Why Would Tanaka Pick Arizona, Anyways?

Stuart Franklin

The buzz keeps increasing in volume: the Diamondbacks are going to make a run at Masahiro Tanaka. That the Arizona wants the Japanese hurler is no surprise, but why would he want them in return?

Maybe it's just talk, but the coverage suggests that the Diamondbacks really think they can sign Masahiro Tanaka. Their competition is the usual suspects: Dodgers, Cubs, Mariners, Yankees. Teams with money, teams in high profile markets, teams that already have a history of signing Japanese players. The Diamondbacks don't fit any of those characteristics. So why do they think they have a chance?

"Really, a lot of it is selling who we are and what we’re about," Towers said. "I can speak for Ken and Derrick and myself that we’re pretty easygoing people that are not real plastic at all. Kind of ‘What you see is what you get,’ and I think some people like that style. It’s pretty casual, but it’s real and it’s straightforward and not a lot of bells and whistles, just kind of who we are. I think that’s a great quality about this organization and what I love about this organization. It’s kind of down home good people."

Come to Arizona, where things will be low-key!

Now, none of us Internet People know what Tanaka really wants. Perhaps he really does want to go somewhere he can be a little anonymous. Maybe he loves Westerns. Maybe he watched the Phoenix Grand Prix as a kid.

But if he cares about money, or fame, or being an ace, or playing for a winner, he's not choosing Arizona. Not because the Diamondbacks can't offer some of those things, but that other teams can provide most or all of them in a more attractive package. He could be rich, famous, and a winner in LA, Seattle, Chicago, or New York. He could be the rotation's ace in Chicago or New York (sorry, Captain Cheeseburger). He could get good chimichangas in Phoenix.

I don't mean to dump on the area; it's a perfectly nice place to live. I just don't see how the D-backs can make a very competitive bid for someone so desired when, as the above quote shows, it is seemingly built solely on the idea that Phoenix is a laid-back kind of place.

Of course, there's a strong possibility that Kevin Towers, that rascal, has a good pitch but doesn't want to reveal too much lest some other team develop a strategy to undermine his position. And maybe I'm selling the team, and the city, short, when I suggest that it seems unlikely Tanaka has richer, prettier suitors waiting.

Maybe you know. Why do you think Tanaka should pick Arizona?

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