Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka is talking with major-league teams from a base he's established in Los Angeles.
The Cubs are prepared to make a nine-figure investment in Tanaka, according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking. A 25-year-old Japanese ace would fit into the long-range business/baseball plans at a renovated Wrigley Field and a future TV network. But multiple officials have predicted the money is going to get "silly" and another desperate, free-spending team will blow them away with more years and dollars.
That very well could be true, of course; teams like the Dodgers and Yankees do have more revenue than the Cubs and, likely have more dollars to spend, though there have been conflicting reports on the Dodgers' willingness to spend on Tanaka, since they're likely to be saving some big money to lavish on Clayton Kershaw.
Tanaka is going to make large dollars no matter who he signs with, so other factors could come into play. Yes, other teams can offer immediate contention for Tanaka, which the Cubs can't. Let's hope Theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer can provide good enough reasons to Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, for him to sign here.
Close, at least, is doing something with this bidding process that many agents won't do:
Tanaka’s representative is Casey Close – the agent for New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter – and their camp is trying to keep the process confidential. They have a 30-day negotiating window that closes Jan. 24 and the polished right-hander wants to prove himself at the highest level after going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season.
So far, it looks like they're getting their wish. The reports about the Dodgers are evidence of that, as some writers have said the Dodgers will go all-out, while others say the opposite. My guess is those writers are just guessing.
This will all be over in 13 days or fewer, as noted, since the posting window ends January 24.