Money can’t buy you love, but as George Bailey said to Clarence, it comes in real handy when you’re trying to build a winning baseball team. Or something like that.
Money has been the one great ingredient the Guggenheim Group has lavished upon the Dodgers since taking over club ownership in May 2012. It threw money at the payroll to make the team immediately competitive and win back fan support.
Is that over?
We’re about to find out. As The Times’ Dylan Hernandez points out, Masahiro Tanaka’s posting is about to offer an immediate litmus test as to whether the Dodgers’ free-spending days are at an end.
Because all he costs is money.
Not your money, of course, or at least directly. But just money.
There are neither players nor prospects needed to acquire him. No forfeiture of a first-round draft pick to sign him as a free agent. No stripping of a single bit of current or future talent.
All he’ll cost is money.
Which has been Guggenheim’s grand calling card. What brought Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Becket to the roster. What they’ve poured into scouting and Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have been on the coy side about their interest in signing Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season in Japan. Which is smart, businesswise, even if they're absolutely intent on nabbing him.
The Dodgers don’t need starting pitching as badly as the Yankees, Angels and Cubs — others presumed seriously interested — but adding the 24-year-old to a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Dan Haren would be approaching the stuff of historic rotations.
If signing Tanaka comes down to a bidding war between big-spending heavyweights the Dodgers and Yankees, it does neither any good to declare early interest. The Yankees, though, already have Hiroki Kuroda, which might influence Tanaka to come to a team where he can be the sole Japanese attraction (and a closer flight home).
Tanaka is expected to sign for more than $100 million, which is a serious amount of moolah, even for baseball’s super affluent.
But it’s only money, and if the Dodgers are not in, then at least followers understand that every time a bell rings, it no longer means they got their man.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times