Tanaka: Cubs Or Yankees?

As the Masahiro Tanaka lottery is approaching its end, two teams are left in the running: the Chicago Cubs and the Yankees. While both cities and towns have a litany of similarities and differences, they provide Tanaka ideal factors beyond the monetary aspect. Where is Tanaka more likely to land?

Dec 11, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana (right) walks through the lobby during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Tachibana has not decided whether or not to allow Masahiro Tanaka (not pictured) to sign with a MLB team now that Nippon Professional Baseball and the MLB have agreed on a $20 Million maximum posting bid. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Regarding weather, the Yankees have an advantage. Japan is a coastal series of islands with temperate weather. Chicago is a landlocked, blustery city filled with Bears fans who “dabble check.” While New York can also be frigid, the Bronx doesn’t have the same high velocity gusts as The Windy City. Consider that the average annual temperature in New York (specifically the five boroughs) is 53 degrees, compared to an average annual temperature of 49 degrees in Chicago. Yes, the weather may not have that much of an effect on Tanaka’s decision, but the harsh conditions would be a shock to his system.

Regarding team, the Yankees have an advantage… for now. The Yankees roster is replete with veteran position players, such as Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, and others. In three seasons from now, the only hitters still left will be Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and maybe Brett Gardner or Mark Teixeira. The pitching staff looks shaky, too, as C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, are far from sure wins. As middling as the Yankees may appear, the Cubs are echelons worse. The entire team consists of promising slugger Anthony Rizzo (24 years old) and immature shortstop Starlin Castro (23 years old). Tanaka would clearly step into a role where he would have to carry a below-average team to the apex of his division. The NL Central has the Reds, Cardinals, and Pirates. They all made the playoffs. The Cubs didn’t, and won’t play in October for another five years. Unless Tanaka wants to begin his Major League career below .400, the Yankees are the stronger team.

Regarding environment, the Cubs have an advantage. New York city is big. Millions of people live in Manhattan alone, and New Yorkers are not known for patience, especially the Yankees organization. The team wants to win NOW. If Tanaka struggles out of the gate, the pressure could become suffocating. Meanwhile, the Cubs aren’t in a rush to win this year. Their main core of players are young, and the team can afford for Tanaka to settle in for a year or two. The Cubs can be more accommodating to Tanaka, and can monitor his first season closely.

Call me biased, but I think the Yankees are a better fit. Tanaka won 24 games last season, the Cubs won 66, and the Yankees won 85. Those numbers speak for themselves. In the end, it’s Tanaka’s choice, based on factors that have been calculated for months. No matter what the Yankees, Cubs, or we the fans do, nothing can change his opinion. We just hope he picks our city.

Topics: Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

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  • Austin Reardon

    I WILL call you biased. 1. The Cubs are trying to sell Tanaka on their prospects Baez,Bryant,Soler,Almora,etc. not their current team 2. The Cubs wont take 5 years to get to the playoffs 2-3 tops. 3. Tanaka will sign a 6-7 year contract meaning that you need to look at the farm systems of each team. The Yankees have very little great talent in their system meaning that they will have to spend a lot of money to be competitive 5 years from now. The Cubs on the otherhand have one of if not the best system in the game.

    • MB923

      I love how fans of teams with very good farms think all their prospects will pan out and make their team a legit contender. Just 2-3 years ago, the Yankees had a top 10 farm. It took a minor hit when Jesus Montero was traded and then took a big hit last year when some key players got hurt.

      Depending upon your entire farm to build a team takes A Lot of luck. Besides, the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are all better than the Cubs. They are not even close to competing for a wild card!

      Yankees will be better in 2014 and I’m not sure why you’re predicting how competitive a team will be in 5 years from now.

      Yankees > Cubs, and if it came down to 1 of those 2 teams and if Tanaka wanted to win right away, he’d be wiser to choose the Yankees

      The Dodgers are better than both teams and I think he’d be better off picking them of he wants to go to a competitive team not just for 2014, but for the next couple of years too

      • Austin Reardon

        I agree that right now Yankees > Cubs but every starting position player on the Yankeesis over 30 so how long can they keep that up if they sign Tanaka to a 6-7 year deal. I know not every Cubs prospect will pan out but if 1 or 2 can they can compete in 2-3 years

        • MB923

          Older teams have proven to be much more successful than younger teams. The oldest team in the majors right now is the Red Sox believe it or not. And as we know they are the defending champs

          IMO the best team for Tanaka is the Dodgers. Even if they are the team who least needs him

          Aren’t most of the Cubs top prospects position players anyway? Just wondering. Because their current pitching is very thin. One big reason of course they want Tanaka

          • Austin Reardon

            The Dodgers are the best team for Tanaka…lets face it put him on that team and you might as well just give them the world series trophy.

            The Cubs are thin on pitching in their system. They’ve been able to get some the last 2 years from Texas: Johnson, Edwards, Ramirez, but they need Tanaka.

            To say that old teams are better because the defending champs are old is ridiculous…look at the Phillies, last years Yankees, Angels

          • MB923

            I didn’t say all of the oldest teams are the best. I said the older teams tend to have the most success and much more than the younger teams. Yankees have been an old team for years and missed the playoffs just the 2nd time in the last 19 years.

            How is the Cubs farm system so high if it’s thin in pitching? If it’s thin in pitching, then I really can’t expect them to be a competitor

          • Austin Reardon

            That’s why they’re pushing hard for Tanaka, additionally they have 4th pick in the draft and will likely take a pitcher. They will probably have another poor year in 2014 meaning they will probably have another top 10 pick in 2015 to pick another pitcher

          • William

            I am with you Austin. To answer the question “how long can the Yankees keep it up if they sign Tanaka?” as long as they want right? They have been doing what they do for 30 years. I love the approach they take. Tanaka will sign with the Yanks no matter what the Cubs or Dodgers do. He has always wanted the Yankees. The bidding has driven up his potential contract. Prediction. Tanaka in the Pin Stripes. Thank you Steinbrenners.

          • Steve B.

            I hope he chooses the Yankees, but the Dodgers are the best fit.
            Imagine the rotation they would have with Tanaka joining Kershaw and Grienke.
            If the money is equal, the Dodgers and LA offer more amenities than NY or Chicago.

    • jim perez

      Chicago is a vast baseball waste land. No Chicago team will threaten a World Series appearance in most of our lifetimes

  • BrooklynPaulie

    Uuuuuuuhhhh, did the Dodgers,D’Backs & White Sox bow out? Where are you getting your info that it’s a two team race???

    • Steve B.

      Exactly, the Dodgers should not be counted out. They are the best fit, if the money is equal.
      LA offers too many amenities that NY and Chicago can’t. Plus the Dodgers’ rotation with Tanaka added to it would be amazing.

  • Justin

    Where is this information coming from? As a Yankee fan i would love for this to be true because Tanaka will go to the Yankees over the Cubs any day. But there is no way the Dodgers are out of this. I would really like to know where this information came from.

    • roy

      Exactly on point, Justin. I appreciate the contribution of this article, but you cannot start out with a statement like the competition is down to the Yankees and Cubs. Even if this proves true, your guess at this stage is pure supposition. How can anyone know what Tanaka wants in leaving Japan for the USA? I will not go further with the variables, but to say that Masahiro Tanaka and Casey Close are not done as yet and may well be going around to any number of teams that he would like to play for and asking for a more attractive bid at this very moment. This could even include a team such as the SF Giants or Anaheim Angels, who have not yet made serious bids.

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