The Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes is underway and numerous teams will be lobbying for his services. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Yankees and Mariners are just a few teams that are interested in acquiring the Japanese right-hander, but no team sticks out as a clear favorite. It’s been speculated that he would like to sign with a team that would be closer to his home in Japan, giving all the teams 0n the West Coast an advantage.
Former major league manager Bobby Valentine spent five years in Japan managing the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Valentine has familiarity with Japanese players and was able to watch Tanaka pitch several times. Valentine believes Tanaka would be better suited pitching in the National League for a team in the West Coast, so weather won’t be factor for him. He’s also very high on Tanaka and believes he bares some resemblance to reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins.
While this doesn’t make the Dodgers the clear favorite, it’s positive news. The Dodgers can offer great weather and Los Angeles is much closer to Japan in comparison to New York or Texas. The Dodgers also have the deep pockets to sign Tanaka, so that shouldn’t be a factor if they truly want to add the 25-year-old right hander. By adding Tanaka, the Dodgers would easily have the best rotation in baseball.
The Dodgers still have some pending contract extensions with Hanley Ramirez and Clayton Kershaw, which could cause the Dodgers to rethink adding another $100 million contract on the payroll, but there’s no denying the addition of Tanaka would increase the chances of winning a World Series title for the first time since 1988.
Dodgers Nation News
Los Angeles Dodgers: Projecting the 2014 Batting Order [Bleacher Report]
Yanks and Dodgers Know Tanaka’s Agent Well [New York Times]
Dodgers Add Former Players To Media Team [NBC Southern California]
Los Angeles Dodgers: New Year’s Resolutions In 2014 [Bleacher Report]
Angels the favorite to sign Mark Mulder [Hardball Talk]
Choo unveiled by Rangers; Cruz era over? [ESPN]
Tanaka may prove to be high-yield investment [MLB.com]
Cubs, reliever Veras agree to 1-yr. deal [Yahoo]
Mets still shopping Ike Davis to Orioles, Brewers, Pirates [Hardball Talk]
ICYMI: The Dodgers signed reliever Chris Perez to a one-year deal