For a while now, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been widely expected as favorites to sign Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka once he’s posted by his team, the Rakuten Eagles.
Tanaka could be a victim of the new posting system that was agreed to by MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball as the Eagles would only receive the $20 million max bid. However, while there might be fear about him not getting posted, many believe he’ll be available once all is said and done. While the Dodgers interest is known, it might not be as strong as it seems according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
The Dodgers are interested in Tanaka, but not with the win-at-all-costs mentality that marked their pursuit of Hyun-jin Ryu last winter, according to two people familiar with the team’s thinking.
With a $20 million max bid, it’d be foolish for the Dodgers not to post the bid, which would allow them the right to exclusively negotiate with the 25-year-old sensation if he so chooses. If multiple teams submit max bids under the new agreement, the player will be able to choose which teams he wants to sign with.
In 2013, Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and many believe he’ll be a top of the rotation arm. The signing of Dan Haren doesn’t take the Dodgers out of the running for a starting pitcher, but it would make sense why they wouldn’t go all out.
Meanwhile, their lukewarm interest in Tanaka would make sense given the fact that there are rumors they’re involved in the David Price sweepstakes. It sounds like the Rays are looking to deal their 28-year-old ace at the winter meetings, but it sounds like the Dodgers are looking to add one of the two.
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