Triple Threat
Covering LA Sports' Big Three: Lakers, Dodgers and Kings

Tanaka Turns Down LA, Heads to NY

The Dodgers wanted the Japanese pitcher, but will survive without him

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Masahiro Tanaka made the decision of where he will be spending the start of his MLB career on Wednesday, and unfortunately it is not Los Angeles. The Japanese righty is headed to New York, joining the Yankees on a seven-year deal worth $155 million.

Taking on an additional $22 million a year will keep the Yankees above the luxury tax limit for a while, along with the 50 percent penalites that come annually. On top of the $155 million contract, they also owe the Rakuten Eagles $20 million as part of the posting fee. That will not count against their payroll, though.

The Yankees were always a favorite to sign the coveted righty, and it did not come as a surprise when they were announced as the winners. Behind C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, New York does not have much of a threat on the mound so Tanaka was a necessity for their rotation.

Luckily the Dodgers did not necessarily need Tanaka, but many were very hopeful he would land in LA. Their rotation is still stacked, starting with dual aces in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and solid middle of the rotation starters with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren.

The only weak link comes from the fifth spot where the team is relying on veterans recovering from injuries in Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett, and a couple of young arms who have been anything but consistent in the majors, Stephen Fife and Matt Magill.

Aside from the pitchers that have already made trips to the big leagues, later in the season you can expect an appearance from the Dodgers' top pitching prospect Zach Lee. But, do not rely on him to become a staple of the rotation just yet. After all, he is only 22 years old.

So while Tanaka would have made the Dodger rotation seem invincible, they should do fine without him. And at least he chose a team outside of the NL West, because based off of how strongly he was pursued by so many teams, the Dodgers probably do not want to face him often over the next seven years.

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