Chicago has been rumored to covet Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka this offseason. They would have to pay a big price to acquire him, as the team would first have to win the bidding when he is posted and then sign him to a big contract. The total cost of signing Tanaka could approach $150 million.
The Cubs chased some of last year's top flight free agent pitchers, agreeing to a deal with Edwin Jackson and coming very close to locking up Anibal Sanchez. However, the signing of Jackson is one the team appears to regret, as Epstein told the Chicago Sun-Times:
"We got a little ahead of ourselves. We’re not perfect. We didn’t fully understand the scope of our situation, the overall situation with the timing of our business plan, the timing of our facilities and the timing of our baseball plan."
Furthermore, the Cubs are looking for an arm at the back of their bullpen as they are currently without an established closer. Kevin Gregg will likely leave in free agency, and Carlos Marmol was traded early in 2013. The Cubs see Pedro Strop as a possible closer, but will keep an eye on the free agent market.