The Chicago Cubs wanted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and they wanted him badly.
How serious were Cubs about Tanaka? Deadly serious. Haven't confirmed this but the word is they went to $150 million. Likely runner-up.
— Phil Rogers (@philgrogers) January 22, 2014
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said they weren't the only ones. The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros — a surprise #mysteryteam — were bidding right to the end. But it was the Cubs, in the early stages of a rebuild at the hands of president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, who probably stood to lose the most — other than the Yankees — by getting mixed up with Tanaka.
And, well, Cubs lose. Again.
A season ago, the Cubs sought right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but lost him to the Detroit Tigers when he re-signed with them. Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago writes that the courting of Tanaka was similar. The story also ended the same way: with the Cubs not getting their man:
Players understand Chicago is a great city where Cubs players always get taken care of – plus there is a strong Japanese community for Tanaka’s family.
The industry consensus is that the Cubs have built an elite farm system and should cash in with a renovated Wrigley Field and new television deals (though all those timelines are a bit hazy).
Privately, multiple sources inside and outside the organization have echoed some version of the Scott Boras stump speech – Why won’t the Cubs spend like a big-market team? – just without one-liners like “Meet the Parents” or “All-Day Sucker.”
So, we're left with what Cubs fans have heard since 1908 — they're trying. They're just not winning yet. Still.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Masahiro Tanaka
- Chicago White Sox