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