The Los Angeles Angels have had their names mentioned on and off with posted Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka for weeks, and with the stud right-hander facing a Friday deadline before his posting expires, the Angels will likely come up again in those discussions.
Over the weekend, Nikkan Sports (Japanese Link) indicated that five teams had been confirmed as having submitted offers, including the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox and Yankees. However, the Angels were noticeably absent from that list, despite some earlier ties this winter. In fact, the Angels had not even met with Tanaka when he was in Los Angeles, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times.
However, when we see reports out of Toronto that Tanaka and agent Casey Close is again “conducting interviews with prospective employers in Los Angeles”, we have the fun of speculating once again, do we not?
Well, perhaps we would be getting ahead of ourselves here. Firstly, the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers have been mentioned as the possible leaders in the clubhouse on the contract offers, and all three have considerable financial clout to back that up. The Angels, with $142 million committed to contracts in 2014 (according to Baseball Prospectus) would seemingly be past their formidable financial restraints, making a run at Tanaka highly unlikely just from a contract standpoint.
The Angels appear to have come to their decision to stay out of this fray earlier this offseason. Key trades for Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs have helped the team address their rotation question marks, while also helping the team get younger. Having that pair fill out the back end of the rotation behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Garrett Richards would seemingly indicate that they found viable, cheaper solutions to solve that need. Additionally, top pitching prospects like Nick Maronde and Mark Sappington may be in a position to help out at some point later this season if needed.
So while Masahiro Tanaka and his tremendous arsenal and spotless Japanese track record would look great paired along with Jered Weaver at the top of the Angels rotation, the current path appears to be the right one for an organization bogged down with heavy, long-term contracts.
But it doesn’t hurt to have your name out there, if for no other purpose that to drive up the price for those looking to take the plunge.
The Angels will likely add another pitcher before spring. Be there when games start by getting your Los Angeles Angels tickets here.