If you haven’t heard, the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to add another starting pitcher. With the futures of Josh “ I wish he was still in 2007 form” Beckett and Chad Billingsley both uncertain, the Dodgers are in need of a 5th starter after signing Dan Haren on November 24th. Two pitchers that the Dodgers have been linked to all offseason are Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and Rakuten Golden Eagles stud Masahiro Tanaka. Price has at times been the best pitcher in the American League and Tanaka is the best pitcher in Japan. So what one should the Dodgers look to acquire?
If the David Price of the 2012 season would be coming to the Dodgers if they acquired him (he won the AL Cy Young in 2012), then I would easily take Price over Tanaka. But after watching Price struggle last year with his velocity of his fastball and with a couple of nagging injuries, I am questioning whether I want the former Vanderbilt star. I still think Price is an amazing pitcher don’t get me wrong but the problem for me is what the Tampa Bay Rays would want back for him. The Rays are reportedly looking to get prospects back if they were to deal their ace and if the Dodgers were to bid for him, they would have to give at least two of their top prospects. Whether the trade would include Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, or Julio Urias remains to be seen but if the Dodgers would to lose two or three of these four prospects, I believe they would be overpaying for Price. If only the Rays would do a David Price for Brandon League trade!
Masahiro Tanaka could be the next great pitcher to come out of Japan and has already drawn comparisons to Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish. In some articles that I have read, scouts have said that Tanaka is better than Darvish was when he signed with the Rangers. He can hit 96 mph with his fastball and his 2nd pitch is a splitter. He also has a slider and a curveball. But what is incredible about Tanaka is that he is coming off a 24-0 season. Although the competition isn’t nearly as tough as it would be in the MLB, 24-0 in professional baseball is still remarkable. By the way, his ERA was 1.24 (Sorry, Clayton, but he beat you). So why haven’t the Dodgers signed him yet? Well for starters, the Nippon Professional Baseball (the NPB is the highest level of baseball in Japan) and the MLB have had issues with agreeing on a new posting system. A new system was finally agreed on last week but Tanaka’s Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, are doing all they can to keep Tanaka in Japan. But it looks as if the Eagles owner, Hiroshi Mikitani will allow Tanaka to play in the MLB in 2014. So how do the Dodgers get Tanaka? It’s easy; they just have to outbid every other team in baseball. Whether it’s the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, or Texas Rangers, just a couple of teams that have reportedly been interested in Tanaka, the Dodgers can and I would bet easily out bid those teams.
If I am Ned Colletti, I would rather put Tanaka as my main focus because I know that money is not an issue with the boys in blue whereas if I go after Price, I may have to give up some of my best prospects. It’s a tough decision but lets hope that the Dodgers make the right one. Hey, there is always a chance the Dodgers acquire both..