Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We all want things in life, but that doesn't mean we really need it. Sure, you may want to get the new iPhone 5s, but you're not going to die without it.

The same thing can be said about baseball players and Major League teams.

The Yankees always want to sign everybody on the market, no matter the cost, but a lot of time, they just want to buy out that certain player because they can, not really because they need to. But Masahiro Tanaka is different.

The Yankees actually need to sign Tanaka. Without him, they will likely go into the season with a rotation filled by CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda. Sabathia is a question mark, Kuroda is 39-years-old, and Nova can go either way.

Michael Pineda might also be in the Yankees' rotation, but he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011 with the Seattle Mariners, and you really don't know what kind of pitcher he is going to be.

Even with all the money the Yankees have spent this offseason -- over $300 million to be precise -- I can't consider them a legit World Series contender if they don't address the issues in the rotation, and it all begins with Tanaka.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a perfect example of Need vs. Want. The Dodgers really don't need Tanaka as much as the Yankees or some other teams. They only want him.

They just signed Clayton Kershaw to a monster contract extension. They signed Zack Greinke to a big contract last offseason. And they just signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu last winter, too. Realistically, their rotation will be just fine without Tanaka. Adding him would put it over the top, though.

The Chicago Cubs, if anything, don't really need him for the next years or so, but in a couple years down the road, the Cubs are going to have a large crop of their prospects reach the big leagues, and that's when they finally become championship contenders.

I would imagine that it was pretty tough for the Cubs to convince Tanaka of coming to Chicago considering, well, it's not New York or Los Angeles, and the team isn't going to be a contender right away as it would be in the Bronx and LA.

However, because so much of their future is tied into young players, the Cubs have enough money to throw around, and even with the great group coming up in a few years, pitchers aren't really a part of that, and adding Tanaka, who is only 25, would be a great fix to that problem.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have appeared to be in hot pursuit on Tanaka throughout the winter, and though they don't really have much of a shot to land him.

The D-Backs could really use him to go along with Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill in the rotation, and who better than Tanaka? They have shown that they have the money by going hard after Shin-Soo Choo, but that might not be enough to get Tanaka in Arizona.

We're days away from finding out who will win the Tanaka Sweepstakes. The latest rumors have him deciding between the two teams that need him the most -- the Yankees and Cubs. Although the Yankees really, really, really need him. Much more than the Cubs.


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