The Cubs signing Tanaka sends the strongest signal that the Chicago Cubs are getting ready to win, and win big. The biggest impact could be on the players. That is where it should be. If the players believe, results and wins follow.
Indulge me a little "what if".
What if Rizzo hits 35 home runs and hits a solid .285?
Barney wins another gold glove and finds a way to draw walks while hitting a respectable (for him) .265?
Castro does indeed bounce back all the way and gets his average up to .320 AND shows he knows how to draw a walk. Wellington Castillo hits, draws walks, is the best hitting catcher in the NL, and shows 20 HR power.
Javier Baez hits .465 in spring training, at third base, and forces the Cubs to break camp with him as an every day player. (I know, he may not be our future at third, but this is a what if game.) And, Baez has the rookie of the year season we are all hoping for.
What if Travis Wood and Shark combine for 35 wins. What if our bullpen is solid and finishes the season in the top 5 of the NL? Strop becomes a lights out closer.
What if our outfield all hit for average and their on base % is a little shocking. Schierholtz and Sweeney have shown this is possible. What if our bench becomes a real strength with super sub Valbuena leading the way?
And last of all, what if Tanaka wins 16 games with an WHIP of 1.0? Of course he goes undefeated against the Cardinals.
Sure, this is a dream season. But taking a step forward starts with each player. And, the front office making a solid effort to sign a player that could set off each player on a successful path. I don't think it's far fetched to think Rizzo, Castro, Wood or Shark could have strong seasons. It's contagious. Just like not hitting with RISP is contagious.
The signing of Tanaka is a step I am hoping the Cubs can somehow accomplish. While this is a dream season that would end with at least a wild card appearance, it has to start somewhere. Tanaka could set this in motion. Let's give it a try.