It is hard to imagine that any decision made by the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they are currently being run, will be motivated by the need to curb spending. This is the team, after all, that took on the notoriously awful Carl Crawford contract ($142 million) and also made the decision to pay Brandon League $27 million (5.30 ERA in 58 appearances last season).
Tanaka is widely expected to sign a deal worth more than $100 million. In addition to that, whichever team signs him would have to pay the Golden Eagles a $20-million release fee.
The Dodgers already have around $210 million in salary commitments for 2014, not counting the estimated $18 million Clayton Kershaw will earn in the arbitration process. In what has been a slow off-season by their standards, the Dodgers have still signed seven free agents, five of whom are guaranteed $10 million or more…
…And it would be understandable if the Dodgers were reluctant to take on another long-term contract. The team has five players signed through the 2017 season or later. Even without Tanaka, that number could rise to seven, as the Dodgers would like to sign Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez to extensions.
The counter to this point might be the fact that Tanaka is only 25 years old. If it were possible, the Dodgers might be better off trying to give him that type of long-term money to go along with Kershaw and Zack Greinke and look to shuffle money around in other places on the roster. Unfortunately for them, they might not be in a position to do that because of some of the other anchors on their payroll.