also helps a lot that he speaks Spanish for our DR guys. The sky has been full of Cubs today flying in to Chicago from all directions!! Let the fun begin. I know that Carrie will keep us up to date and I hope she can show us a lot of pictures!

Just heard from Barney and my granddaughter Lindsay that it is SNOWING in Chicago! Good thing the planes got in before flights are cancelled!

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!

Since you’re posting the same exact message in different stories, I’ll add my same exact reply too:
I know you posted the same thing a few days ago and thank you for your insight both times. However, I find it hard to believe that a person in any culture that stands to make over a $100 million will base their decision on where you can get the best ramen. Yu Darvish for example. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see Texas as being a hotbed for Japanese cuisine and culture. Same goes for Norichika Aoki and Milwaukee. Unless I missed that episode of Laverne & Shirley where they go to Milwaukee’s Little Tokyo District.
Likewise, I don’t see the Cubs wasting their time going through the motions if it’s known that Tanaka is only meeting with them to save face. Theo Epstein has dealt with Japanese players before, in Boston with Dice-K and Okajima and in Chicago with Fujikawa. I’m guessing he knows what he’s doing and knows if Tanaka would seriously consider the Cubs if the price is right. As for wanting to go to a contender, the Cubs know they are still 2-3 years away without Tanaka and even with him probably not until 2015 at the earliest. So it will be up to them to convince Tanaka that they expect to be a competitor starting in 2015 and expect their window to be open for the duration of his contract. On the other hand, the Dodgers and Yankees are full of big bad contracts and aging players. While both might be in it in 2014, there’s no telling where those teams will be in 2015 and beyond. All they have to do is point to the Phillies, who were the toast of the NL in the late 2000s, but are now stuck with guys like Ryan Howard who are past their prime but still being paid prime bucks.
Do I expect the Cubs to sign Tanaka? No. Am I excited over the prospect of Tanaka somehow pitching for the Cubs? No more than I would be over any other free agent. If I had to put money on it, I’d put money on the Yankees or Dodgers against the field, but I’m not assuming it’s a slam dunk that he will wind up there. The Cubs are going to try their best to convince Tanaka of everything I mentioned above and give him over 100 million reasons why he should pick them over New York or LA. And if Tanaka doesn’t realize that you can buy all the good ramen you could ever want want 100 million no matter where you live, then I won’t feel sorry for him when he’s pitching on a Dodgers or Yankees team that resembles the 2013 Phillies in a year or two.

Didn’t we read this identical message more than a week ago or is my dementia more advanced than we knew? You make (made?) some good points, especially the one about it being unlikely Tanaka would sign with a team which is not an immediate contender. I made that point in a post prior to yours.

Hi jhosk – No dementia for you! Just keep doing those crossword puzzles, you’ll be fine! :)) I sure hope Tanaka will find his permanent location soon so that we can put all our suppositions to rest!

Hello White, I know you have doubts about Tanaka succeeding at the major league level and you very well may be prescient. Is hard to predict these things. I am confident he will be highly remunerated by some team, and probably overpaid the way Kershaw was earlier this week.

Konnichi-wa jhosk-
no dementia, please see below which I just put up on another thread:

Konnichi-wa jhosk-
no dementia, please see below which I just put up on another thread:
Konnichi-wa Doug-
I was being a little sarcastic with the ramen, though I know how much it means to my relatives and those I know in baseball from Nihon, Japan. I should have left that out. Yes, Dallas may not be a hotbed for Japanese cuisine but it was more of a contender and their organization is in a different place then where the Cubs are today. Also, Darvish-sama is considered a little of a “rebel,” when it comes to Japanese and was very open about looking somewhere else besides the two “Coasts”. Tanaka comes from a more traditional background but could surprise folks where he goes. My main reason for posting multiple times is that we as Cub fans should not get too excited about Tanaka. I feel maybe for “ratings-news-etc” this is really being hyped up and I know folks both on the Japan side as well as state side as well as growing up in the culture that we had better not get our expectations set too high here, unless the Cubs go and do something crazy and frankly spend money foolishly. Of course I would love for Tanaka to come over here and do well in the MLB, the RedSox had hoped the same for Dice-K. With the Cubs going through some big changes and re-working from top to bottom, including the farm system this may not be the best fit or use of funds. So, in some ways I wish they would give this story a rest, other than it gives them something to talk about. We need to be realistic and the reality is Tanaka and his agent are in the driver’s seat and unless his whole objective is that he thinks he can turn around an organization overnight and make it a contender, which I do not think he thinks, then knowing and growing up Japanese that is not the type of pressure he would want solely on his shoulders…He would rather be in an organization that has already made significant moves but may need a few pieces left to be a major contender. Our Cubbies are not there, they will one day but not today. And do not discount my posting about “saving face,” as this is huge in the culture meaning not that they are not serious when meeting with the Cubs or even Whitesox but unlike in our culture here in the US, where a meeting could signal something positive in regard to a certain outcome, that is not always the case with Nihonjin. So, that is my reason for posting over and over again because it is time for us to move on and be realistic with what the management is doing or willing to do in order to keep moving the Cubs towards a WS. I want the best for our Cubbies too and am realistic as to what they will do. Gunbatene Cubbies!

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