Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

On Saturday, in the Japan Series, Masahiro Tanaka threw 160 pitches in the only loss he has logged in over 14 months.  You would think that would be the end of his season.  Well, think again.

Tanaka went 30 consecutive starts without recording a loss before losing game 6 of the series that evening by a 4-2 score against the Yomiuru Giants.  Then in the series finale, Tanaka took the mound in the 9th inning to record the save and clinch the Japanese Series title in a 3-0 victory.  He threw a total of 175 pitches in less than a day.

Tanaka celebrates winning the Japan Series with his Rakuten teammates.
Now it is safe to say that Tanaka will have months of rest coming up, but how many aren’t concerned that throwing so many high stress pitches over 24 hours will not have a long term effect on him?  Orel Hershiser in 1988 overdid it, there’s a pretty chance that he caused some damage in the process as he went down with a season long shoulder injury less than two years later.

When you’re about to invest over $125 million to purchase a player, you certainly don’t want someone who is damaged goods.  So the question lingers if Tanaka did some damage to his arm in this series as he pitched his heart out.  That ice pack on his elbow couldn’t have raised confidence in major league organizations wanting him, that’s for sure.

If the Dodgers do opt to bid for Tanaka and pay huge sums to land him, they best do their due diligence and ensure that right arm is sound for the rigors of an MLB season.  That’s an awful lot of pitches he threw.

Greinke's prowess with the bat was the best for all pitchers in baseball (photo by USA Today Sports)

Zack Greinke was named the recipient of the silver slugger award today.  Hitting .328 with an OBP of .409 for the season, could there be any doubt that he’d get it.  Within the Dodger pitching ranks, there was that friendly rivalry amongst pitchers as to who was the best.  Without a doubt, Greinke ran away with it.  Bragging rights are certain to be exploited by the Dodger ace as AJ Ellis tweeted today in his congratulatory message that “we will never hear the end of this one.”


Peter Gammons continues predicting that the Dodgers are the leading team to land both Tanaka and David Price.  His quote during an interview with MLB Network follows:

“The Rays have talked internally about what they would do with him.  Should they trade him now?  Will they get more now than a year away from free agency?  I think the answer is ‘yes’ they would get more right now than they would then.   There aren’t many teams out there that would meet their price.”

“I think Texas could probably do it.  I think the most interesting (team) would be the Dodgers.  I know there are teams in the National League West that are really worried about the Dodgers going out and posting $75 to $100 million dollars to get Masuhiro Tanaka from the Japenese Rakuten Golden Eagles.  And then have Kershaw, Greinke, Tanaka, Price, Ryu.  That would be a devastating rotation.”

“I mean the Dodgers could make the deal.  The question is : how many prospects are they willing to give up?  I know the Rays would want 17 year old pitcher Julio Urias.  A Mexican who some feel is the best prospect in baseball.  There’s 19 year old prospect shortstop Corey Seager.  Then they’d want a couple of  major league ready guys  like Zack Lee the pitcher and outfielder Joc Pederson.  But the Dodgers could get him (Price).  You think about that five man rotation.  They wouldn’t have to worry too much about how many bases Puig overthrows.”

(end of quote)

Such a starting staff might be the greatest in recent history.  You’d probably have to go back to the 90s when the Braves had Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine and Avery in their rotation.  One thing to consider with such a devastating staff would be that perhaps a reliever such as Brian Wilson would welcome returning to such a dominating ballclub in interest of getting a World Championship with the Dodgers.  This leads me to my next topic, the closer situation.

Both Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson can survive on this team and provide closing innings as well.  I’m a strong proponent of not sticking each in specific roles.  You close with Wilson one night and Jansen another.  Baseball can be so stat driven and the “save” stat is the only thing between Wilson re-signing with the Dodgers or heading off to a place like Colorado to close.  The Dodgers need the bearded one and perhaps promising a dual closers situation would be enough to convince Wilson to stay in Los Angeles.

Add Joe Nathan to that relief pitching mix and the Dodger pitching staff could end up being practically unbeatable.  Imagine the trio of Nathan, Wilson and Jansen in the pen.  There’s bound to always be a hot hand to go to.  If those three could keep their egos in check to pursue a championship, the Dodger staff could actually be a pitching staff of legends.  With Colletti's history of going after former Giants, maybe this is a possibility.

The moves make perfect sense and are entirely possible with adequate persuasion and a lot of money to spend.  We know the Dodgers have the latter, it’s the former that isn’t completely convincing me.  If Ned gets that done, the Dodgers will be scary good.


  1. If Urias and Seager are required to get Price, just say no friggin way. This Dodger team in my opinion is not built for the long haul. The law of diminishing returns is about to set in for some of the big names in a couple of years but they have much longer contracts. The team simply has to keep Urias and Seager. Not so much Lee and Pederson.

    Nathan is 38 years old and will be seeking a 2/3 year contract standing the way of young arms - Dominguez, Tolleson, two Garcia's. I'm just not in favor of collecting old guys.

  2. Having the best team money can but has seldom been the best team at the end of the year. Kasten has stated many times that he will shift to a developental process rather then a purchaseed team sooner then later. My hope is the later and it should start now. Yes buy Tanaka but only go after Price is the price is right !!

  3. Harold and Gary,
    A few years back we were saying that there was no way we should trade DeLaRosa, Webster, Ethan Martin, Eovaldi or LaRoche. Theyr'e all gone now, and I suppose top prospects will be traded in the future as well. It doesn't mean they have to go that route and as Gary mentioned, Stan Kasten has promised to build from within, but it's a tough balancing act to keep the top Major League level competitive AND to build the farm. There's a reason the lousy teams get the best picks.

    Prospect values fluctuate like the stock market, but you are right about this thing...at the moment Urias and Seager are rated very high and if the Dodgers can avoid dealing them, then they should. I'm pretty certain though that Tampa will insist on one if not both of those prospects. If I was Tampa, those two are exactly what I'd ask for.

    Gary, I know, I know. No edit button. Sorry. One day I'll expand to a paid blogsite, but at the moment, this is what it is.

  4. Just put an eject button in for Gary. LOL. He doesn't know how to edit anyway.

    Evan I understand a prospect is just that with no promise to become more. So far I have not bought into Stan Kastan's assertion, especially if two of the best prospects since Clayton are traded. If so the team is jeopardizing longer term competitiveness for instant success. Instance success is no more of a guarantee than a prospect becoming a star.