The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing by different rules than every other Major League Baseball team in 2014. Money be damned. History be damned. Economics be damned. The Dodgers might as well be Lil’ Wayne at the Spearmint Rhino in Vegas. Ever since the Guggenheim Baseball Partnership purchased the team from Frank McCourt in 2013 the team has had the following motto: Make it Rain.
It should come as no surprise that the Dodgers are one of the final three teams in contention to acquire the services of Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is, supposedly, one of the greatest talents to ever come out of Japan and his statistics last year back that up. The Japanese righty, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA while pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last year. Those statistics obviously won’t translate to the MLB; however, the talent is clearly there.
We have seen stud pitchers come over from Japan before and struggle (cough, cough Daisuke Matsuzaka), but it seems like Tanaka is the real deal. If Tanaka can be half as productive as Yu Darvish has been for the Rangers then he will be a steal at any price.
But why are the Dodgers, who already have five competent starters and potentially a 6th in Chad Billingsley, going after another star pitcher? Well, because they can. The Dodgers aren’t playing by the same rules as everyone else. The Dodgers have turned into the New York Yankees. That’s only funny because if the Dodgers do end up getting Tanaka they will have outbid the Yankees for his services.
The Yankees have built their entire offseason around acquiring Tanaka from Japan and with the recent suspension of Alex Rodriguez they should have more than enough room under their self-imposed $189 million “salary-cap”. The Yankees NEED Tanaka. The Dodgers WANT Tanaka. Only the Dodgers can possibly outbid the Yankees. Somehow “want” may outbid “need”. The Dodgers have become the Yankees.
I’ll go ahead and guess that not that many people feel badly for the Yankees.
The Dodgers ownership has made it clear that they want to win a Championship at any cost and would like to do so without marginalizing their already thin minor league system. If the Dodgers have the money then why wouldn’t they go after a potential All-Star that wouldn’t cost them any minor league prospects or even a draft pick?
Signing Tanaka would fit perfectly into the Dodgers current mission statement. The Dodgers are all about winning now while building for the future. There is no player on the market that would fit that mold better than Masahiro Tanaka.
The Dodgers should do what they do best: Make it Rain.