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Levine: Cubs Could Be Future Contenders If They Sign Tanaka

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Masahiro Tanaka. (Credit:  JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images))

Masahiro Tanaka. (Credit: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images))

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By Bruce Levine-

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS) – The tide could turn for the Chicago Cubs if they can find the resources to sign Japanese pitcher Masashiro Tanaka this off-season. Tanaka is the subject of a tug of war between major league baseball and the Japanese leagues as they try to hammer out an agreement on the tricky posting system.

In a published article that ran Monday, the assumption was stated that the Cubs will not have the resources they need to sign Tanaka and pay what is expected to be a $20 million posting fee to the pitcher’s Japanese team. GM Jed Hoyer took exception to others understanding the Cubs economic strategy for now and the future.

“What people are speculating about our resources are not based on any kind of facts,” Hoyer said. “There are very few people that know exactly what we have resources to do and obviously we will keep that internal. We will never talk about what we have to spend because it doesn’t help you competing.”

The signing of a young pitcher like Tanaka could push up the team’s realistic time table to compete for a championship. If you add the young pitcher to quality arms like Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija you can start to see a competitive rotation that could be projected for the future.

In the National League a team can win in a hurry with a solid pitching staff. Chicago has some arms coming that will be added to the mix (Edwards and Johnson ) in the not to distant future.

A statement can be made here with a major move in order to lift fan and player spirits on the North Side. If the Cubs are really tapped out due to the money they owe on the sale to former owner Sam Zell, how did they bid $77.5 million for Anibal Sanchez last year? Riddle me this, where did the find $52 million to sign Edwin Jackson with an $8 million signing bonus?

The Cubs do not like tipping their hand when it comes to the free agent market. This one is simple: pay the money without surrendering any players. Epstein and Hoyer were all about being bold in their championship years in Boston. A bold move is needed now in Chicago.

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