If The Dodgers Sign Tanaka, What Should They Do With Josh Beckett?


I find the whole Masahiro Tanaka saga kind of boring. We’ve been hearing about this guy for months now, even before the last season ended. The rumors have been circulating that Tanaka would be posted during the winter and that he was the next greatest thing. He is better than sliced bread, or so we’ve been told. He is a superstar in Japan, and went 24-0 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles and is just 25 years old. Great, I thought. But first MLB and the NPB had to agree upon a new posting system, because the old system was outdated and didn’t work, and the NPB wanted more money. Of course they did.

So the drama unfolded for a few weeks as MLB and the NPB haggled over costs, and posting bids, and all that super boring stuff. Finally the two sides agreed upon a new posting system that allowed the NPB team that posts Tanaka or any other player to receive a 20 million dollar bid fee just to negotiate with the player. But once the MLB team pays the 20 million, they have full access to negotiate with said player just as if he was a regular free agent. Great. Ok.

I am far too lazy to search the interwebs for a pic of Tanaka, so here is this guy, president of the Golden Eagles I think-David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Then we heard the rumors that the Eagles may not even post Tanaka. Finally they did. I can understand why the Japanese players want to come over here to play. They can make ten times more money in the US than in Japan.

So once the announcement was made, the frenzy of rumors started again. The Dodgers have been linked to Tanaka along with a horde of other teams. The Yankees, Rangers Red Sox, Phillies, Angels, Cubs, and yes the Dbacks. How cute, the Snakes actually think they have a shot in hell of signing Tanaka.

The Dodgers are one of the frontrunners to sign Tanaka, obviously, and if they did, the reports are surfacing that it cost them upwards of 100 million dollars to do it.

What I’ve been thinking about, is whether the Dodgers should really be spending money on Tanaka instead of using it to resign Clayton Kershaw, and extend Hanley Ramirez. Also another question is what do they do with Josh Beckett if they do sign Tanaka?

The Dodgers have Beckett under contract, and he is owed 15 million dollars for 2014. The 33-year-old pitcher is coming off of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which was the injury that ended Chris Carpenter’s career recently. Beckett believes he is healthy and will be ready to go once spring training begins, but excuse me if I don’t hold my breath.

But what do you do with him if the Dodgers do sign Tanaka? This is why I think the Dodger’s probably won’t sign Tanaka. If Tanaka doesn’t sign with the Dodgers, they’re going to use Beckett as the fifth starter. Sure nobody likes it, but they’re paying him 15 million dollars, they’re going to use him.

Should the Dodgers just release Beckett if that happens and eat the rest of the contract? It makes you wonder how far the Dodger’s payroll limit goes. Would the Dodgers stick him in the bullpen? They could but right now there is no room. With the recent signings of J.P. Howell, Jamey Wright, and Chris Perez, the Dodgers have eight relievers (Kenley Jansen, Brandon League, Paco Rodriguez, Scott Elbert, Perez, Howell, Wright, Brian Wilson),  fighting for seven spots. Putting Beckett in the bullpen would be a waste of a spot.

So if the Dodgers sign Tanaka, they can’t place Beckett in the bullpen, but could they possibly create soe kind of phantom injury to put him on the DL? The Dodgers are famous for their roster machinations, and creating injuries that are not as severe as we may think they are. Remember the phantom knee injury to the awful George Sherrill back in 2010? Yes we all do. That’s just one example of the phantom DL possibility. Before you ask, no they can’t trade him. Well I guess they could, but what team would want an aging expensive mid 30’s starter with a history of injuries? Beckett’s value is lower than it’s ever been, making a trade seem nearly impossible.

I would love to see Tanaka in Dodger Blue, but maybe it’s just overkill. I would rather see the Dodgers spend the money on Kershaw, and Hanley, then waste 100 million on Tanaka, and then also be stuck with Beckett who is owed 15 million. Not that Tanaka would really be a waste, but I think the Dodgers already have a pretty great roster as it is. The 100 million dollars should rightly be deposited directly into Clayton Kershaw’s bank account.

You’re going to sign who now? Whaaaaaaat?-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

My theory is, if the Dodgers don’t sign Tanaka they’ll go with Beckett as the fifth starter until either his arm craps out or Chad Billingsley returns from Tommy John. If Beckett’s arm craps out before Bills returns, then they’ll go to Stephen Fife. That should happen around Memorial Day. Let’s not forget about those two. I would be just fine with Fife starting for a few weeks. I would rather have him as a fifth starter than the decrepid Beckett.

This whole Tanaka thing is lagging on and on. I wonder when this saga will finally end and when he will sign. I expect this to drag out into late January. The whole thing is just so boring. I thought the whole David Price rumors were lame, but this whole thing with Tanaka could turn out to be even more lame if he ends up signing with the Yankees or Angels.

Well I guess as long as he doesn’t sign with the Snakes then I don’t particularly care all that much. The Masahiro Tanaka saga goes on, and on, and on, and yawn.