One of the hottest topics in the world of MLB right now is the future of Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese pitcher has been targeted by many teams for the upcoming 2014 season, but the field is likely down to just a select few. Tanaka says that he wants to play in a big market, so most people are narrowing the list of possible suitors down to the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. However, the latest buzz has the Cubs emerging as the front-runners for the pitcher’s services.
Popular baseball personality Jason Stark recently tweeted out that he was amazed by the amount of owners at the winter meetings who think that the Cubs are ready ‘blow the field away’ with a monster offer to Tanaka (possibly in the neighborhood of $150 million in total).
I suppose you can’t blame the Cubs, because they really don’t have any reliable starting pitchers outside of Jeff Samardzija (who’s been involved in many trade rumors over the last couple of seasons).
Tanaka is only 25-years old and he would be an incredibly solid building block for a franchise that’s still trying to ready itself for a serious run a couple years from now. Anyone who’s watched the Cubs over the last few seasons can tell you that this team is far from ‘there’ yet, but the inking of Tanaka would be a big step in the right direction (in theory).
Some Cubs fans will point to the last Japanese star that the team signed, Kosuke Fukudome. While he wasn’t a complete flop, he was far from the next big thing. That was made clear by his return to Japanese baseball last season.