Finally, after months of waiting, the MLB and the NPB have come to an agreement regarding a new posting system. After much speculation the two sides have reached an agreement that will *potentially* allow Japanese stars, most notably Masahiro Tanaka to make the leap to the Major Leagues. Terms of the deal can be found in that article, but it pretty much means free agency with a 20 million dollar tax on whoever wins the player’s sweepstakes.
My feelings pretty much rest on whether Masahiro Tanaka actually gets posted. Dylan Hernandez offered up some promising news on the subject
Sanspo: Rakuten owner Hiroshi Mikitani will allow Masahiro Tanaka to come to the major leagues this winter http://t.co/9pvPZpJuE1
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 16, 2013
I’m sure you understand someone being skeptical about a report like this, reports like these often prove to be a unreliable, besides Mikitani wasn’t even quoted in the article so don’t put all your eggs in the Tanaka basket. However, there is expectation to him getting posted eventually, regardless of Sanspo’s post.
So like any rational team, the Dodgers are going to post 20 million on Tanaka (assuming Masahiro wants to come to the states) and they will be one of the frontrunners for his services. I think every Dodger fan can agree that he’d be a welcome addition to the Dodgers, I know I’d love for him to be on the team. While I have my skepticism about him actually donning a Dodger uniform, I can’t imagine they are just “lukewarm” on him. Just last month Ned was openly declaring how the team was scouting him at his most recent start and how they were interested in him. What changed from then to now?
Has to be a ploy, Dodger fans everywhere wish that Guggenheim was in place a year before they actually came in, because they missed out on a top 3 pitcher on the planet type hurler in Yu Darvish (I’m pretty high on Yu Darvish). Now many scouts don’t think Tanaka is on the same planet Darvish is on, but can you imagine missing out on another frontline starter from Japan which would be compiled by the fact Guggenheim are making all the decisions now.
So, I don’t see them being “lukewarm” there is no reason to openly say you’re not very high on a player like this when he fits what you strive for, youth and upside. Getting Tanaka would be like instantly injecting a top 10 prospect in all of baseball into your farm system and eventually the major leagues. I haven’t even discussed how well Japanese pitchers have worked out for the Dodgers before. Nomo won a rookie of the year award, Ishii was a perfectly fine back of the rotation starter, Takashi Saito was an incredible closer for 3 years as a Dodger, and of course Hiroki Kuroda who was/is one of my favorite pitchers that I’ve ever seen. Masahiro Tanaka and the Dodgers are made for each other. I can see a situation where they are outbid by the Yankees, or some mystery team like the Cubs or god forbid, the Diamondbacks will blow him away with an offer. But despite what has been said, I’m sure Tanaka will be a big priority for the Dodgers, especially now that the Uribe and Howell signings are out of the way.
There is also reason to believe Kenta Maeda, the number 2 pitcher in the NPB will be posted according to international prospect guru Ben Badler. While he’s nowhere near Tanaka’s caliber, if Colletti believes Zach Lee or Ross Stripling wont be ready to start in 2014, and lose out on Tanaka, I could easily see them bidding on Maeda. The best thing about a potential Maeda deal would be the low risk nature of it. Dan Haren is signed for 1 year (with a potential vesting of course) which means in 2015 (or 2016) that spot would be left up to, presumably, a prospect. Maeda’s deal wouldn’t be too horrendous to believe that he couldn’t be cut if he doesn’t pan out, or simply traded if he receives a lot of interests from other clubs, something to definitely keep an eye on.
Tanaka and Maeda are two examples of the international opportunities the Dodgers have this offseason, if either or both are posted it’s not hard to see at least one becoming Dodgers.