Masahiro Tanaka Derby: Eight Days Remaining

Koji Watanabe

One week from Friday is the deadline to sign the Japanese righthander.

There's not much real news in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. This is because Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, have asked teams to keep the process confidential, and, somewhat surprisingly in this Twitter age, they've done so.

So, we are left with news items like this one:

The Cubs have made little secret of their interest in Tanaka, and they are intensifying their interest, according to a tweet by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

The Cubs still face stiff competition from the pitching-thirsty New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, who agreed to terms with left-hander Clayton Kershaw on a staggering seven-year, $215 million contract.

A team source believes the Boston Red Sox also were lurking, but Tanaka, 25, fits the profile that Cubs President Theo Epstein seeks as a free agent entering the prime of his career.

Mark Gonzales' article says there are nine days left, but one week from tomorrow, January 24, is eight days from now. The deadline is 4 p.m. CT, so we'll know when there is still time left in the business day, or earlier, if he signs earlier.

Regarding the Dodgers' interest in Tanaka after they signed Clayton Kershaw to that huge contract Wednesday -- I really don't know. New Dodgers ownership seems to have a bottomless pit of money and they don't seem to care if signing Tanaka would result in a huge hit to them via the luxury tax. They can certainly afford him, and would also provide the L.A. entertainment industry and climate, not to mention being closer to winning a World Series than the Cubs are.

But we don't know all the factors that Tanaka and his wife (who is reportedly interested in an entertainment career in the USA) are considering. It's been said that Theo & Co. will do absolutely everything they can to sign Tanaka, something I'm all in favor of.

So -- we wait. And hope.

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