Tanaka Time

Now that the World Series has ended, the Yankees will turn their attention to Mashiro Tanaka, who holds the key to their off-season. Tanaka has three days to inform the Yankees if he wants to opt-out of the remaining three years of his contract. If he does, the Yankees will subtract an average of $22.142 million from their payroll over the next three years.

Why is that important? Because the Yankees are trying to reset their luxury tax threshold and this is the year to do that. Heading into 2018, the Yankee payroll is probably around $170-million, about $27-million below the luxury tax threshold. That includes Tanaka, and estimated arbitration for nine players. If Tanaka opt-out, and the Yankees do not pursue him, they would have almost $50-million of room below the luxury tax threshold.

While the perception is that this is a yes or no decision, there could also be a third option. The Yankees add a year or two to Tanaka’s contract, but at a lower salary, thereby lowering the luxury tax implications. For example, the Yankees add a year to the deal, but at a salary of $13-million. I’m not at all in favor of that, but it’s a possibility.

Once Tanaka decides, the offseason becomes a lot clearer. Let’s see what happens.