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MLB Storylines: The Cubs may be the frontrunners for Tanaka

MLB Storylines: The Cubs may be the frontrunners for Tanaka
January 19, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Saturday, January 18th.

Top Stories

  • Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported that five teams have made formal offers to Masahiro Tanaka.  The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Cubs, and White Sox, and nearly every team offered at least six years and over $100 million.  A source told Bruce Levine of that the Cubs are in the lead in the Tanaka sweepstakes.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer said that Jeff Samadzija has stated that he believes the Tanaka situation has had a ripple effect on his contract extension talks.  Samardzija implied that he would be more willing to sign an extension if the Cubs landed Tanaka, saying “I’ve mentioned my frustration with the 'R' word [rebuilding] before. You bring him in, and that 'R' word essentially kind of disintegrates.”  Wittenhymer did tweet on Saturday that fans should beware of news that the Cubs are in the lead for Tanaka or have a big offer on the table, stating that he had heard from several sources that the Cubs remain a long shot to sign Tanaka – which contradicts the Bruce Levine report.  Theo Epstein also told Wittenmyer that the Cubs are not done making moves this offseason.

News and Notes

  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweeted that the Indians and Mariners are the frontrunners out of the 5-7 teams interested in signing free agent starter Scott Baker.
  • The Rangers signed former Indian Rafael Perez to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.  Cotillo reported that Texas plans to use Perez out of the pen, despite his efforts to turn into a starter last year with the Twins.
  • Cotillo also tweeted that Rafael Betancourt remains in talks with the Rockies, and that the righty prefers to return to Colorado but the two sides are still trying to determine where he is in his rehab from arm surgery.
  • The Mets re-signed infielder Omar Quintanilla to a Minor League deal, and also signed lefty John Lannan to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Red Sox, Royals, and Phillies are among the teams interested in free agent reliever Ryan Madson.
  • Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore said the Orioles signing of Delmon Young means they almost certainly will not be in on Kendrys Morales anymore.  Dubroff stated that Young and Henry Urrutia are likely to form a DH-platoon.

User Comments

January 20, 2014 - 3:07 PM EST
Really interested in seeing what a Tanaka addition to the Cubs means for Samardzija....who I think is a better fit in Cleveland still than David Price.
Tommy Lee
January 19, 2014 - 6:47 PM EST
I would give Scott Baker a major league deal. I don't think he's really all that good, but he's a clear value signing and would ease a lot of concern about the back of the rotation. The velocity was there when he came back last year, although his minor league stats were quite poor in his rehab starts. Should be ready to go for 2014.

I would be happy with a Scott Baker signing. It's not unreasonable to expect a +2 WAR SP from him. Signing Baker to a 1-year deal with incentives beats signing Scott Kazmir for 2-years, $22 million.
January 19, 2014 - 12:49 PM EST
Walter, I think you might be right. I'd like to see them land Scott Baker on a minor league deal, but if it takes an incentive laden big league deal so be it.
January 19, 2014 - 9:44 AM EST
I'm assuming the Indians interest in Baker is probably major league deal since there are 7 teams interested in his services. If the Indians do sign him it will make the competition 5th starting spot more interesting. I prefer they sign him on a minor deal.

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