The Dodgers could still use another starting pitcher. The in-house options have either never pitched in the Major League or are rehabbing from major surgery. Zach Lee and Ross Stripling could break through next season, Josh Beckett is expected to be ready for Spring Training, and Chad Billingsley won’t be back until the summer. There’s always Stephen Fife, but I doubt the Dodgers will go through the offseason without picking up another starter. Unfortunately drama surrounding the posting bid process overseas has stalled any bidding on negotiations with prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
I’ve said throughout this offseason that I would rather the Dodgers go for Tanaka then to trade away the farm for a pitcher like David Price. Of course I would love for David Price to pitch for my team, but I don’t think it’s worth sending Miami most of our top prospects in return and depleting an already exhausted minor league system. A trade for Price would likely cost Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, and possibly more. I for one would really like to see Lee and Pederson play as Dodgers in the future.
Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are close to coming to an agreement on a new posting system which would cap the posting fee at $20 million. If this new system goes live, there is concern that the Rakuten Golden Eagles may not post Tanaka at all. You can’t blame them. Putting a cap on the posting bid loses the NPB potential revenue while at the same time they lose a star pitcher. If Tanaka is signed, then he would likely garner a much larger contract than if there was no cap on the posting bid. More money would go to Tanaka and less to his team.
This new agreement could cause other NPB clubs to withhold players from the MLB, and it would also in turn drive up demand for free agent pitching and of course David Price. The Dodgers, Rangers, and Yankees have $20 million to post a bid on Tanaka, and if all three were to do so then Tanaka would have choice to where he wanted to pitch. Tanaka has said in the past that he prefers to pitch in L.A. or New York. After the Yankees huge spending spree on Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, it seems as though the Dodgers would be the potential frontrunners for the Japanese right-hander.
Japanese players would become free agents essentially under this new posting system. The Rangers bid $51.7 million for the rights to Yu Darvish, and since then MLB has sought to write the posting system anew.
The Rakuten Eagles may just decline to post Tanaka and make him play out his nine seasons before he would be eligible for free agency. Yet this could bitter the players who want to play in the Majors.
Not only are Rakuten Golden Eagles opposed to ever-changing US posting rules, but tonight leaning against posting Tanaka, period.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 5, 2013
Tanaka would really make the Dodgers starting rotation one of the best in all of baseball, and it would allow the retention of minor league talent. The Dodgers have been eerily quiet this offseason, but I would hope that they have Tanaka in mind and not any other Pricey pitcher.