New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka Will Stay in the Bronx
The New York Yankees have a pretty large to-do list heading into the off-season. Their coaching staff is being rebuilt, the outfield is cluttered and the back of the rotation could use some work. Fortunately, that last item just got a little easier. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka decided against opting out of his contract. The 29-year-old will remain with the Yankees for the next three seasons and will earn $67 million.
Tanaka’s decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise after a sub-par season likely hurt his stock. Tanaka looked particularly awful at times during the season. He was especially prone to giving up the long ball but ended the season on a high note. He was much better after the All-Star break, posting a 3.77 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 12 starts. Most importantly, he was absolutely dominant when it mattered, in the postseason.
Tanaka made three huge starts for the Yankees in the postseason. He pitched some of the best games he threw all year, with a just two runs allowed in 25 innings. Tanaka showed the Yankees that he was capable of finding his old self. While the Yankees championship run ended early, his success is a huge part of the optimism heading into next season.
While $67 million is not what you would call a bargain, the Yankees likely saved money in the long run. The starting pitching market is pretty scarce right now, so the Yankees likely would have had to spend a hefty amount for a replacement. Instead, they have a proven arm at the top of the rotation that’ll help put them in a great place to start the 2018 season.
Something worth noting is Tanaka’s relationship with Japanese superstar, Shohei Otani. The two-way star is expected to make the transition to the majors this offseason and the Yankees have long been rumored to be a favorite in the sweepstakes. Having Tanaka on the team will help the Yankees chances in landing the 23-year-old, as the two have a history with each other. They worked out before the season started and both raved about the others’ abilities.
As of now, the Yankees’ rotation will look very similar to how it did to end the 2017 season. Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery are all on board, with CC Sabathia expected to get a short-term deal with the team. The Yankees also have plenty of talent capable of making starts at the big league level like Chance Adams or Luis Cessa. Nonetheless, having Tanaka back on board is a major boost for the 2018 New York Yankees.