The Dodgers are definitely interested in free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but with two weeks remaining before his deadline to sign we are still fairly early in the process.
Tanaka arrived in Los Angeles and had a physical exam at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic on Thursday, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the results of which will be shared with interested teams. The right-hander has pitched 1,315 innings in Japan before his 25th birthday, including 611⅓ in the last three seasons.
"I talked to Casey [Close, Tanaka's agent] as soon it was announced he would be posted. Casey and I go back quite a while, so I've had a couple conversations with him. They're in the feeling out process, tying to learn a lot about different cities, different markets, different teams and how they're constructed," general manager Ned Colletti said on Wednesday. "It's a big decision, for the player too. We've had those types of conversations, and we'll continue and see where it goes."
Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten talked Tanaka, among other things, in a radio interview with Mark Willard and Ben Lyons on ESPN 710.
"Tanaka is one of many things on the drawing board at the start of the offseason, and there are still things to consider," Kasten said. "You can be assured we’ll investigate everything and, if there’s a way that it made sense, I’m sure we would consider it, but I wouldn’t predict it, I wouldn’t hang our hat on it, because I think the team we have right now in place is ready to go to spring training, ready to start the season ready to compete and win. That’s what we’re all here for."
The Dodgers certainly aren't the only team interested in Tanaka, who as the best pitcher on the market could fetch a contract north of $100 million, in addition to the $20 million fee paid to the Rakuten Eagles, his old team in Japan. Other teams interested in Tanaka include the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Angels, Mariners and Rangers, per both Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
The deadline for teams to sign Tanaka is 2 p.m. PT on January 24.