You can take this at face value, or not:
Team officials involved in Tanaka sweepstakes say the Japanese star will cost a minimum of $17 million a year— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 27, 2013
I think many of us assumed any contract offer to Masahiro Tanaka would be even higher than that, perhaps $20 million AAV. At MLB Daily Dish, Nathan Aderhold has a good summary of what this might all cost:
If a club were to go five years at the alleged $17 million minimum, for instance, it would have to cough up $85 million. That estimate is probably on the low end, as one GM told Fox Sports' Gabe Kapler he expects a deal in the range of six years, $105 million. Add the $20 million "release fee" that is owed the Rakuten Golden Eagles, and the contract starts entering Matt Cain/Cole Hamels territory.
Six years, $105 million sounds low to me. It could run as much as six years, $120 million, or perhaps even a bit more. Of course, we have no idea how Tanaka will actually perform in the major leagues, but "Matt Cain/Cole Hamels territory" doesn't sound too outrageous to me.
I really want the Cubs to sign him, for a number of different reasons. It might be that the Cubs have to outbid everyone else, since they don't have the possibility of offering Tanaka a team that can immediately contend.
Get it done, Theo.