The Los Angeles Dodgers held a press conference at Dodger Stadium this morning to formally announce the signing of left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw. Just two days ago it was reported the two sides were in agreement on a seven-year, $215 million contract, which was the richest deal signed by a pitcher in MLB history.
While the news will give Dodger fans room to breathe a huge sigh of relief, it’s the pursuit of Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka that everyone is turning their attention to. Speaking at the press conference, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was asked where things stood in their chase:
I’ve talked to Casey, not yesterday, but everyday this week and we’ll talk some again this week.
Casey is of course agent Casey Close, who not only represents Tanaka, but also other Dodgers including Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Prior to the Kershaw extension, there were reports that the Dodgers would “go all-in” for the Japanese pitcher, but its been hard to gauge their true interest.
Once the Kershaw deal was reportedly agreed to on Wednesday a report surfaced that management was still interested in adding another starting pitcher and that ownership would have final say about Tanaka. Also on their reported short list of starters is free agent starter Bronson Arroyo, who they had reported interest before signing Dan Haren.
In the past day, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, have both been seen as threats to steal Tanaka away from the Dodgers and New York Yankees who are the presumed co-favorites. With reports that he wants to play on the West Coast, it sounds like the Dodgers are the last option since the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners are both reportedly out.
At 2 pm PST today, Tanaka will have exactly one week to decide where he wants to pitch and sounds like things will continue to heat up over the weekend. Stay tuned.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw agreed to a record-breaking contract extension