The deadline to the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes are hitting the final lap. Reports have suggested that Tanaka will pick a team by the end of today or tomorrow.
Tanaka will likely pick a team before the 4 p.m. Central time on Friday, so he can take a physical and get examine by team doctors. He will have to complete the medical examination before Friday or he could head back to Japan because no deal was reached.
Who’s ready for the final lap to the sweepstakes?
The Cubs have been in the middle on the Tanaka sweepstakes and could pull off the surprise. Many reports say the Cubs will outbid the field in years and money. But that doesn’t mean the Cubs will win. The Cubs are not a highly Japanese city and are not ready to compete. Those are two factors that could hurt the Cubs in landing Tanaka. Tanaka reportedly wants to be the ace on the team and wants to have a “challenge.” Tanaka will be the ace on the Cubs and there will be a challenge for an offensive liability team.
Many people in the industry believe the finalists are down to the Cubs and New York Yankees. The Cubs and Yankees could be in a chicken fight right now. There’s always a chance another team could swoop in and sign Tanaka, so don’t put away the “mystery team.”Also, don’t down the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers don’t care about money and will spend whatever they have to to sign a player they want.
If the Cubs do not sign Tanaka, it is not a PR (Public Relations) stunt! Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod and the rest of the Cubs brass would not waste all their time on a player to show they do care about the major league team. The Cubs do have a lot of interest in Tanaka and it shows. There still a finalist in a fight with heavyweights. If the Cubs don’t sign Tanaka, it’s not because they didn’t try hard enough or didn’t make a good offer, it would be their stance on contending and not highly Japanese populated.
The reporters out there say the Cubs are in their to the end, but still see the Cubs as “longshots” to sign Tanaka. If the Cubs do not sign Tanaka, it will be sad but it does show the Cubs will spend on a player if he meets their requirements. Also, it shows the Cubs are positive they will get a huge new TV deal and that the Wrigley renovations will take place soon.
I say the Tanaka sweepstakes will end in 24-36 hours and the winning team will sign Tanaka to a 7-year deal worth 155 million with an opt out after the fourth year. Plus the 20 million going back to Tanaka’s old team, Rakuten Golden Eagles. So, the winning team will pay (as the initial offer without Tanaka opting out) 175 million all together for Tanaka’s service.
Who’s ready for the stretch and the final days of Tanaka’s decision?
UPDATE: YES Network reports that Tanaka is down to the Cubs and Yankees.