The New York Yankees’ signing of Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka to a reported seven-year, $155-million deal on Wednesday doesn’t really change much for the Angels in their pursuit of a starting pitcher. Though the Angels scouted Tanaka thoroughly and liked him a lot, they did not make a formal offer to the 25-year-old right-hander, General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. The fact the Angels were not among the teams that met with Tanaka and his agent earlier this month — in Los Angeles — was a strong indication they would not be an aggressive bidder for him. With about $15 million of wiggle room under the $189-million luxury-tax threshold, veteran right-hander Matt Garza, 30, whom the Angels have targeted since November, has always seemed a better fit. But the Angels don’t want to overpay for Garza, who has had a history of elbow problems, and like many teams, they have been waiting for his price — in years and dollars — to come down. The problem is, Garza and other pitchers such as Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez have been waiting for Tanaka to sign in anticipation of a Tanaka deal driving their prices up. And, chances are, it will. The Angels have shown no inclination to pursue Santana or Jimenez because signing either of the right-handers would cost them their first-round pick (15th overall) in the June draft. Arroyo has been a sturdy and effective innings-eater, but he turns 37 in February and is looking for a three-year deal — or, at the least, two years plus a vesting option — and he might not be as effective in the American League.
Angels eye Matt Garza, but Masahiro Tanaka deal could drive up price
Los Angeles Times | Jan 22