Updated 11:54 AM EST, Sat, Mar 06, 2021

MLB Free Agency 2014: Yankees, Dodgers Still Favorites In Masahiro Tanaka Bidding, But Cubs Still Chasing Japanese Pitcher

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The bidding war for Masahiro Tanaka will come to an end soon, but several teams are making their last push to convince the Japanese pitcher to play with them in the 2014 MLB season.

Fox Sports MLB analyst Ken Rosenthal revealed that the Chicago Cubs are still in play for Tanaka with sources saying that the club is still pushing hard to land the 25-year-old pitcher.

Since the bidding war for Tanaka started, both Chicago teams -- the Cubs and the White Sox -- were considered as dark horses in the chase. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers are viewed as the most likely landing spots for Tanaka.

The White Sox confirmed earlier this month that they have already talked to Tanaka, but the meeting was more of an exploratory talk. Since then, the White Sox have been quiet when it comes to the possibility of acquiring Tanaka.

The Cubs, on the other hand, are aware that signing Tanaka is a long shot, but they are not yet ready to raise the white flag.

Sources said that the Cubs are high on Tanaka despite the fact that the former Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher will not be a cure-all solution to their roster holes. Signing the right-hander is viewed as a strategy to draw more fans next season, while they continue to retool their roster.

The Cubs are planning to make Tanaka the cornerstone of their rotation, pairing him up with their young sets of bats currently playing in the minors when they reach the majors.

Analysts believe that teaming Tanaka with promising hitters, which includes Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Albert Amora, and Javier Baez, could make the Cubs a serious threat if Tanaka lives up to his billing.

Tanaka, who posted an ERA of 1.27 during his 24-0 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles last year, is expected to ask for a contract worth more than $100 million. Some teams are reportedly dangling an offer worth $140 million, but the potential financial implications of acquiring Tanaka are not expected to be a hurdle for the Cubs.

"Tanaka's long-term potential could result in a record-breaking deal, but that doesn't appear to be a major hurdle for the Cubs. League revenues are at an all-time high, and the team's current internal options for building a competitive rotation in the near future are somewhat underwhelming. Signing Tanaka would be a good way to begin addressing that issue," Philly.com reported.

Tanaka is expected to announce his decision on Jan. 24 before the 5 p.m. EST deadline.

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