Same story, different day.
Despite rumors early this morning that Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was nearing a decision, we head into Tuesday night here in the U.S. not knowing any more than we did 24 hours ago.
While several teams – including the Houston Astros – are rumored to be interested in the right-hander (although it remains unclear whether or not Houston GM Jeff Luhnow offered him a contract), the two front-runners continue to be the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees.
I sat down with senior staff writer Ricky Keeler of Yanks Go Yard to talk about where he thinks Tanaka will sign. It turns out we both agree.
“I still think he ends up with the Yankees. In think the familiarity with Casey Close, his agent, will help and New York will match any high offer. The question is: Does Tanaka want to be an ace in Chicago in the short-term or the potential ace in the Bronx for the long-term? The Cubs need that guy to make fans stop fretting about the rebuilding process.”
From the get-go, I have said that Tanaka will eventually end up in pinstripes, but Chicago appears hellbent on making things interesting. That being said, in these types of negotiations, you always have to keep the ‘dark horse’ candidates in mind, which in this case are the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners.
Keeler and I also tend to agree on what Tanaka’s offer from New York likely looks like, with both of us saying that it is between six or seven years with a total value of approximately $135 million.
That being said, Keeler says that he’s surprised that the Cubs are a finalist for the righty and in his mind it means that “the (Cubs) offered him close to $200 million).
While I don’t think it would take the full $200 million, I would have to echo Keeler’s thoughts and say that for the Cubs to land Tanaka, their offer would have to significantly outpace the rest of the pack.
While the Yankees and Dodgers can sell Tanaka on the talent on the big league roster, the Cubs have to sell him on the future – something that could or could not come into being the way Theo Epstein would like it to. For that reason, money talks in this case. Well, money talks in most cases.
Should the Cubs’ offer be in the neighborhood of $170 million-plus, Keeler thinks it would be time for Brian Cashman and the Yankees to say “enough is enough.”
“If he went for more than $175 million, I wouldn’t blame the Yankees for not getting him. That’s a huge gamble and the Kei Igawa fiasco is an example of that. But no move here would put a bad taste in Yanks’ fans mouths, too.”
Stay tuned to Cubbies Crib and Yanks Go Yard for the latest on Masahiro Tanaka in the coming days. The deadline for a deal is Friday, but a decision is expected sooner than that – possibly as early as Wednesday.