According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has agreed to a seven-year, $155 million deal with the New York Yankees. He also reports that the deal has an opt-out option after the fourth year that could allow the pitcher to capitalize on the market should he perform well during the first several years he pitches in Major League Baseball.
It was widely believed that the Chicago Cubs were the only team neck-and-neck with the Yankees in pursuit of Tanaka. Just shortly before the news broke regarding Tanaka’s reported contract with New York, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com told MLB Network Radio that he believed the high bid would indeed come from the Cubs. However, other reports indicated that it came down to competitiveness for Tanaka and Chicago was simply too far removed from being a competitive team in the near future.
Many Cubs fans believe this will mean the end of right-hander Jeff Samardzija‘s time in Chicago, but the pitching in next year’s free agent class is nothing to scoff at, including the likes of Jon Lester and James Shields, among others.
Adding talent next offseason could be enough to keep Samardzija in Chicago. One thing, though, is abundantly clear. The right-hander has no desire to continue playing for a lackluster team in the long-term.