Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Colletti was aggressive in pursuing Tanaka to complement a rotation that already includes the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner in Kershaw, another former Cy Young winner in Zack Greinke, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and right-hander Dan Haren.With less than three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, Josh Beckett is the front-runner for the Dodgers’ final rotation spot. The 33-year-old right-hander went 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA last season before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in July. He is expected to be healthy when camp opens. Chad Billingsley, who had Tommy John surgery last April, isn’t expected to be healthy enough to pitch until June. He made just two starts last season.For all their uncertainty, the Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter until April 19, thanks to a series of off-days early in the regular season. At least on paper, Tanaka’s other suitors had a more pressing need for a top-of-the-line starter. According to MLB.com, the Astros were the first team to meet with Tanaka on Jan. 9 in Los Angeles and their final offer exceeded $100 million. That’s a stunning testament to the perceived value of Tanaka; Houston’s total 2013 payroll didn’t exceed $30 million.The New York Times reported Wednesday that Hideki Matsui made a recruiting call to Tanaka on the Yankees’ behalf. Trey Hillman, the Dodgers’ bench coach last year who previously managed in Japan, was reportedly part of the Yankees’ eight-man delegation that met with Tanaka.The Cubs and White Sox were both intent on making Tanaka the centerpiece of their rebuilding efforts, while the Diamondbacks reportedly made a six-year offer. They were the only other National League West team involved in the bidding.The Angels did not meet with Tanaka or his agent, Casey Close, and were not involved in the bidding.Tanaka was the first player available through a new system that limited the posting fee to $20 million and allowed multiple major league teams to negotiate with the player. Under the previous system, only one MLB team could negotiate with the player, and there was no limit to how much teams could bid to negotiate. The Dodgers, having already signed Clayton Kershaw this month to the largest contract ever given a pitcher, watched the New York Yankees sign off on the fifth-largest deal Wednesday.Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka agreed to a seven-year, $155 million contract, choosing New York over Los Angeles, and at least four other teams who submitted bids. The Yankees and Chicago Cubs reportedly made the largest offers to Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 earned-run average last year in Japan’s top league. The Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros also bid on Tanaka after submitting the $20 million posting fee. The Yankees will pay the posting fee to Tanaka’s team in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, bringing the total cost to $175 million.Tanaka can opt out after the fourth year of his contract, which also includes a full no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com. Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million deal last week to become the game’s highest-paid pitcher. Only Kershaw, Justin Verlander (7 years, $180 million), Felix Hernandez (7 years, $175 million) and C.C. Sabathia (7 years, $161 million) are guaranteed more money than Tanaka.The Dodgers spent a record $239 million in payroll in 2013 and have a good chance of passing that number again in 2014 even without Tanaka. General manager Ned Colletti has been coy about his interest in starters other than Tanaka. His immediate focus might shift to adding a veteran infielder or re-signing his two arbitration-eligible players, closer Kenley Jansen and catcher A.J. Ellis.The Dodgers could also use the money they saved to bolster their rotation with a free-agent starter such as Matt Garza or Bronson Arroyo. They are loathe to sacrifice their 2014 first-round draft pick to sign either Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, both of whom turned down qualifying offers last fall.A more tantalizing option is Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price, who recently re-signed an affordable one-year, $14 million contract. But any trade for Price would cost multiple top prospects, which would set back the Dodgers’ efforts to rebuild their farm system.
0Shares0000AFC Leopards fans Mexican wave. PHOTO FILE.NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18- AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano and skipper Duncan Otieno have issued a passionate rallying call to their fans to come out in large numbers on Friday as they play Kariobangi Sharks in the GOtv Shield final at the Moi International Sports Center Kasarani.Ingwe has suffered a deficiency of the 12th man push this season especially with the dwindling fortunes in results, but Matano and Otieno have both asked for a final chance to impress, promising they will not disappoint in the final. “We understand the team has not been winning and the fans lack motivation because it is obvious that they want to come to the stadium to see the team win.But they should come cheer us as we try and clinch this trophy. We need their motivation and we can’t do it without the fans coming behind us,” Matano told Capital Sport.His sentiments were echoed by Otieno who said the players have vowed within themselves to do everything possible and ensure they bag the trophy to make up for a disastrous season that has seen them engage in relegation fights.AFC Leopards players celebrate one of their goals against Thika United in a Kenyan Premier League match on September 20, 2017 at the Thika Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAFC Leopards last won the Shield in 2013 when they beat arch rivals Gor Mahia 1-0 at the Nyayo National Stadium with Peter ‘Pinchez’ Opiyo scoring the lone goal, but since then, they have endured a frustrating trophy drought.They warmed up perfectly for the final with a 1-0 win over Ulinzi Stars in a Kenyan Premier League match in Nakuru on Tuesday, and Matano says it sets up their confidence perfectly to face Sharks who will be playing in their first ever Shield final.“The motivation is now there because the players have realized their mistakes and have corrected. But a final is a different ballgame altogether and they should double their efforts. We have to go there and win the match,” Matano said.Matano joined the team in July and top on his agenda is to get them back to the top having struggled to imprint its status as one of the best teams in the country, with 13 KPL titles under their wings, though the last came 19 years ago.“We want to bring stability to the club so that we can have somewhere to start from next season. We want this club to get back to where it was before because AFC is a big team,” Matano who alongside assistant coach Tom Juma are both former AFC Leopards players said.AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano speaks to midfielder Duncan Otieno before their game against Gor Mahia in the Mashemeji Derby on August 26, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaSkipper Otieno has admitted they have struggled to knit results this season, pointing out to a congested fixture as the main reason their fortunes have been far from convincing.“Sometimes you play a game on Sunday and lose then you have to face another game on Wednesday. Most of the times it has not been easy to recover and re-strategize and also, the element of fatigue creeps in. It hasn’t been a good season for us,” the midfielder who rejoined the club in January from Posta Rangers noted.Save for winning the silverware and end the season on a high, the players are also motivated by the allure of playing in the CAF Confederations Cup next season.“AFC is a big team and we should work hard to get it back to the African map. That is our responsibility as players. Also, plying in the CAF competitions is always a huge motivation for any player because we get the experience of playing at a higher level and also an opportunity to market ourselves,” Otieno further said.Ahead of the final, AFC will miss the services of defender Robinson Kamura who picked up a foot injury last weekend in the club’s 2-0 loss to Posta Rangers in Narok while Ugandan midfielder Keziron Kizito will have a late fitness test.Matano though is confident that despite the absence of the key players they will have enough cover to field a strong, competent squad.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)