New York Yankees Must Not Bank On Masahiro Tanaka

By James O'Hare
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Rumor has it the New York Yankees will aggressively pursue Masahiro Tanaka, who will likely be the latest Japanese import to MLB in 2014.

The $60MM posting fee is inconsequential to the organization because it doesn’t count towards the $189MM luxury tax threshold, and let’s not forget it’s the Yankees – they have more money than God.

But the most prominent reason for such heavy spending is the ridiculous numbers Tanaka put up in Nippon Professional Baseball. Here are his stats from 2013: 20-0, 181.0 IP, 1.24 ERA, 155 SO. Not too shabby.

Though Tanaka can provide some much needed help to a starting rotation that only has two spots locked down (C.C. Sabatha, Ivan Nova), the Yankees should not rest all their hopes on the 25-year old.

True, Tanaka has been compared to Yu Darvish, who has been immensely successful for the Texas Rangers. The Yankees also struck gold with the acquisition of Hideki Matsui in 2003.

But let’s not forget the struggles of Hideki Irabu and the disaster that was Kei Igawa (he wore his sunglasses all the way back to Japan). Daisuke Matsuzaka also flamed out after two good years with the Boston Red Sox.

Basically, the Yankees would be wise to not put all their eggs in the Tanaka basket. Rather, they should also pursue one or two veteran arms in the offseason, like Matt Garza or Ervin Santana, to bolster the starting rotation. Between these acquisitions, in addition to prospects like Michael Pineda, Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, and Adam Warren, the Yankees should be able to put together a solid starting rotation in 2014.

Yes, Tanaka has dominated in Japan since 2009 and seems like the real deal, but there’s no way to know for sure until he actually pitches in a Major League game. While the Yankees should undoubtedly pursue the right hander, the team cannot bank on him to revitalize the starting rotation – even if they break the bank to get him.

James O’Hare is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @JimboOHare, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

You May Also Like