Results tagged ‘ Masahiro Tanaka ’

2/16 Fujikawa: Tanaka can handle NY

Kyuji Fujikawa is throwing this spring, and could be able to pitch in the big leagues by June. But he wasn’t able to recruit Masahiro Tanaka to sign with the Cubs. Fujikawa and Tanaka were teammates three times in the World Baseball Classic. After 12 seasons in Japan, Fujikawa left to sign a two-year contract with the Cubs in December 2012. But his 2013 season ended after 12 games because of elbow problems, and he eventually underwent Tommy John surgery last June.

All winter, Cubs fans were giddy over the possibility of the team adding Tanaka, a 25-year-old free agent, who eventually agreed to a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees. Whether Fujikawa talked to Tanaka is unclear.

“I can’t really say much,” Fujikawa said Saturday. “It’s not for me to comment.”

Fujikawa says he didn’t talk to any Japanese players before signing with the Cubs. He could’ve asked Kosuke Fukudome about what it was like at Wrigley Field. Instead, the right-hander shifted the focus back to his rehab.

“I can’t really say anything about Tanaka, but for myself, I just want to say last year wasn’t my real self, and I’m trying to think about myself,” Fujikawa said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “I can only talk about myself.”

Right now, Fujikawa is playing catch five, six times a week, alternating between a long toss day and a light toss day. He has yet to throw off a mound but is close.

“It was definitely tough while the season was going on and you have to understand you can’t be able to contribute, that was the tough part,” he said.

Fujikawa knows Cubs fans were interested in having the team acquire Tanaka.

“It’s a good thing that everybody was talking about him,” he said. “He has a strong heart, so he shouldn’t have a problem in New York. He’s used to it.”

— Carrie Muskat

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

1/20 Cubs convention wrap up

The Cubs Convention closed on Sunday with an informative session on the Minor League system. Here are some highlights from that:

* Javier Baez will open the 2014 season at Triple-A Iowa and is close to getting to the big leagues. The Cubs already have a young shortstop in Starlin Castro, who turns 24 in March. This spring, Baez may get some playing time at second base, depending on what the Cubs and manager Rick Renteria want to do.

“Our goal for Javy is to have him play shortstop for as long as he possibly can,” said Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development. “He certainly has some things to clean up with the errors that were made last year.”

The Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2011, Baez made 44 errors combined last season.

* Some past Cubs’ first-round picks have struggled. Brett Jackson, 25, the No. 1 selection in 2009, and Josh Vitters, 24, the first-round pick in 2007, both battled injuries last season. Jackson batted .210 in 95 games, while Vitters hit .267 in 33 games.

“They did not stay on the field long enough, first and foremost,” McLeod said. “We still have belief in both of them, especially a guy like Josh. He was drafted in 2007, and you’ve heard his name so much, you’d probably think he’s 26 years old or 25 years old. When he was on the field, the performance was pretty good. He was born to hit and he’s always hit. There were other parts of his game that we felt he had to work on.”

Vitters is focusing on left field, and he and Jackson will be in the Cubs’ Spring Training camp.

“They both took this offseason to regroup, get healthy, and they’ll both be in camp here in a couple weeks,” McLeod said.

* McLeod has a little bit of history with Justin Grimm, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal last July. When McLeod was with the Red Sox, he drafted Grimm out of high school. The Red Sox invited the right-hander to Fenway Park for a visit and he arrived alone. Grimm had a scholarship offer to attend Georgia.

“I think he just wanted a free trip to Boston, to be honest with you,” McLeod said Sunday.

Grimm didn’t sign, and was selected in the fifth round by the Rangers in 2010. He signed. But McLeod saw him before that when Grimm was pitching for Georgia in the SEC Tournament as a freshman. Theo Epstein, who was the Red Sox GM at the time, watched the young pitcher. It was the first time Epstein saw Grimm.

“He comes out firing 97 mile an hour fastballs, and Theo is about 15 rows up behind me and comes down in front of a full section of scouts and tells me, ‘You’re fired,'” McLeod said.

In the end, the Cubs and McLeod did get Grimm as he was part of the package for Garza.

* McLeod said the Cubs are waiting to see which team Masahiro Tanaka picks. Expect a decision this week. Friday is the deadline.

“Obviously, he’s talented and I think any team in baseball would want a 25 year old starting pitcher,” McLeod said. “We’ve scouted him extensively over the years. … The evaluation process is complete. We met with him last week in [Los Angeles] and we’ll find out in the next week. He’s obviously talented.”

* Among the Convention highlights was seeing the fans’ response to Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and Mark Prior. All received loud ovations whenever they appeared at an event.

* Mark your calendar: Single game Cubs tickets go on sale March 7.

* If you can’t make it to Mesa, Ariz., this spring, you can listen to Cubs broadcasts on with Len Kasper and Mick Gillespie.

— Carrie Muskat

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

1/16 Tanaka update

Could Masahiro Tanaka pick the Cubs? According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are “pushing hard” for the Japanese pitcher. Rosenthal also reports the Angels, Yankees and Dodgers are involved with the right-hander. The White Sox have confirmed that they met with Tanaka and his agent in Los Angeles. 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.

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.

1/7 Tanaka rumors

The Cubs and White Sox will reportedly meet with Masahiro Tanaka this week, according to Comcast Sportsnet’s Luke Stuckmeyer, who says the Japanese pitcher will most likely be in Chicago to check out both teams. The Cubs declined to comment on the report.

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.

There are several teams interested in Tanaka, including the Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners and Diamondbacks. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but at what price? The Japanese pitcher is reportedly seeking a contract that will likely top $100 million.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 MLB, Japan league reach agreement

Let the bidding begin for Masahiro Tanaka. MLB announced Monday it has agreed to terms with Nippon Professional Baseball on revised protocols for the posting system shared by the leagues.

Here are the details:

* If a Japanese team wishes to make one of its players available to Major League clubs, the NPB shall notify the Office of the Commissioner. There will be a release fee to secure that player, and it may not go higher than $20 million.

* MLB will then post the player’s availability by notifying all Major League Clubs of the Japanese player’s availability. All postings must be made between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1. There is a 30-day window for teams to negotiate with the player. If the posted Japanese player fails to reach an agreement with a Major League club, teams do not pay the posting fee.

The question now is whether the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post their ace, Tanaka, 25. The Japanese team was hoping for a posting fee worth $75 million or more. The Rangers paid a $51.7 million posting fee for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish. If Tanaka is made available, the Cubs are expected to be involved. During the Winter Meetings last week, both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer said the Cubs will most likely be “one of 30 teams” to make an offer.

— Carrie Muskat

12/11 Winter Meetings, Day 3 – UPDATED

* Jeff Samardzija’s agent was expected to meet Wednesday with Theo Epstein. The Cubs would like to extend Samardzija, but he will be a free agent after the 2015 season and is most likely to politely reject their offer. The right-hander, who would like to test the market at that time, has been the subject of trade rumors. The Cubs also could deal Samardzija in July.

The three-way trade between the Angels, the Diamondbacks and the White Sox may have had an impact on what the Cubs do with Samardzija. The Cubs were believed to be looking at lefty Tyler Skaggs as part of the package for the right-hander, but Skaggs was sent to the Angels.

* The Cubs are reportedly expanding their search for starting pitching. According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs are considering not only Masahiro Tanaka but also Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda and Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon. CSN Chicago also says the Cubs are looking at Jason Hammel, 31, who has pitched for the Orioles, Rockies and Rays. He has a 49-59 career record and 4.80 ERA. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season. The president of his team, Rakuten, arrived at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. MLB and Japan baseball officials were hoping to resolve the posting system.

A source said Maeda most likely would not be posted until next year. Maeda, 25, was 15-7 with a 2.10 ERA for Hiroshima last season, striking out 158 over 175 2/3 innings. Yoon, 27, is a free agent who has been a starter and reliever with the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization. He has battled injuries.

* Major League managers and general managers met early Wednesday to discuss instant replay, among other things.

— Carrie Muskat

12/9 Cubs pitching budget

The Cubs feel they can fit both Jeff Samardzija and Masahiro Tanaka in their budget if the Japanese pitcher becomes available. It also could depend on what it will take to get Samardzija to stay. Samardzija, 28, the Cubs’ Opening Day starter who racked up 200 innings and 200 strikeouts this season, has been talking to the team about a long-term extension. He made $2.64 million this year.

“I think we’ve made it really clear that he’s a guy we’d like to keep,” GM Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “We love the way he competes and he’s continued to improve as a pitcher. Certainly having him as a Cub is a desirable outcome.”

Tanaka’s status has yet to be determined as Major League Baseball and Japanese baseball officials try to update the posting system. The Cubs expect to be part of the process regarding Tanaka, 25, who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Neither Samardzija nor Tanaka will be cheap. Samardzija will be a free agent after the 2015 season. All he has to do is look at recent contracts for starting pitchers to know he could cash in. Phil Hughes, 27, recently got a three-year, $24 million deal from the Twins.

“They’re not attached at all — it’s not an either, or type thing,” Hoyer said about being able to afford the two pitchers. “We obviously like Samardzija a lot and Tanaka is a talented pitcher. We’re not looking at them joined or not joined. There’s no influence on each other.”

— Carrie Muskat