Masahiro Tanaka is the headliner at this year’s Free Agent pitcher concert. He’s easily grabbing the most attention and will undoubtedly grab the biggest contract. A lot of teams, including the San Francisco Giants, have expressed interest in the Japanese hurler, although as of today, it looks like those teams have been narrowed down to the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Chicago Cubs (which one of these is not like the other?).
And you know what? That’s fine. The Giants shouldn’t have their name anywhere near Tanaka’s. Sure, it’s public knowledge that the Giants want to add to and strengthen their rotation, but Tanaka is not the answer. And there are three main reasons why.
The posting fee for Tanaka is WAY too expensive.
Tanaka is expected to cost a posting fee at least equal to that of Yu Darvish - $51.7 million – and early reports were throwing around numbers between $75 and $100.
It’s true that the posting system previously in place has recently been cancelled and MLB is in talks with Japan for a new system, which could change this entirely in the next few weeks.
For now though, Tanaka is just too expensive, and that kind of money is something the Giants don’t need to commit to right now. Especially because…
The Giants have a talented crop of young pitchers just one year away from the bigs.
Assuming that all goes according to plan, or at least relatively close to plan, the Giants have righty Kyle Crick (#1 Giants prospect, #34*), lefty Clayton Blackburn (#2, #86), lefty Michael Kickham (#4) and Chris Stratton (#5) all (ideally) ready to go in 2015.
Sure, that means 2014 needs some help, but that is why the Giants have reportedly been focusing on some vets with low risk for low-paying contracts. Bronson Arroyo or Tim Hudson for two years is a perfect bridge into the new pitching SF Giants pitching rotation, providing stability and experience for the rising crop of arms.
That money is better spent on a power-hitting left fielder.
It’s not looking right now like the Giants will be able to pick up a big bat from this year’s Free Agent market, but that doesn’t mean they should be actively looking for an opportunity to trade. And in that situation, extra cash on hand could make or break a deal.
Given the perception that AT&T Park is where bats go to die, it’s been commonly accepted that the Giants will have to over-pay a big hitter to bring his lumber to the city by the bay. So start saving, Sabes.
Of course, the Giants may have many other reasons for wanting to or not wanting to pursue Tanaka. Recently it has become more and more clear that no, they won’t be making a push, and I believe that is the right choice.
Saving some money for a mid-season pick-up and bringing in experienced pitchers to help foster a new generation of arms is a great move, even if it means 2014 is another average season of middling play with no playoff appearances.
Just hold fast, fellow fans. Let Tanaka go to a team willing to spend $50 million just to sign another $75 million contract. The future is coming, and in 2015, it looks like Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Crick, Blackburn and Stratton.
*rankings are a combination of MLB’s 2013 Preseason rankings and Bleacher Report’s End of Season 2013 rankings
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