Tanaka has reportedly expressed an interest to sign with a club in New York, Los Angeles, or Boston, but the Cubs remain involved in the bidding war for his services.
The team isn't considered a serious contender for 2014, but Tanaka could be a draw for fans next season, and more importantly, he could be the cornerstone for their rotation over the next few seasons as their prospects reach the majors.
Chicago has one of the most highly-acclaimed farm systems in baseball, featuring many of the top position players in the minors. A lineup featuring the promising bats of Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Amora, and Kris Bryant might not be far away. If general manager Jed Hoyer can find a way to pair that group with a solid pitching staff, the Cubs could be a real threat during Tanaka's prime.
At just 25 years old, Tanaka's long-term potential could result in a record-breaking deal, but that doesn't appear to be a major hurdle for the Cubs. League revenues are at an all-time high, and the team's current internal options for building a competitive rotation in the near future are somewhat underwhelming. Signing Tanaka would be a good way to begin addressing that issue.