CHICAGO -- The Cubs and White Sox will reportedly meet with Masahiro Tanaka this week, according to Comcast Sportsnet's Luke Stuckmeyer, who says the Japanese pitcher will most likely be in Chicago to check out both teams. Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, is giving the right-hander a tour of the big leagues.
The Cubs declined to comment on the report.
Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who posted the right-hander for a $20 million fee. The bidding for Tanaka will end at 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 24.
There are several teams interested in Tanaka, including the Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners and D-backs. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but at what price? The Japanese pitcher is reportedly seeking a contract that will likely top $100 million.
The Cubs do have Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta for the 2014 rotation, and would like to sign Samardzija to a long-term deal. However, the right-hander, who will be a free agent after the 2015 season, is content to see how things play out.
The White Sox don't comment on rumors as a rule, but certainly wouldn't pass on a chance to meet with a potential impact type player such as Tanaka. The Japanese hurler also would fit the team's reshaping player model of being able to help the team in '14 and certainly help them as the team progresses together.
General manager Rick Hahn stated at the Winter Meetings that the White Sox would be involved in any impact free agent that could assist the team. But it seems unlikely the White Sox would go to the high monetary and years level being guessed at concerning Tanaka.
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.Less