Masahiro Tanaka To Meet With The Chicago Cubs
The Major League offseason is just about halfway over, but one of the prized free agents is still looking for employment. Since being posted on Christmas Day, Masahiro Tanaka rumors and news have cooled down. This tends to happen during the holiday season, but it’s a new year it looks as if he will be making visits to clubs over the next couple weeks with his first stop coming this week to the Windy City; as Luke Stuckmeyer reports.
Tanaka is the top free agent on the market and will require teams to post a $20mm fee to the Golden Eagles for him to come to the States. This is fairly low considering that posting fees for Yu Darvish went to the highest bidder at $51mm. This fee does not count towards to the awarding clubs payroll, which would benefit a team such as the Yankees who are trying to get under the $189mm ‘luxury’ tax threshold.
The Chicago Cubs are one of the many teams interested (as they should be), but also one of the favorites to land the prized right-hander being a large market team. The Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Rangers are also top favorites to land Tanaka, but the Cubs are in an interesting position.
Chicago has not been involved in any top free agent signings this offseason strictly because they don’t think they will be competitive in 2014 and are looking toward their future with a good group of young talent in the minors. Tanaka, 25, would still be young enough in a year or two to contribute to the club during his prime years when top prospects Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora are on the big league roster.
So what does it take to land Tanaka? Of course a lot of money will be a factor, but who can outbid the Yankees or Dodgers? New York and Los Angeles have plenty to offer outside of money such as large marketing opportunities and beautiful weather, but what is so special about Chicago? Theo Epstein is a great businessman and can make offers that touch home to some players more than money. Some requests from Tanaka include having the #1 for his jersey, free parking space, golf membership for his family and even heated toilet seats. Hey whatever floats your boat man.
Theo will also be able to offer that Tanaka could be the frontline ace of the club and the potential to be a part of the first championship team in Chicago in over 100 years. It won’t be easy for Chicago to sign him, but they do have all the resources and personnel to get a deal done.