The announcement that Masahiro Tanaka was going to be posted by his team in Japan came as exciting news. But in the week that followed the announcement, there’s been no other news on that front.
It’s something like a binary thing for teams jumping into the fray for Tanaka: Either it will be a “1” for the team that does sign him or a “0” for teams that don’t.
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Masahiro Tanaka will doubtlessly command seven years or more before agreeing to a contract with anyone. If the Chicago Cubs are serious about being a contender a year or two (or three or four or five) from now, Masahiro Tanaka will still be putting up big pitching numbers by the time prospects are ready to make an impact at the major league level.
I’ve always thought the Cubs were rebuilding on the cheap. There are no big-name, top-dollar veteran players on the roster at the moment. The closest thing they have in their clubhouse is Edwin Jackson, and the less said about that the better. But signing Masahiro Tanaka would be a bold move toward putting a real contender on the field, at some point down the road.
For all the names Cubs fans throw around as future impact players, a pitcher’s name is rarely ever mentioned. If there are any pitching prospects in the organization more enticing than the heretofore underwhelming combination of Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija, I don’t know who they are. But a staff ace needs to be located if this team ever plans to do more than challenge for a wild card spot.
Can the Cubs do what it takes to be the “1” team among all the other “0s”? Until that answer is determined, there’s not much else worth talking about.