After feeling the price for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was too high, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still in the market to add a starting pitcher. With uncertainty surrounding penciled in fifth starter Josh Beckett after he underwent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery last season, it isn’t known what the 33-year-old pitcher has left.
Chad Billingsley is also due back, but not until late-May or early June after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of last season. After being linked to free agent Bronson Arroyo, the Dodgers are reportedly one of five teams to express interest in this free agent starter according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com:
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 27, 2014
The starting pitching market stood at a standstill as Tanaka made his decision, but there’s been some movement as Matt Garza signed with the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon. Along with Ervin Santana, Arroyo and Ubaldo Jimenez remain as the Tier B starters with several teams looking to sign another starter.
After a rough 2012 season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Santana was traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league reliever Brandon Sisk. With the Royals, the 31-year-old pitcher went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA, but improved his control with a 3.16 K/BB rate, 127 ERA+ and had a 2.9 WAR.
However, Santana is reportedly seeking a four-year deal for $60 million after initially seeking over $100 million when free agency began. For the Dodgers, signing him doesn’t make much sense since they’d have to surrender their first-round draft pick to sign him and they’d be better served seeing what Beckett or Billingsley can provide.
If either player falters, the Dodgers can turn to Stephen Fife, Matt Magill or let prospect Zach Lee break into the majors. As noted earlier, the Dodgers and Arroyo have had talks since Tanaka signed with the Yankees, but it remains to be seen how active the organization will be in the starting pitcher market.
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