There are several strategies owners and general managers can employ in their efforts to build a competitive team. The Cardinals depend on their network of handcrafted grit-blossoms, and occasionally supplement their core with the pieces they need to put them over the top. Of late, the Red Sox have built their team by carefully poaching the free agent market for apropos reinforcements.
The Dodgers plan appears to be based around signing every single available player in an effort to simultaneously get better and prevent their competitors from doing so -- by throwing large sums of money at them, Jesse Pinkman-style.
Obviously that's unrealistic, but the Dodgers have already spent almost $30 million (on Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero) since being eliminated from the NLCS by the Cardinals, and the offseason hasn't even started yet. They appear to be interested in most of the marquee players looking for a new team in 2014.
In addition to signing Guerrero, they were rumored to have been interested in Robinson Cano. Ownership has refuted these rumors, and the signing of Guerrero seems to all but put Cano-to-the-Dodgers to bed, but until he signs elsewhere, the Dodgers are still something of a dark horse based solely on their previous extravagance.
The team was also in on Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Japanese high schooler Shohei Otani, and they may be in the running for Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. The LA Times' Steve Dilbeck has you covered.
"...come on, does this not look like the most obvious move since Brad Pitt sidled up to Angelina Jolie?"
No wonder this guy writes for the Times!
Dilbeck makes a valid point about Tanaka being a good fit -- until you consider the fact that the Dodgers are already brushing up against luxury tax for 2014 despite having just 14 players under contract at the moment. As second-time offenders (as they will surely be in 2014), they will pay a 30 percent tax on every dollar they spend over the $189 million ceiling of the luxury tax. The penalties only get more punitive from there.
And all of this is before you figure in the lucrative extension they'd surely like to offer Hanley Ramirez. Oh, and that rumored $300M "mega-deal" they'll need to cough up in order to keep their best player around past 2014. You know, the one who can make a baseball do this:
Another reason they aren't the best fit for Tanaka is their ability to furnish a competitive rotation with the players they already have. Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley will all be handsomely compensated for their services, and they have Zach Lee, Onelki Garcia, and Matt Magill (amongst others) on deck in the minors.
Apparently, Tanaka and the Dodgers fit together a little less like Brad and Angelina -- assuming that means good -- and a little more like Kurt Cobain and that one scabby-looking lady from Man on the Moon.
While it is undoubtedly sickening to some to watch the Dodgers become what the Yankees used to be, there are fans of some teams that wouldn't mind a little lavish spending for a chance at greater consistency. There is a certain percentage of sincerity in doing whatever it takes to win, but it's probably less than the chances of them continuing their splurge-circus and actually signing Masahiro Tanaka this winter.
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