The Cubs appealed to the ego, telling Anibal Sanchez he would be their primary building block – and not just another guy behind Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer with the Detroit Tigers.

The Cubs likely read from a similar script during their sales pitch to Masahiro Tanaka.

Last winter, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and chairman Tom Ricketts sat down at a Miami restaurant with Sanchez, his wife and his agent. The same day, general manager Jed Hoyer and then-manager Dale Sveum met with Edwin Jackson in Newport Beach, Calif.

Cubs fans already know how that turned out, and it’s worth remembering with Friday’s deadline approaching for Tanaka to make The Decision.

Tanaka’s camp, led by agent Casey Close, has instructed teams to keep this a confidential process. After a false report leaked on Twitter that the Cubs had made a deal with Sanchez (five years, $75 million), the Tigers stepped up with a five-year, $80 million contract in December 2012.

When the Tigers visited U.S. Cellular Field last August, Sanchez refused to talk about that sit-down, which only reinforced the perception he was using the Cubs for leverage.

Inside a visiting clubhouse filled with All-Stars, Sanchez brushed off his Boston Red Sox connections. (Hoyer helped engineer that Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell trade with the Florida Marlins during Epstein’s leave of absence in 2005.) Sanchez also dismissed a question about the long-range business/baseball vision at Wrigley Field.