The Sure-Fire Way To Get Masahiro Tanaka Signed

Jeff Sullivan · January 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

With Robinson Cano, it was pretty easy. A big market didn’t exist, and Cano’s previous employer didn’t show enough desire to keep him around, and Cano, in the end, just wanted to be wanted. Wanted and made to be super rich. So the Mariners just waltzed on up, promised Cano a quarter of everything they had, and there was a deal. Quickly, far more quickly than anyone imagined, the Mariners got a free-agent Cano locked down.

It’s going to be more tricky with Masahiro Tanaka. Lots of teams want Tanaka. Everybody wants Tanaka. He’s just the right blend of talented, young, and mysterious. The market realistically couldn’t be bigger, so it’s not like the Mariners can position themselves as Tanaka’s only good option. But the Mariners want Tanaka, and kind of need him, in the sense that they’d like to win in 2014. It would be a hell of a challenge for the Mariners to get Tanaka to pick them over the competition. But thankfully everything they need to know about how to proceed they can learn from VH1’s The Pickup Artist.

Open a set
The Mariners need to arrange for a face-to-face meeting. They should go through Tanaka’s agent, and request the presence of his wife and any other associates. At no point should the Mariners reveal the purpose of the meeting, even if it seems obvious on the surface.

Every baseball team that engages in a meeting is represented by guys in expensive suits and polo shirts. The Mariners need to zig where others zag, since, after all, the purpose is to stand out. The Mariners’ representatives should leave the suits and polos and sweater-vests at home. They should wear jerseys, flashy jerseys, with hats and various accessories of some intrigue. Any amount of captured interest is captured interest.

False time constraint
Right away, the Mariners should say they don’t have real long, because they have to get to other important pieces of business. It’ll convey that they have other important business, and it’ll help the other parties feel like they won’t be sitting around all day. It’ll make the meeting seem more “breezy”.

For much of the first part of the meeting, the Mariners should all but ignore Masahiro Tanaka entirely. They should engage the others in conversation, and recite lighthearted, rehearsed storytelling to make them feel at ease. At one point Jack Zduriencik should take a phone call and say, “sorry, one minute, it’s Ervin’s agent.” He should talk for at least 12 minutes.

When the Mariners do begin actually speaking with Tanaka himself, one of the things someone should say is, “seems like you have good stuff. Almost as good as Ubaldo’s.”

Casual touching
As conversational chemistry with Tanaka builds, Mariners representatives should make sure to exchange several high-fives and fist-bumps with him. A good idea might be to demonstrate the sorts of elaborate dugout high-fives that are popular in the American game today. This will begin to establish a physical connection, and that, in turn, will help develop trust.

Neuro-linguistic programming
This is all about getting inside Tanaka’s head, without his even realizing it. As the Mariners talk about the benefits of playing stateside, for each they should designate a specific gesture signal. Then, later, as the Mariners are talking about their own organization and future, they should roll out the same subtle gesture signals. Tanaka will subconsciously link benefits with the Mariners franchise.

Indicators of interest
As the meeting continues, the Mariners will be focused on getting things done before they stand back up. But before they move in for the close, they need to wait to observe at least three indicators of interest from Tanaka. This could be initiating another high-five sequence, or leaning in closer to the table, or breaking a pause in conversation, or asking specific questions about what it would be like to be a Japanese superstar in a Mariners uniform down the road. Once there are at least three IOI, Tanaka’s heavy interest will be confirmed.

The Mariners don’t leave without a signed contract. After the observation of sufficient IOI, the Mariners should begin negotiating contract terms, reassuring Tanaka that he’s not going to find a better situation or a more supportive partner. Tanaka will agree and proceed, because he will have become intrigued by the Mariners, and because he would have developed a connection with them unlike any connection he might have developed with another front office. The Mariners will thus have their man, in ink, and their corresponding significant boost in playoff odds. It literally can’t not work.


20 Responses to “The Sure-Fire Way To Get Masahiro Tanaka Signed”

  1. Mr. Egaas on January 13th, 2014 11:20 pm

    I was thinking more of the following.

    Demonstrate value
    Engage physically
    Nurture dependence
    Neglect emotionally
    Inspire hope
    Separate entirely

  2. smb on January 13th, 2014 11:22 pm

    I love it, Jeff, love it, love it, love it.

    It just needs to be tweaked ever so slightly. You have to exclude Lincoln from being present…if he goes to high five someone, disaster will ensue. He’ll probably blind someone, or at least end up missing their hand entirely and smacking them in the face.

    Also, be sure to greet Tanaka and his representatives with a gift bag of oranges, which are rare there.

  3. taylor.mariner on January 13th, 2014 11:24 pm

    Wow… that’s better than Costanza’s roomate switch.

  4. Mathball on January 13th, 2014 11:32 pm

    Here I thought the article was going to be about sending Tony La Russa to sign Tanaka.

  5. JG on January 13th, 2014 11:51 pm

    Mariners baseball is so lucky to have Jeff.

  6. dnc on January 14th, 2014 12:12 am

    The Pickup Artist was wildly underrated. Endless comedy in that show. Well done, sir.

  7. RaoulDuke37 on January 14th, 2014 12:39 am

    John Buck! John Buck! John Buck! Holy…

  8. californiamariner on January 14th, 2014 1:10 am

    If all else fails, go to option B: the Cano. Offer way more money than anybody else. That always works!

  9. PitchersRule on January 14th, 2014 2:04 am

    If Mr. Tanaka should bring his wife, Japanese actress and pop diva Mai Satoda, then the key will be convincing the power couple Seattle is a very kewl, hip-hopping place to live and work. A close direct flight home, as she no doubt has many professional commitments in Tokyo… Where as the Yankees may call on Lady Gaga to so dramatically remind the couple how sexy and hip NYC is.
    I think the great hope is they don’t like LA (an obvious cultural marketplace) and then reject NY as too far away for the frequent flights Mai will need to sustain their marriage. I believe Seattle has a strong, at least moderately strong, chance, due to its location and generally very kewl ambiance. It ain’t over untill the gorgeous Mai Satoda sings!

  10. sp_da_man on January 14th, 2014 5:36 am

    From reports it sounds like Tanaka’s pop singer wife has some influence on the decision as to where he signs. I think the Mariners need to get Mariners fan & rap megastar Macklemore involved. Maybe some “under the table” deal for a duet would seal the deal. If she wants a “harder” edge maybe we get Soundgarden to help the M’s out. It’s time to think outside the box on this one!

  11. killeverything on January 14th, 2014 5:52 am

    @ Sp_da_man, You could be on to something, they could always get her a flannel shirt and tell her “this is where it all began.”

  12. maqman on January 14th, 2014 6:09 am

    Play the Nintendo card. They sign her to a $25 million personal services deal and he gets $100 million from the M’s, plus they both get games created for each of them. Get the Nintendo CEO to make the pitch at their home.

  13. robbbbbb on January 14th, 2014 7:42 am

    Gaaaaah, that was creepy. Good writing, Jeff. You made me want to crawl out of my skin.

  14. Westside guy on January 14th, 2014 8:01 am

    Macklemore? Soundgarden? We’re not talking about someone in their forties…

  15. Johnny Slick on January 14th, 2014 11:05 am

    This post is a TRAVESHAMOCKERY.

  16. TheBird on January 14th, 2014 11:20 am

    Perhaps hiring a couple of ex-Mariner countrymen as consultants could be arranged. Specifically, Ichiro should design/recommend the peacocking attire. And I would love to see what Mune could do with the neuro-linguistic programming.

  17. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2014 12:06 pm

    This was one of the funniest reads I’ve seen in a longtime. Practically an article for The Onion.

    Thanks Jeff.

    Just the image of Jack Z in an oversized jersey, with a baseball hat on backwards, high-fiving guys, was worth the price of admission.

    I think you left off an obvious point though– get Jay Z and Cano involved. Pretty sure they can be more believable in the hat, jersey, high-fives department.

  18. MrZDevotee on January 14th, 2014 12:08 pm

    In the true baseball world, John Morosi reports the M’s are about to sign John Buck. Decent move.

  19. SeattleSlew on January 14th, 2014 3:07 pm

    Yay for Mr. Buck! I had read somewhere about a month ago that the M’s were working a deal with him but I didn’t take it seriously. I think it’s a solid move.

  20. stevemotivateir on January 14th, 2014 3:13 pm

    Are people really getting excited about signing Buck? It’s not the worst move, but would anyone feel good about him in a starting role if Zunino were to spend more time in Tacoma?

    Not I!

    Still waiting for that outfielder we’ve been expecting. Guti doesn’t count.

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