It was all set up. The starting pitching problem the New York Yankees have was going to be solved. Masahiro Tanaka was supposed to get posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, and the Yankees were going to post the necessary money to negotiate with him, and they were going to pay more than any other team to get him to the Bronx because of their glaring need for starting pitching. However, it looks like it might not be meant to be until next year since the Golden Eagles are reluctant to post Tanaka. This presents a problem for the Yankees.
Of course, it was not guaranteed the Yankees were going to get Tanaka because any team would have been able to post the $20 million necessary to be able to negotiate with Tanaka, but it is safe to assume the Yankees would have made sure they put out an offer more than any other team would be willing to give an unknown commodity, because they are the Yankees. They have proven this year that they will overpay to fill a need on the team, and they would have done the same to get Tanaka to New York.
This one particularly hurts the Yankees. Offseasons are not supposed to go like this in the Bronx. Obviously, Tanaka not getting posted is out of their control, but there has not been an offseason in at least the last 15 years that has been like this for the Yankees. It has been documented, but let’s go over it one more time.
They lost Robinson Cano, got outbid for Omar Infante and have had to sign below-average players in Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts to be their new tandem at second base. Add Tanaka reportedly not being available on top of all of that, and the Yankees can’t be 100 percent happy with how free agency has gone for them so far this year.
The Yankees did do good things with signing Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, but it certainly has not been all rainbows and sunshine. If George Steinbrenner was still running the organization, there is no way this offseason would have been as rocky. For one, Cano would have gotten re-signed on top of McCann and at least Ellsbury getting signed, if not Beltran as well.
So getting back to the immediate question, where do the Yankees go from here now that Tanaka seems to be off the board until next year? I am going to sound like a typical Yankees fan, but they have to forget about staying under $189 million dollars in payroll and go for Matt Garza. It will be another big contract, but the Yankees have to sign Garza and add him to what is a weak starting rotation.
He has proven he can pitch in the AL East effectively, and is still relatively young at 30 years old. Garza pitched in the AL East from 2008-2010 for the Tampa Bay Rays, and did a pretty good job. He averaged 11 wins, 197 innings pitched, a 3.86 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Garza did only strike out 7.1 batters per nine innings and averaged 24 home runs given up during those years, but those are solid numbers from a guy who has been solid for most of his career.
You are basically going to get a more consistent version of A.J. Burnett with this guy. They are both guys who will have an ERA around four, who might allow a few too many runners on base, and might give up one or two more long balls than you would like to see, but Garza will definitely not have as many peaks and valleys. If the Yankees can get Garza on a five-year contract, that would not be bad. They need to make one more move to improve that starting rotation; they simply cannot afford to sit and watch free agents go off the market.