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D-backs Fail To Woo

Tanaka But Still Get Lucky

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Masahiro Tanaka. Image by Neier and used under a Creative Commons license.
The Japanese Phenom Chooses Several Million Dollars A Year — And More Years — To Join The New York Yankees But The Arizona Diamondbacks Managed To Steal A Couple Of Kisses


By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 23, 2013 — So the Arizona Diamondbacks lost out on Masahiro Tanaka.

It was a love affair that was quick and brief. It was exciting, a little bit dangerous but definitely worth it he ends up being as good as promised.

While it was not entirely satisfying in the end, the affair still managed to deliver a few very important results. If Tanaka would have signed with the Diamondbacks, it could have created one of the best rotations in major league baseball. If Tanaka lives up to his past performance, putting him in the same rotation as Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley and Wade Miley — again assuming they all stay healthy, effective and progress — might have made the team a juggernaut.

Alas, however, the love affair was not to be a marriage and Tanaka is headed to the Bronx and to bask in the glory of Manhattan and everything else that comes along with playing with the New York Yankees.

But while the Arizona Diamondbacks came up short — roughly the same cash with one less year — they still accomplished a few things. Certainly, the fact that Tanaka went to New York instead of Los Angeles is big. Both the Dodgers and the Yankees can spend whatever they want and while it can’t be determined that the D-backs pursuit of Tanaka had anything to do with his pick of New York, it certainly is a benefit.

Its more likely that Yasiel Puig made the disciplined ballplayer from Japan cringe and was a bigger factor than anything the Diamondbacks said or did.

Regardless, its a win for the D-backs because Tanaka is in the American League.

The team also managed to send the message that they are willing to spend big on the right player. Agents will remember this when the next big-time pitcher nearing free agency is about to be traded.

Yes, the rotation as it stands now is based on promise and hope. And that is a lot less dependable than adding a guy who prognosticators are penciling him in for 20 plus wins and a sub 3.00 ERA for for the next seven years or so.

But the promise that Patrick Corbin will be able to repeat his first half in 2013 over a full 2014 and that Archie Bradley will make a rather seamless transition to The Show is not a bad plan either. And the hope that Miley will be a No. 2 in a No. 3’s clothing and that Brandon McCarthy will be much better in 2014 are not that big of a stretch.

Besides, now that Tanaka has signed, the proverbial dominoes will fall and one of the other free-agent pitchers might still wind up with the Diamondbacks. Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo, Jason Hammel and Paul Maholm are all still available and one or more of them are possible.

Common wisdom says they bring in either Santana, Jimenez or Arroyo. The Diamondbacks say they want to keep any deal to less than three years but to get their real target, who would be surprised if they went four years if they had to in order to get a deal done.

Regardless, while the Tanaka love affair is over, it was fun.

In the end, though there still are some fish in the sea.

Bob Goodwood can be reached at
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