The New York Yankees have had a busy offseason thus far. After a disappointing 2013 season, the Bombers’ front office has looked to rebuild a Yankees team that failed to make the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years. So far, the Yankees have signed three superstar position players in Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Jacoby Ellsbury. However, if the team expects to succeed in 2014, Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka must be the prime target for Brian Cashman and the Yankees organization.
New York’s starting pitching was inconsistent in 2013. Former Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia looked like a shell of his old self. Hiroki Kuroda did his best to produce despite lack of run support, and the back end of the rotation was a mix and match of Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and whoever Joe Girardi thought was pitching best at the given time.
The addition of Masahiro Tanaka would help solve many of these problems. Tanaka posted 1.27 ERA and a 24-0 record in 27 starts in 2013. Although scouts are hesitant to compare his “stuff” to Texas Rangers‘ Yu Darvish, it is said that Tanaka simply knows how to pitch. His numbers attest to that. Over the course of his seven-year career, Tanaka has recorded a 2.30 ERA with 1238 strikeouts to just 275 walks. That type of consistency would be warmly welcomed by the New York Yankees.
Tanaka would most likely serve as the team’s No.3 pitcher behind Sabathia and Kuroda. That gives the Yankees three very dangerous arms at the top end of the rotation. Add Nova and Michael Pineda to the back end, and the Yankees’ rotation is shaping up to have a mixture of veteran leadership, star power, and young energy that should lead the team to success in 2014.
The ball is in the Yankees’ court. It may be difficult for Hal Steinbrenner to open up the checkbook yet again in the 2013 offseason, but for Tanaka it is necessary. If the Yankees plan on returning to the World Series in 2014, Masahiro Tanaka needs to be pitching in pinstripes.