Two sources have told me that the Dodgers have a strategy heading into the 2013-2014 Major League Baseball offseason, and it is centered around bringing pitchers David Price andMasahiro Tanaka to Los Angeles without giving away their number one draft pick, and slot money.
The sources described the Dodgers as having a “plan in place” to pull off the blockbuster moves.
Earlier today, Peter Gammons wrote about on GM informing him of the Dodgers’ strategy, in which they would trade for Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price, sign highly-touted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, while avoiding giving up their aforementioned number one draft selection, and slot money.
Here is the plan:
Several GM’s around the league suggest the Dodgers could easily acquire the already-being-shopped Price for several minor league prospects, including 2012 first-rounder Corey Seager, 17-year-old lefty Julio Arias, and a pair from the following group- right-hander Zach Lee, outfielderJoc Pederson, or reliever Chris Withrow.
Part two of the blueprint is placing an $80 million bid for Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka, which would in turn give the Dodgers four No. 1′s in their rotation, and a not-too-shabby Hyun-Jin Ryu as their number five.
Allow me to break down the plan:
The Rays are expected to deal Price, as track record has shown that the organization intends to trade their top-tier starting pitching two years prior to when the hurler is set to hit free agency. They did so with Matt Garza after 2011, and James Shields after 2012.
Price, only 28 and a former Cy Young award winner, battled an injury to his trapezius on his pitching shoulder this past season, but still managed to record 27 starts (four of which for a complete game), and posted a 3.33 ERA, and a Major League-best 5.59 K/BB rate.
Over 6 big league seasons, Price has gone 71-39, logging a 3.19 ERA, and a 1.16 WHIP. He has also pitched in 9 postseason games in his career, not including a gem he tossed in Game 163 for Tampa Bay this past season against the Rangers.
The Dodgers would be offering some high-profile prospects in the deal, but it makes sense as to why they would. The players they are giving up play positions that are already occupied by not only everyday players on the Dodgers, but stars– Corey Seager is a shortstop (Hanley Ramirez), Joc Pederson is a center fielder, primarily (Matt Kemp), and Lee and Arias are starters, which according to this projected trade, is a void that will not be needed to be filled in L.A. for years, and years, and years. It makes perfect sense for the Dodgers to make this trade.
As for Tanaka, just 25-years-old as of today, is rated as high, if not higher, than Yu Darvish was coming out of Japan two years ago, and rightfully so. Last season, in Japan, Tanaka went 24-0, with a 1.27 ERA. Across 212 innings pitched, Tanaka allowed a grand total of 203 baserunners (0.94 WHIP), and a mere six home runs. He is the real deal, and is only entering his prime. Projections place Tanaka’s potential total contract from a Major League team to come across a 5-year span, meaning he would be with L.A. through 2018.
Money is not hard to come by in Dodgertown these days, so acquiring these high-level hurlers may not be too much of a challenge for GM Ned Colletti and his brass.
Let’s say they do land Price and Tanaka– L.A. now has 4-5 aces, which already adds to their stellar case as World Series favorites for next year. Take a look at their unbelievable would-be rotation, and how it will be there for years to come:
1. Clayton Kershaw (25; free agent after 2015, however expected to agree on an extension this winter)
2. Zack Greinke (30; free agent after 2019)
3. David Price (28; free agent after 2016)
4. Masahiro Tanaka (25; would-be free agent after 2018-2019)
5. Hyun-Jin Ryu (26; free agent after 2019)
That, my friends, is a little something I like to call, unfair.