1/22 Tanaka to Yankees

The Cubs’ sales pitch to Masahiro Tanaka was not enough. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Japanese pitcher has reportedly signed with the Yankees, agreeing to a seven-year, $155 million deal that includes an opt out after four years. The Cubs did meet with Tanaka in Los Angeles and tried to sell the 25-year-old pitcher on being a part of their bright future. Instead, Tanaka goes to New York and the Cubs head to Spring Training with Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Jake Arrieta and several candidates for the fifth spot, including Chris Rusin, Justin Grimm, and Carlos Villanueva.

According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs’ bid to Tanaka was six years, $120 million.

– Carrie Muskat

36 Comments

Just seen that. There is noe way you can compete with the Yankees money. As Petrey stated yesterday, its all about the money.
Theo & Jed gave it their best shot, I am pretty sure of that.

I always thought he would end up with the Dodgers and the Hollywood glitz. Instead he chose the bright lights of Broadway. Wait until he sees the tax bite that will be coming out of his oversized paycheck. Not very smart. And it will be interesting to see how the Yankees can or will support him with a ballclub that’s in transition, with significant holes in their lineup. Of course, he doesn’t have to hit in the AL and that may have played a factor. And the Yankees don’t have a mascot. What was Tanaka thinking?

Very nice post Diamondjim23, you could be very correct Tananaka having to hit part of the decision.
You bring up another very good point in the holes in the Yankee line up. I believe like Doug and others, the Yankees are getting old, their farm system depleted, they may be a non factor after this season.
Tanaka had a 4 year opt out in his contract, I believe, for that reason, I am guessing.

Can’t say that I am disappointed that Tanaka went to Yankees although I am surprised that he chose the East over the West Coast. As I have stated before I have a feeling that Tanaka may not turn out to be as much of a catch as hoped for. As we head into Spring Training we have some good pitching prospects and I am glad that Samardj is still a Cub – he will only get better and better – still young and a work in progress. Glad that the “Tanaka Saga” is settled at last!

So tired of the Yankees and their non-cap payroll. This is a major disappointment as a Cubs fan. It is also another major hit for the Theo Epstein regime. Hopefully, we’re not being sold snake oil.

The Cubs did not get the contract Cubs77, it may have been the Yankees that were sold the snake oil.

It’s disappointing, but the Cubs were long shots from the get go, so I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a major disappointment. As for the Yankees non-cap payroll, while there is no salary cap like in the NFL or NBA, there is a luxury tax. The Yankees made some noise last year about not wanting to be over it again this year, but I guess they decided to give it one more shot this year. There is a lot of big and bad money on the Yankees and if they don’t win it all this year, they will have a large luxury tax bill yet again with nothing to show for it. So it’s all or nothing for the Yankees this season, and given the toughness of their division, the age of their players, and the injury history of their players, it’s probably going to be an uphill battle for them.
As for the Theo regime, it’s not a major hit and it’s not snake oil. As I said, the Cubs weren’t the odds on favorite to land Tanaka. They made a play for him, were as aggressive as they felt comfortable with, but in the end I guess money plus potential contender for 2014 won over money plus potential contender for 2015 and beyond. The beauty of it is even without Tanaka, the Cubs future still looks bright, so I fail to see what the big hit or the snake oil is. If anything, the biggest losers here are the Dodgers.

As for the Yankees, the luxury tax is a joke that they snub their noses at. They took a year off of spending, but they have overspent before and will again. What bothers me most about the Yankees’ mode of operation is that they can make ridiculous deals and just spend more if they don’t work out.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, it IS a major disappointment. From the beginning, we heard Theo Epstein say they would not be outbid. Have not heard officially whether they were, but it appears so. The majority of prospects that are being touted are position players, so the Cubs are going to need pitching.

The potential snake oil I was referring to is the prospects in the Cubs system, none of which has set foot on a major league field. Have people thought about what happens if they aren’t all that’s being promised? It’s at least three years wasted.

I don’t really believe that will be the case, but all we can go on now is player rankings and potential. As for a hit on Epstein, the Major League roster is in such poor shape that all they could sell Tanaka on was “promise.” I’ve bought into the rebuilding plan, but I’m not going to have blind allegiance to Ricketts, Epstein, and Hoyer. Things look good for the future on paper, but seeing is believing.

People who think the Yankees still spend without fear of consequence need to realize that this is not 1997 anymore. The fact that it got out that the Yankees were concerned about going over the luxury tax threshold proves that they are very aware of the issues they have with the age of their roster, the durability of their players, and the prospect of paying a large luxury tax without a ring to show for it… or even without a playoff appearance for the second year in a row! I don’t know what happened to the Yankees not spending a lot this offseason. My guess is ownership or a higher up in the front office stepped in and said “we’re the Yankees dag nab it and we are going to spend spend spend like always.” We’ll see if that person is still around after another 89 win season and no games in October!
I have every reason to believe Theo meant it when he said we won’t be outbid. I also have every reason to believe that Theo had no idea he would have to bid $155 million to be the high bid. A couple of days ago it was being reported that 6 years $100 million was the floor. Going from that up to 7 and 155 is a huge jump. My guess is that the Yankees were so desperate to sign Tanaka that they took a huge jump from where they were comfortable to sign him. Am I comfortable with the Cubs being aggressive in their pursuit of Tanaka. Yes! Am I comfortable with the Cubs being reckless in their pursuit of Tanaka. Heck no! So at the very least, the we will not be outbid statement worked as posturing and go the Yankees to go way overboard, which is very likely to come back to haunt them in the near future. The Cubs were willing to go a little higher over their comfort zone, so in order to make him a Yankee, the Yankees had to go a humongous amount over their comfort zone. If nothing else, I’m sure Theo got some satisfaction knowing that he made life more difficult for his former team’s chief rival!
As for the prospects, you’re right, we don’t know how they will do when they get to the majors. But so far they are all doing pretty well at the minor league level, so that’s as good of a place as any to start. If Baez only hit .230 last year, if Bryant hit .180, if Almora missed all year due to injury, if CJ Edwards had a 6.00 ERA after coming over to the Cubs, then I’d be worried with you. But they are all excelling at the levels they are at, so there’s reason for some optimism. And there are so many good prospects that even if some fail, if the others meet or exceed expectations then the Cubs will still be in good shape. The thing about the Corey Pattersons and the Felix Pies of years past is, when they failed, there was not quality 2nd top prospect to turn to. Now if Baez fails, then at least we’ve got Kris Bryant on his way up soon! And if you’ve truly bought into the rebuilding plan, you should know that it’s totally unfair to judge the overall job performance of Theo & Jed until after most of the prospects we’ve been hearing about over the past two years are either up in the majors or flame out in the minors. That’s what they will be judged on and until then it’s still a work in progress.

Does it matter, the Yankees wil now buy the rest of the FA. Thanks MLB for saving them all that money.

So true. As much as I believe it was right to suspend Rodriguez for a year, it gave the Yankees $25 million or so to spend for a year.

Now that Tanaka is off the board, others may start finding homes for 2014. Garza, Jiminez, Santana, Arroyo, Capuano and Maholm.
Dont know if the Cubs would be interested in any of the above, but if Garza is signed for a year or two, at least he dont cost a Draft Pick. Maybe even gets traded mid season again.
Dont know if Capuano would cost a Draft pick or not?

I think only Jiminez and Santana are tied into a draft pick. I’ve read that Garza is looking for nothing short of 4 years, so even if his asking price comes down a bit, a one-year deal is probably out of the question for him. Guys like Capuano and Maholm are probably more of the type the Cubs are going to look for now.
I’ve also IDed Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann as potential Cubs targets. Hammel kind of fits that Scott Feldman mold of has shown some promise before and all that needs to happen is for him to put together a solid first half and then flip him to a contender for multiple prospects. In fact, Feldman is tied for first on Hammel’s similarity scores on baseball-reference.com. On the other hand, Niemann fits the mold of Scott Baker, a pitcher who has had some success but has battled injuries the past two seasons and is trying to reestablish himself as a solid MLB starter. Of course, they could always bring back Scott Baker and give him another chance. And who knows what Bronson Arroyo wants to do at this point in his career. Does he want a reunion with Theo and a chance to help some younger pitchers as the team tries to build up to a contender or does he want to join a potential contender to give winning the World Series again another shot before he retires? He’s a fly ball pitcher, which at Wrigley is good half the time and bad the other half. But he also will give you 200 innings a season, doesn’t walk many, and is a very smart pitcher whose influence will hopefully help the rest of the staff.

I would be very afraid of Arroyo for the fly ball reference. Then on the other hand, he has pitched well against the Cubs at Wrigley.
Garza, ( I think ) will definately have to reduce his asking price. I have read that many other clubs are concerned of his injury history. ( connot provide source out of respect for Carrie)
As you stated, Jimeniz and Santana are more than likely not being considered for Draft pick reasons.
Baker? Was definately an over paid disappointment last year. However I admire the aggressive style in ST last year, trying to come back to soon. I would flip a coin on that one.
You bring up Hammell and Niemann, if I tried to discuss those two with you, I would not know what I am talking about. Just not that familiar with either. So, you just gave me something to do. lol

Maybe so, but Arroyo has experience pitching in Boston and Cincinnati, two parks not known to be pitcher friendly. Also, Ted Lilly was a fly ball pitcher, but had success while here. If you’re going to be a fly ball pitcher, at least be a smart pitcher and don’t leave too many pitches over the plate. I think Arroyo is a smart enough pitcher to succeed pitching at Wrigley. The only question is, does he want to be here to begin with?
All I have to add about Niemann is that he was the #4 overall pick in the 2004 draft. While Justin Verlander went second overall that year, the 2004 draft looks pretty awful 10 years later. The #1 pick was Matt Bush who never played in the majors and I think is in jail right now. Phil Humber went #3 and has been pretty bad save for one start. Niemann went 4 and in the rest of the top 10, only Homer Bailey (7th pick) has made any real impact. As for the rest of the first round notables, Neil Walker went 11, Jered Weaver went 12, Billy Butler went 14, Steven Drew went 15, Phil Hughes went 23, former Cub Blake Dewitt went 28, and Gio Gonzalez and Huston Street going in the supplemental first round. As for the Cubs, they did not pick in the first round in 2004 as they gave up their pick as compensation for signing LaTroy Hawkins. Of course, none of this says anything about Niemann’s talent, just thought it would be interesting to put him in historical context.

It was all very interesting Doug. Its fun going back on Drafts of the past and see how it all played out.

Indeed. The funny thing is, after looking at the 2004 first round, I went back and looked at 2003 and 2005. 2003 was maybe worse than 2004, but 2005 was great, especially as far as the top 10 is concerned. So let’s hope in future years we look back at these past few drafts and either say the Cubs got a good pick in a great draft or it was a pretty bad draft and the only worthwhile player is X by the Cubs!
By the way, just read from ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers that the Cubs are not interested in bringing back Scott Baker, so you can cross him off the list.

Yes, I seen that article. Thank you.
I read an article some time back, about Hendry and his Drafting. It stated that towards the end of his tenure with the Cubs, that he realized that it was a weak area for him.
It also stated how he hired Rick Wilkins in 2010 to help advice him. By 2011, Hendry was completely out of it and Wilkins was in charge of the 2011 Draft. Of course the year Baez was taken with the Cubs first pick.
After that 2011 Draft, other GM’s took notice I read in another article. One GM, stated the Cubs are finally starting to get it. That GM was Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox.
If you can add to any of the above or correct any memories, please do so.

I might be off on some of the details, but I believe that the 2011 Draft was headed up by player development people like Tim Wliken, Oneri Fleita, and assistant GM Randy Bush. That year the Cubs changed their draft strategy and decided since they are a large market team, they can offer higher signing bonuses to get players to sign with them, which gave them enough confidence to draft Javier Baez out of high school with the 9th pick. They also realized that by drafting some players who were deemed unsignable in a later round than projected and offering them a larger signing bonus than they would have stood to receive anyway, they weren’t wasting a higher pick on a player who might not sign anyway, but offering enough to that player that would make them reconsider going to or staying in college. This worked for Dillon Maples, who was committed to North Carolina on a football scholarship as a kicker as well as a pitcher. The Cubs ended up drafting him in the 14th round when he was projected to go much higher and signed him using a 7-figure bonus offer.
This strategy drew praise from other GMs, including none other than Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who proclaimed that the Cubs draft people finally “got it”. Unfortunately, MLB changed their draft rules before the next draft to the current system where each team gets allotted a certain amount of money to spend on signing bonuses based on their position in the draft. So the 2011 draft was the only year the Cubs were able to use that strategy. Will it pay off in the long run? Well, Javier Baez is the key player in that draft, but there are other interesting names working their way up from the minors in that draft. Some names to keep an eye on include 1b/DH Dan Vogelbach (2nd round), OF/2b Zeke DeVoss (3rd round), RP Tony Zych (4th round), 1b/OF Trevor Gretzky (7th round, if for no reason other than his last name), 2b Daniel Lockhart (10th round, so of former player and current Cubs scout Keith Lockhart), OF Shawon Dunston (11th round, you know who his father is I’m sure), CF Trey Martin (13th round), C Rafael Lopez (16th round), OF John Andreoli (17th round), and OF/1b Rock Shoulders (25th round, if only for his name). Baez might be the only future superstar of that year, but there is potential for several of those players to be knocking on the door of the Majors in the next season or two.

You have a much better memory of it than me. The point I wanted to make to fans and you made it for me, is: Giving Hendry any credit for that Draft group of 2011 would be inaccurate.
I do give him credit for letting Wilkins, Bush and Fleita take charge that year.
Many of the names you mention are still in the Cubs system, some improving,
( Dunston ) some still hanging on. ( Gretsky ) Lockhart made it to AAA for a few At Bats last year.
I am hopeful more of that group matures and moves up. Maples for sure.

Aloha Folks-
Do not want to sound like a broken record but Tanaka and his agent for various reasons as I have listed before and being associated with baseball both in Japan and here the states was not going to come to our Cubs unless management would have thrown out crazy money and terms. I am so happy that they did not. It has not been an easy process to watch our cubs lose 90+ games the past so many seasons but we all know that our farm system for the first time in a long time is producing talent and if the money they would have spent on Tanaka could be used to pick up some folks with longevity to not only produce for the team but maybe mentor the younger guys coming up and strengthen the organization, then I believe in the end we will be a much better team. Remember, the Cubs need a lot more than just one pitcher so again, Cubs job well done for showing other teams that we are serious about getting good players to come to Chicago and at the same time showing some fiscal restraint. Tanaka-san wa gunbatene to omedetou gozaimasu!

Aloha K.G. – I have been reading all your posts with great interest and appreciate your baseball knowledge and your human interest knowledge as well. My granddaughter is married to Darwin Barney so I am the great grandmother of their two daughters. As you may know, Barney is of part Japanese heritage, his grandfather was Japanese. The family grew up in Hawaii and Barney grew up in Portland, OR. The Japanese take great pride in their education, achievements and courtesy which, in my opinion, makes Barney a class act. I believe from reading your posts that you also take pride in those same principles. I look forward to reading anything you post in future.

You forgot that Barney is a Gold Glover and hit .208 last year.

Aloha White-san! Omedetou to you (congratulations). I was so happy when I learned of Barney some years ago and coming to our Cubbies. We have a lot of folks from the islands of Japanese heritage that ended up on the West Coast like Darwin. Portland, Seattle, etc…I love ball as you do and so many of my relatives in Japan. My father was a player before and a collegiate coach as well as to have coached in the Alaskan League (summertime ball for college players-many with a future in the mlb). We were blessed not only to see ball around the states but he also took his team throughout the Pacific Rim including Japan. Again, thank you for your reply, I really like the fact that not only is there a player like Darwin on the Cubs but also for his character-type of person that he is. I wish him and his family the best for this upcoming year, I would love to see him really come into his own and solidify a place on this team not just for today but for the future as it looks bright for our Cubbies. Mahalo Nui and Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Cubs miss out on another opportunity, let’s keep working to put together a “potential” team. Btw – potential means:
possible, as opposed to actual. And it’s possible the Cubs may win a WS in my lifetime, yeah right, at this rate. Not impressed with the new regime – Theo and Jed!

gocubs101, just curious, but what would you have paid Tanaka for his services?

So you’re not impressed with Theo and Jed inheriting the minor league system that was the joke of MLB and turning it into the envy of MLB in just two short years? Did you not know that the whole point of bringing in Theo was to do just that? Heck, if they wanted to keep throwing money at over-30 free agents and trading away multiple prospects for middle-of-the-rotation starters, they would have just kept Jim Hendry as GM. Theo and Jed told us exactly what the plan was the day they were introduced to the Chicago media and they haven’t wavered from that plan yet. So what exactly are you not impressed about?
And for the record, the great majority of baseball contracts signed are for potential of the player, not actual results. So every team builds for potential, not just the Cubs.

Aloha Doug-
Good points and helping folks to remember exactly what Theo and Jed set out to do when they came. I admit that I thought they could have gotten a little more for the bunch of folks they unloaded early on, in many cases they gave away high contracts to other teams with the Cubs paying for it but that also could have given them more respect in the eyes of the other teams that they hoped to deal with. Meaning, this is our mess and we will take responsibility for it. Thus, in their later trades they were able to pick up some great prospects plus get folks into the organization that wanted to honestly build up the farm system. The other point you made which you are spot on and may not be the best way of doing business but it is here right now, are these long into the future contracts that players are getting. We see so many folks get long-term contracts and maybe in the first year or two do well then have some rough years and then in the last year of the contract have a “break-out” season. I am not saying all players are like this but there is a track record here. I remember meeting Hank Aaron and later hearing him in an interview speak about baseball during his time and how they were paid in the current season based upon “last-year’s” performance. As he so eloquently stated, players during his time had strings of great years, they were motivated and wanted to play well and as a team. I am not saying that things were perfect back then either and am not sure if this could ever come back given the player’s union and the owner’s. But gosh, this would be amazing if all ball player’s knew how they conducted themselves on the field and what they did would have a more immediate impact on their salaries. I wish Tanaka all the best and want him to do well and at the same time I think it is crazy the amount of money that can be thrown out there for the “future” of a player even if they are not an “unknown.” Hope our Cubbies will continue to do what they are and adding folks as needed or if a great deal comes up that Theo and Jed can put together for the team because Lord knows, in the past our Cubs have sure helped out a lot of other organizations and it is time for them to kindly reciprocate. Mahalo!

but, wait a minute, we did add a new mascot. How many wins will that improve on the 100 loss average over the last two seasons

When you say we added a Mascot, I just need you to know, I was not part of that, you might have been? If you read what Theo & Jed stated about it, they said they knew of it. That would lead one to think, the Mascot was not really their idea and let it go, approving, but not involved. Just my take on it.

Why can’t people understand how a professional sports team functions? Yes, the Cubs added a mascot, but that would fall under their PR or Community Affairs department, not the baseball operations department. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, the two guys at the top of baseball operations had as much to do with Clark as Julian Green, VP of Communications & Community Affairs, had to do with trying to sign Tanaka. Please get a clue before you post again!

Not a surprise…….there are Dreams…and there is Reality…..Tanaka was a Dream……

I bet all those Cubs Den people must be crying and cursing ……LOL

I am a little disappointed but I knew we were a longshot anyway. I guess we haven’t had much luck with Japenese players so far so maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t mind seeing us try to sign Garza or Maholm back as long as it is not silly money for a lot of years. I still believe this team has a chance to surprise and play much better than many are giving them credit for. Playoffs? Probably not. Competitive baseball and an improved record? I believe we will see that.

Garza is on the verge of signing with the Brewers for silly money for a lot of years, so he’s out. If they do bring Maholm back, it will only be for one year with the intention of trading him mid-season if he’s healthy and halfway decent, just like they did in 2012. Jason Hammel is another pitcher I could see the Cubs making a run at for the purposes of trading at the deadline for more prospects. Anyway, a move like that is all the Cubs will probably do between now and Spring Training. Will the 2014 Cubs be improved over the 2013 Cubs? Yes, but it will kind of be like how the 2013 Cubs were an improvement over the 2012 Cubs. 96 losses is better than 101, and 85-90 losses is better than 96, but I wouldn’t get super excited over it!

I think we will get bounce back years from Rizzo and Castro. I do not believe Barney is as bad a hitter as he showed last year. Lake and Schier have proven they can get the job done. The Shark and Wood should continue to improve. I surely hope Jackson is not as horrible as he was last year. Arrieta once had much promise to be a 1 or 2. Our bullpen at least appears to be improved. Then we have our kids a couple of whom could be up this year. There is potential here to see a vast improvement and build for success sooner that a lot of our fans think. I choose to see the glass half full and believe if we stay the course either next offseason or the one after that we will be ready to add a couple of big FA signings to put us over the top.

Tim Kurkisian predicted a week before it became a reality that Tanaka would sign with Yankees. Said the Yankees claimed they would not be outbid. Apparently the Yankees mean it when they make such an assertion. Latest from Tim is that Tanaka signed for $70 million more than Darvish and Tanaka is not the pitcher Darvish is, in Tim`s opinion. My take is the Cubs were prudent to pass on Tanaka and the Yankees overpaid by far for an athlete who has never thrown a pitch in the majors.

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