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Monday Masahiro Tanaka Rumors, Etc.

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It's getting down to crunch time to sign the Japanese righthander: four days to the deadline.

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You don't need me to say again, "The Cubs could really use Masahiro Tanaka!" or "The Cubs should go all-out to sign Masahiro Tanaka!" Because those things appear to be exactly what the Cubs are doing; if he goes to another team, it won't be for lack of trying.

Of course, I think all of us here hope the Cubs are the winning bidder. While the initial reports said five teams -- Cubs, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Dodgers -- all made formal bids for Tanaka's services, there is a rumor today that it's down to Yankees or Cubs.

None of this has any real basis in fact, as Tanaka and his agent, Casey Close, have kept things... "Close" to the vest. (I crack myself up.) So anything that's out there as a rumor is likely speculation, or even outright guessing.

Nevertheless, we can all hope that the Cubs will be the last team standing, the team that Tanaka truly wants to pitch for.

In the meantime, this ESPN.com scouting report on Tanaka is worth reading; many of us have only seen his gaudy statistics, but that link gives a good read on the type of pitcher he could become. Summary: not as good as Yu Darvish, but then Darvish is one of the top pitchers in all of MLB; still, Tanaka could be just below that top rank.

Food for thought as we await developments. As I write this, it's the middle of the night in Japan, so we're not likely to find anything out until late evening or early morning Chicago time.