"I haven't found it yet," Dodgers President Stan Kasten said that day. "I'll let you know when we get there."
As Masahiro Tanaka gets fitted for pinstripes, the baseball world looks to Los Angeles and wonders. The Dodgers got outbid — by a lot, and not just by the
In nearly two full years of ownership, Guggenheim Baseball has committed $1 billion to player salaries. Have the Dodgers finally run into a spending limit?
Apparently not, with no apologies to the rest of baseball. The Yankees won the bidding for Tanaka on Wednesday at seven years for $155 million, with the Dodgers also-rans for a fascinating reason: They're not convinced Tanaka is all that.
"We'll look back in a few years and see whose scouting reports were more accurate," said a person familiar with the Dodgers' thinking.
The Dodgers were interested, absolutely. They would not have bid more than $100 million if they did not believe Tanaka could pitch, and pitch well.
The Yankees spent $175 million on Tanaka, counting the $20 million in compensation to his Japanese club. The complete list of pitchers to sign for more:
The Yankees and
That is an entirely defensible position to take with Kershaw and
But the next few years will offer an intriguing referendum on how well the Dodgers have spent their money in building a touted international scouting operation.
Logan White, the Dodgers' scouting director, made the winning call on
Under Engle, the Dodgers now have made two calls that could shape their season: yes to $28 million to Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero, expected to convert to second base and start there this season, and no to an all-out bid for Tanaka.
The Dodgers did not see him as an ace, at least not for the long term. We'll see. But what signing Tanaka would have enabled the Dodgers to do is add a legitimate starter without sacrificing prospects in trade, at a time the free-agent market is thin and the Dodgers are intent on rebuilding their minor league system.
"Any day we hold onto prospects is a good day for me and the owners," Kasten said Wednesday, "not that we wouldn't move prospects for the right thing. But, the longer we hold onto our prospects, the better we'll be in the long run."
The Dodgers found the cost in prospects prohibitive when they spoke with the
"I have no doubt they will revisit that, starting today," a major league executive said Wednesday.
The Dodgers would like to add another starting pitcher before the start of the season — Beckett, coming off surgery, currently is the No. 5 starter — but General Manager
"I think we're fine either way," Colletti told The Times' Dylan Hernandez.
What the Tanaka derby showed is that an L.A. baseball team indeed has hit its spending limit. That team is not the Dodgers.