After finalizing four contracts yesterday afternoon, Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he’s “pretty much done” constructing the roster for the 2014 season. The Dodgers added three bullpen pieces and filled the hole at third base, but besides adding another utility infielder, the wheeling and dealing might be over.
However, Colletti was asked about a potential pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, granted he was posted. While he wouldn’t say much yesterday, he might be changing his tune now that the 25-year-0ld was posted according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
Evaluating Tanaka’s contributions in the seven years since joining the franchise, owner Hiroshi Mikitani accepted his wish to challenge himself in the major leagues and decided to petition for him to be posted, Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana said, according to Japanese news reports
Now that it’s official and Tanaka will be coming over to the states, the Dodgers are among a group of four or five teams with supposed interest. The Yankees, Cubs and possibly the Diamondbacks have all made Tanaka their number one target, but it remains to be seen who is the favorite.
There have been reports suggesting he wants to pitch on the west coast, giving the Dodgers a significant advantage in negotiations. With a rotation that could us another arm, it’s a no-brainer for them to post the $20 release fee and talk with the Japanese pitcher. During his final season in Japan, Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and had scouts labeling him the next international superstar.
In the past two off-seasons, the Dodgers have signed three international talents in Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alexander Guerrero as they’ve re-dedicated resources to scouting overseas. Puig and Ryu exceeded expectations in 2013 while there are high hopes Guerrero can become the Dodgers everyday second baseman in 2014.
Colletti left the door open about a possible Tanaka pursuit and with people around baseball waiting for a signature move from the Dodgers, outbidding everyone for his services would certainly count as that.
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