Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tanaka a Yankee…What Next for the Dodgers

We’ve all read the news.  Tanaka is a Yankee and that’s not too surprising considering the sorry state of the Yankee starting pitching staff combined with the freed up money from the ARod suspension.  There was a lot of talk that the Yankees were in a cost-cutting mode to get below the luxury tax threshold, but truth is, they’re still up top as the most free spending club in baseball.  

That’s a label that is tough to keep, especially when you consider the deep-pocketed Dodgers, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the team in the Bronx will always be a top the board as the biggest spenders on player payroll.  First, because of their massive television and advertising money and second, because they are located in the heart of the largest market in the nation.  Add to that their world recognized brand and you have the makings of a baseball club that will always be able to spend freely.  $175 million to Tanaka is about $55 million more than what many expected to be paid.

The Yankees have proven over the years that they can buy championships.  More often than not, they fall short of that, but they’ll always be amongst the top tier of teams in the standings.  That’s the Yankee way and it has been that way since the 1920s with a few down periods now and then.
Former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda is Tanaka's new teammate.

Now they are quickly becoming the team that represents the land of the rising sun with Ichiro, Kuroda and Tanaka being marquee players.  The Yankee starting rotation is 40% Japanese.  Deep down, I’m thinking that the fact that Kuroda and Ichiro are on board in the Bronx, that might have influenced Tanaka's decision to head to the big apple.  That’s total speculation on my part, but that certainly had to help.

So, what are we to expect from the Dodgers for the remainder of the off-season?  Rumors abound that they may sign Bronson Arroyo or maybe even Matt Garza.  Now the David Price trade rumors are starting up again too.  I’m of the opinion that they simply need to stand pat and enter spring training with Josh Beckett and Dan Haren in the number four and five spots.  There will be Chad Billingsley in the wings when he returns from Tommy John surgery, (and his agent Dave Stewart is predicting a return in May).  Stephen Fife remains in play too.

Los Angeles should have other pressing matters to deal with immediately and those will be settling prior to arbitration hearings with Kenley Jansen and A.J. Ellis and a Hanley Ramirez contract extension as well.  Settling all of these roster slots and making eveyone happy should provide for a positive clubhouse.  What remains to be of number one priority will be to for the ball club to enter the season injury-free.

2013 proved to be one of the most injury plagued Dodger seasons in years, yet they still came within two games of the fall classic.  With a little more luck on the health front, this ball club should fare much better in the standings.  Players to watch this spring will be Beckett and Fife from the pitching rotation, as they both fell upon physical ailments that sidelined them.  Add to that the recoveries of Chad Billingsley and Scott Elbert, both due back around mid-season.
Josh Beckett attempts a return to the Dodger starting staff after having radical surgery last August (a rib was removed to relieve pressure  on a nerve in his neck).   The procedure is known as thoracic outlet syndrome.  (AP photo)

Watch for Matt Kemp as he returns from foot and shoulder procedures that are serious enough that his agent is saying that it’s doubtful he’ll be ready for the mid-March opener in Australia.  We haven't heard a word about Hanley Ramirez and his broken rib, so I take that to mean he has probably healed up, but it'll be interesting to see him swing that bat in March.  

Last but not least will be newcomer Alexander Guerrero who has been hobbled with a strained hamstring all winter.  It probably surfaced due to his many months of baseball inactivity.  It'll be interesting to see of Guerrero is ready for the big leagues, as expectations may be a bit too lofty for him after Dodger fans witnessed the meteoric rise of Yasiel Puig last year. Though Guerrero is four years older than Puig, it is important to realize that he still has never faced an inning of big league pitching.  It really should be expected that Guerrero get some minor league seasoning before landing on the big club, but we'll see how he adjust in spring training.


  1. We used to have a skater's club in this area for seniors called "Brittle Bones". The Dodgers were definitely a brittle bones club in 2013.

    I do have a concern that they may be members of the same club in 2014. No matter how many big names a team has there are no guarantees. That is, guarantees they will stay healthy or guarantees they will perform like big names. There are many question marks going into the season.

    It probably is a ritual by all teams of which I am not aware, but I don't recall other teams stock piling starters and outfielders as insurance against injuries. That what the Dodgers seem to do.

    Garza has signed with the Brewers. That probably means 37 year old Arroryo will become a Dodger.

  2. It's time the Dodgers trust the system and bring the kids up. We have enough resources in the system to fill what few holes that need to be filled. They're not all going to excel on day one like Puig but they are worth the time and the investment.