Sports Out West

Angels, Dodgers or Yankees: Who will Masahiro Tanaka choose?

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Masahiro Tanaka remains un-signed  but it is being reported that the field of teams vying for his services are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels.  ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that it will come down to just the Yankees and Dodgers.  

All three teams have the resources to pay Tanaka but ultimately Tanaka’s decision has to come down to where he feels most comfortable and has the best chances of success.  There is no question about the fact that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels are great baseball markets for the 25-year-old because all three clubs have the ability to market him to maximize his income potential.  

But what are the good and bad of each team?

Yankees

Good:  The Yankees offer a rich tradition with 27 world series championships.  For the most part they will be competing for a playoff spot and/or World Championship every season.  Tanaka would be the number two starter right behind CC Sabathia with the potential to be the number one starter in a few years.  

Bad:  On the flip side, drama surrounds the Yankees.  The Alex Rodriguez situation maybe cause for concern for Tanaka.  Yankees management has been questioned about how they handled A-Rod while he was injured in the past; that may be another cause for concern for Tanaka.  If he were to sign with the Yankees there would be a tremendous amount of pressure to perform right away, even more so in New York versus either Los Angeles team.

Dodgers

Good:  Since the new ownership group took over the Dodgers have done a complete 180-degree turn in how they run their ball club.  They will spend whatever money they have to in order to put a quality product on the field.  Tanaka would be the number three starter behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke thus not face as much pressure right away.  The Dodgers are built for the future with Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and an incredible wealth of talent in their farm system.  

Bad:  The Dodgers are a storied franchise with a rich history as well but they have not won a World Series in 25 years.  They made it to the playoffs last season and many believe they will be competing for the title this coming season, the question being whether or not they have the right pieces to get over the hump.  Tanaka would not be the best pitcher on the team and could possibly get lost behind Kershaw and Grienke.  

Angels

Good:  The Angels are the dark horse in this race but they could possibly win Tanaka’s services because they have the best player in major league baseball, ‘Mike Trout‘.  To go along with that, they have Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.  It is possible that Tanaka would be the number one starting pitcher for the Angels and face of the rotation but with not as much pressure as he would have with either the Dodgers or Yankees.

Bad:  The downside to the Angels is that they have not made the playoffs the past four years.  They only have one World Series title in their history and that was back in 2002.  The Angels are in the same market as the Dodgers but they certainly don’t have the brand or marketing power that both the Dodgers and Yankees have.  

All three franchises offer a great opportunity to Tanaka.  We will see if it comes down to just simply who outbids the others or if Tanaka makes his own list and picks tradition and history over opportunity or exposure.  

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Robert Ekberg

Rob hails from Southern California and has an MBA and a healthy thirst for analytics. He possesses an undying passion for West Coast sports and is the resident guru on all things MLB. Follow him on Twitter @Robek24.