Thursday Morning Musings: 1/16/14

Saw "Lone Survivor" last night.  Great movie, really gripping, powerful stuff.  I read the book when I went to Germany a few years ago and I fully recommend both it and the movie to everybody.  There's only 1 day of NFL playoffs this weekend, so free up a few hours on Saturday and go check it out. Tanaka Watch 2014 is down to its final 8 days, the Yankees keep popping up more and more in comments by experts, sources, and unnamed team officials as the favorites to sign him, and I'm going to be stuck doing team building stuff with my co-workers all night after work, so I have to save every ounce of creative energy I have in me to make it through that.  Let's muse.

- How about that Clayton Kershaw contract, huh?  $30+ mil a year is a decent chunk of change, I guess.  I could probably live pretty comfortably on that.  And strangely enough, I actually like the deal for both sides.  I'm a little surprised LA went that high for a non-everyday player, but if any pitcher is worth 30 mil it's Kershaw.  He's an absolute beast, he's the best pitcher in baseball who just finished a 3-year stretch that harks back to early 60s Sandy Koufax, and he's only 25 years old.

- 7 years would bring him to 32, the back end of his prime. The opt out after 5 would allow Kershaw to leave and seek more money if he wanted to, which I only see happening if the Dodgers completely fall apart in the next 5 years, and would also allow the Dodgers to escape paying that steep $30 mil price for another 2 years, which again I only see happening if they completely fall apart.  They've got plenty of money and have been in full spend mode for a while.  Good on them for locking up the remainder of Kershaw's best years and not getting too buried in years doing it.

- As that move relates to Masahiro Tanaka, I think it will take the Dodgers out of the running.  They're not going to come out and say it, because they are well aware of how much their involvement influences the market right now, but I don't see them committing the kind of money it's going to take to land Tanaka after shelling out $215 million to Kershaw.  If anything, I think they're trying to out-Yankee the Yankees right now, staying involved just to drive up the price New York has to pay.

- If that's the case, whatever.  I don't care about staying under the payroll ceiling any more and I don't think Hal does either.  There's just no way it happens with Tanaka's salary factored in, so throw it out the window and do what you have to do to sign the guy.  At least then I won't have to sit around sighing at the list of third base candidates.

- Hal spoke to the media about the A-Rod suspension at the owners' meetings yesterday and he made some headlines by not ruling out the possibility of Alex returning to the Yankees in 2015.  I wouldn't get too excited about that statement one way or the other.  He's just playing nice and saying what he has to say.  The case is still in the courts and Alex is suing everybody under the sun.  It's not like Hal can come right out say "yeah, we're going to cut his ass as soon as we have the chance.  He'll never play in New York again."  The most likely endgame is still A-Rod being released after this season.

- By the way, was I the only one who didn't realize the owners' meetings were taking place this week?  Just me?  OK then.

- Strange to see the Yanks only get 3 appearances on "Sunday Night Baseball" in the first half of the season.  Maybe that says something about how less exciting of a draw they became last year and what kind of team ESPN thinks they're going to be this year.  Yankees just aren't what's hot in the streets right now.  Hopefully that changes when they sign Tanaka, add another big name starter, shock everybody by trading for Chase Headley, and lead the AL East by 3 games at the ASB.