Tanaka-san Wants a Japanese-Friendly U.S. City
City of Entrepreneurs, Dept.


This from MLB Trade Rumors:

  • The Cubs are the "lead team" for Tanaka, a source tells Levine (via Twitter).
  • The Cubs have made a "real offer" to Tanaka, tweets 670TheScore.com's Bruce Levine, who also notes that one key factor for Tanaka and his wife will be the presence of a Japanese community in his new city. On Thursday, we heard that the Cubs were "pushing hard" for Tanaka, and Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on the "sales pitch" the Cubs made to Tanaka last week.

The operative phrase being, --- > "and his wife."   Probably some of you amigos is married.  :- )

If you were moving to, say, Mongolia, maybe your wife signed off on it with "Can we at least get an area that speaks a little English somewhere?"  We went through this with Kenji Johjima, who early on signalled a desire similar to Tanaka's.

Seattle not only has a vibrant Japanese community, but the area has a climate and green environment that is quite a bit like Japan's.  A player like Johjima-san is going to visit Seattle, tour the markets, etc., and come away smiling broadly.  The Mariners, of course, were well aware of this before the Tanaka free-for-all ever got started. 

The city of Chicago, on the other hand, not only LOOKS way different from Seattle -- and not in a good way -- but from what I can tell seems to draw a fair amount of complaints for being Asian UN-friendly.  The city is liberal, sure, as Seattle and Japan are, but that is about where the list of positives would begin and end.

Tanaka and his wife aren't going to VISIT Neptune; they're going to LIVE ON Neptune.  If they're the type of family who have a preference as to which city on Neptune, that's big for the Mariners.

And, for Kenji Johjima, there was also the factor that Seattle is 5 hours closer to Japan than is Boston.


The M's have been quiet here, not quiet in the sense of "uninterested" but quiet in the sense of "stealthy."  Probably, they're waiting for their time with Tanaka, and then they're going to treat him and his wife quietly, with dignity and respect, and allow him to tour the city on his terms.

Then, provided their offer is comparable to the other offers, they would logically have a position on the rail.  Tanaka-san is a player who (reportedly) cares about Japan-like living conditions.

This article brought to you by the number 26.  (Here is a little Japanese article, translated, on his winning streak.  He last lost a game on August 19, 2012, from which date we appropriated the Dilbert strip above.)  The Major League Equivalency (MLE) of 26-0, 1.27 would be what ... like, 21-4, 2.08.  

We'll settle.  ;- )




I've lived in both cities, seven years in Seattle and now 14 years in Chicago (married to an Asian woman), after stints in Berlin, Nürnberg, Philly and NYC. I don't think the answer is quite that simple. Some cities make you feel at home, some don't. That's different for every person. Seattle is nothing like Tokyo - much more like a regional city in Japan in terms of size and feel. In Seattle, my perception was that the expatriate and "Third culture kids" community was very small, whereas in Chicago it feels much larger. I don't know much about Tanaka the person, so I can't say where his preferences lie. I would love for Tanaka to land in Seattle, since my sports loyalties are to the Mariners and Huskies, but I wouldn't put too much weight on the differences between Chicago and Seattle without knowing much more about Tanaka the person.


Cubbies are pretenders here. Or perhaps the best phrase is "bid fodder?"
Anyway: Dodgers and Yanks (if the LAD have any yen left) are my current favs. Mostly Yanks.
M's and LAA are still in the hunt.
I actually LIKE the fact that the M's are relatively unmentioned, as of late. Stealth still rules the night.
Bring him in (or, bring HER in). Sake 'em and dine 'em.
We ain't done. Yanks are leading the horse race at this point, but the M's are still lurking as we come around the clubhouse turn.
Cubbies' early speed is about to flounder.

drm's picture

Doesn't that just mean the M's haven't announced that they made an offer? I took that to mean some teams were saying they made offers but not all are saying one way or the other?

IcebreakerX's picture

I would like to think the M's are in stealth mode, but this is eerily similar to the Darvish Posting.
Which means we will be disappointed and the M's will go into the season with half a rotation and a barely functioning offense. Hooray.


...but I got the impression from the article in question that these offers had to be announced by some predetermined date that has already passed. Why would the Mariners' offer not have been announced?
Nope...I have a sinking suspicion that the Mariners saw the early action on Tanaka and bowed out.


If they're pursuing a solid MOR starter like Baker on the cheap...it implies that they're not in on Tanaka. And you know what? I *love* the idea of Baker in Seattle. A flyball guy like that with good command and a high K-rate is a perfect cheap reclamation project for this club. You don't have to spend all your cookies now...you don't have to commit super-long-term and block up your soon-to-be-overcrowded rotation, and he's got a TON of WAR/$ upside.


Whether it's Baker and Aardsma, who should be ready for opening day, or O'Flaherty and Hanrahan, who might not be at full strength 'til July, it would seem the Ms could hit paydirt if even one of them panned out - and the TJ recovery rate is getting near 90%, with about half throwing better than before. And if O'Flaherty and Hanrahan (an Irish law firm?) aren't ready, they still can help the young guys in the bullpen 'til they're ready for some work at Tacoma. This is an area where value lies, if the Ms are willing to take a few risks. But signing just one guy doesn't make sense - if you sign 3 or 4, the odds of 1 or 2 being useful are VERY high.


Baker, I mean. No problem here if he's a fallback position. He doesn't beat the world but doesn't break the bank.
He's not my first choice...but he's gettable at low cost.


the reason you can't go sign all the risky guys is that you have to get them onto your roster if you keep them. Our 40 man is pretty full last I checked. If you have to cough someone up, you'd better be darned certain that the guy who's ousting him is better.

IcebreakerX's picture

No clue how M's Leadership can view Cano as a cost effective sign at 240/10 and not view Darvish in 2011 or Tanaka this year as cost effective.
And jackpots like Iwakuma don't count either. HE'S the one who was slotted at 5 and came up Ace. That's just luck. Nothing more, nothing less.

okdan's picture

Great read, and I agree with all of it. I grew up and lived in Seattle my entire life, but have been in Chicago the past 3 years. Chicago may not have the same ratio of Japanese population to total pop, but in absolute numbers the community may well be larger. It's just such a larger city than Seattle, as you point out. It's a "big city" just a tick down from NY. If that's the environment he likes, Chicago wouldn't be a bad pick. But if he's visited Chicago in the past few weeks, the weather probably hasn't helped their pitch.... I'm sure Theo insisted on an LA location for their visit :)

OBF's picture

Per this post the Cubs are willing to go 8/200 for Tanaka!!!  Even I wouldn't be ok with the M's bidding like that...  Seriously how would that make Felix feel if we went out and paid more years and same cash for an unproven MLB "Ace", and yes until he has done it in the majors Tanaka is still unproven and hasn't earned the unquoted ace label...
I know that Tanaka looks like a slam dunk, but...  geez that is a crazy amount of money...
If the M's got word that bidding would get to this range it doesnt suprise me in the least that they bowed out early on and went look for alternatives like Baker and i can't say I blame them...

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