Saturday, January 18, 2014

With a week to go, we'll see if the Dodgers really want Tanaka

Now that Clayton Kershaw is officially $215 million richer, the Dodgers, along with many other teams in baseball, are turning their attention to the top free agent, Masahiro Tanaka.

And if you thought the Dodgers would be priced out of the bidding war, think again.

Teams have until next Friday, January 24 to reach a deal with Tanaka after they have posted the $20 million fee.  What kind of deal will he receive?  It's hard to accurately pinpoint, but it's not out of the question to see him rake in over $100 million.

What's also hard to pinpoint is exactly how much interest the Dodgers have in Tanaka.  Or more specifically, how much they're willing out outbid other teams like the Cubs, White Sox, and Yankees.  Those are the teams we know about, but there could be more.  On Tanaka's side, he's given virtually no indication which way he's leaning, so he's playing it right down the middle through all of this.

Ken Gurnick (the guy who wouldn't vote for Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine...) on seems to think that the Dodgers will be in on Tanaka, but won't go overboard.  They seem more likely to extend Hanley Ramirez than pour more bucks into a pitcher.  He's not so sure Tanaka would want to "blend in" on a star studded Dodger team; he'd rather be the front and center star on another team, which is certainly his right.  Ramirez has his drawbacks because of past maturity issues and current injuries, but as Gurnick point out, he still finished eighth in the NL MVP voting despite playing in only 86 games.  That says it all about his massive talent right there.

If I had to guess, I'll say that Tanaka ends up with the Cubs.  Lord knows they need an injection of life, and if Theo Epstein is looking to do that, he'll dish out the cash to get him.  The only way the Dodgers end up with him is if other teams become too reluctant to make a big deal.

If the Dodgers do end up with Tanaka, then that is an absolutely lethal starting rotation of Kershaw, Tanaka, Zack Greinke, Hyun Jin-Ryu, and take your pick between Josh Beckett, Dan Haren, and Chad Billingsley.  Let's just say pitching depth won't be a problem.

Keep an eye on the news over the next week, as is on top of all of this, as it's an excellent site year round for baseball news.

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