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Cubs could throw hat in ring for Tanaka

Cubs could throw hat in ring for Tanaka

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Cubs could throw hat in ring for Tanaka

The Cubs joined the list of teams interested in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

"We've done our work on him," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters on Monday in Orlando, Fla., at the General Manager Meetings. "We plan on being part of it."

Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular-season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball were discussing potential changes to the posting-fee agreement. No matter what is decided, Tanaka may not fit in the Cubs' budget, especially with the Yankees and Dodgers reportedly interested in the right-hander.

Tanaka is the most sought-after Japanese pitcher since Yu Darvish signed with the Rangers prior to the 2012 season. Texas paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters a $51.7 million posting fee and then signed Darvish to a six-year, $60 million contract.

The Cubs also have a pitcher whose name has been talked about this offseason, and that's Jeff Samardzija, who has been mentioned in trade rumors with the Nationals and D-backs.

"Teams will certainly inquire about him," Hoyer said. "He's really proved over the last two years that he has great stuff. He's a tough competitor."

The Cubs and Samardzija have talked about a possible long-term deal. The right-hander is under club control for two more seasons. He's coming off his first full season as a starter, and he was 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA and 214 strikeouts over 213 2/3 innings.

"There could be rumors," Hoyer said. "Jeff has the perfect mentality for that. He just doesn't pay attention. I think it's somewhat the nature of being in a big market. You are going to have your name out there."

The Cubs are in the market for pitching, hoping to add another starter and some bullpen help, including a closer, this offseason.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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