The New York Yankees seem to be ready to spend money by the dufflebag for Japanese right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka has been one of the best pitchers the Japan Pacific League has ever seen. In 175 games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka was 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and 1,238 strikeouts. He had an undefeated season in 2013 and the Yankees are ready to make him apart of the ball club.
However, if New York digs deep enough, they may not have to spend money for Tanaka.
Tampa Bay Rays right-handed pitcher Jeff Niemann elected for free agency on Monday after his role with the team diminished following right shoulder surgery to repair a rotator cuff and labrum. The 31-year-old has been replaced with young upcoming pitching prospects such as Matt Moore and Chris Archer. Niemann is more than likely going to get a minor league deal somewhere, but he can be a huge bargain if he heals up nicely.
Niemann was once part of a promising team of young pitchers in the Rays’ farm system. New York should look at him.
Johan Santana is another low-key type pitcher who the Yankees should take a look at. Although he has not thrown a pitch since 2012 and is coming off Tommy John surgery, Santana already knows the New York market well and pitched decently during his tenure with the New York Mets. He is another bargain-bin type pitcher that New York could pick up and possibly get results from.
It would also behoove the Yankees to look at veterans like Mike Pelfrey, Ryan Vogelsong or Barry Zito to fill out the back end of the rotation. With Robinson Cano not backing down from his absurd $310 million asking price, going after Tanaka does not make sense at this moment.