Make of this what you will, but Dayton Moore is not shooting down the idea that the Royals may make a run at Japanese stud starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. According to Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star, Moore refused to tip his hand when it came to the Tanaka question.
“That’s nothing I’d really say about that, because it doesn’t benefit the Royals in any way to announce what we’re doing or what we’re not doing,” Moore said. “There’s nothing I can really say about that. It’s a private negotiation.”
This is a really odd thing to say if the Royals were not going to involve themselves in the Tanaka sweepstakes in some sort of significant way. There are a whole bunch of easy outs or things Moore could have said to suggest the Royals interest is more passive than active. For instance, a lot of money is going to be involved with Tanaka and the Royals are at – if not above – their payroll budget. Moore could have referenced that and moved on.
Instead, Moore decided to be coy.
“I would look for us to go into spring training with what we have at this point, but I don’t know,” Moore said. “The climate changes day by day and we’re always looking for ways to improve our team.”
By no means are the Royals front-runners for Tanaka if they do decide to go for it. Early estimates are that Tanaka will make at least $17 million annually at worst by the time all is said and done. Unlike the Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers, and others, Kansas City will have to be a little more creative about how they make Tanaka fit in their budget. As a result, it is hard to see the scenario that ends with the Royals signing Tanaka.
Crazier things have happened, though.