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Cubs reportedly submitted formal offer for Tanaka

Yanks, White Sox, D-backs and Dodgers also among teams in hunt for righty

CHICAGO -- Five teams have reportedly submitted formal offers for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to make his decision by next Friday.

Nikkan Sports reported the five teams include the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and D-backs. All of the bids were believed to be more than $100 million and over six years.

On Saturday, fans at the Cubs Convention asked president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer for an update on talks with Tanaka, and Hoyer said they would not comment on negotiations. The Cubs did have a contingent meet with Tanaka and his representatives in Los Angeles, where they explained the vision of the team.

"There are lots of teams out there who have interest," Epstein said. "We'll just have to see how it plays out."

The Cubs have not spent heavily on free agents this offseason as the team continues its rebuilding process and waits for impact prospects such as Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant to arrive to the big leagues. Although the team wasn't able to generate additional revenue from a new video scoreboard -- part of Wrigley Field's renovation plan -- the resources are there if needed, said Crane Kenney, president of business operations.

"We're a really fortunate team to have the resources we do," Kenney said Saturday at the convention. "The choices we're making are ones we're making with a lot of input and these are Theo's choices, this is the way we're going to build this thing. We're committed to it.

"We hear the fans, that they would like to see improvement at the Major League level," Kenney said. "The improvement is going to come, but it's going to come through the system. Resources are available, and we are busy -- I'm not going to comment on Tanaka or anyone else, that's really Theo's area -- but we have resources and when we need them, they'll be there."

Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The team that wins the right-hander will have to pay Rakuten a posting fee of $20 million over two years. The bidding for Tanaka will end at 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 24.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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