22 Jan 2014
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have “won” the Tanaka bidding with a 7-year/$155-million deal. Add on the posting fee of $20-million and a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors will cost them $25-million a year. (Rosenthal reports that this deal has an opt-out after four years. I hope the Yankees strongly consider letting him walk if he triggers that, but I will save that conversation for 2017.)
The experts can say whatever they want about Tanaka, but nobody really knows what his stuff will translate to in the majors. If he pitches like the reports, the $25-million a year will be a decent deal. If he doesn’t….
But this deal is about the Yankees’ brand too. Japan is a baseball hotbed and Tanaka will draw a lot of interest. The Yankees certainly made plenty of money off the field from the Matsui signing and I would bet they see that happening again. Plus, this will certainly drive ticket sales in the Bronx.
And now we can say goodbye to the $189-million plan. It wasn’t a bad idea, but the execution in the minor leagues didn’t allow it to happen. Now that the won’t make it, I suspect there will be more spending to come. Tanaka puts them at about $192-million for 2014 and I suspect they might have $20-million or so left to spend.
For now though, the rotation is probably set. Sabathia, Kuroda, Tanaka and Nova are the locks with some interesting names like Pineda, Phelps and Banuelos in the running for the fifth spot.