Finally Alex Rodriguez won’t play for the New York Yankees in the upcoming season, and that means the organization will have holes to fill but also money left to spend in other areas that need attention.
The star third-baseman did see his suspension being reduced from 211 to only 162 games so he will sit out the entire 2014 campaign. And with a lofty salary coming off the books for this year – $25 million – the Yankees will probably destine that money to upgrade the pitching staff where one name stands above the rest: Masahiro Tanaka.
The Japanese ace was officially announced available on Christmas Day, and with several teams already in on the bidding process, the Yankees were said to be one of the strongest organizations most interested in the right-hander. However, the Yankees weren’t planning to go over the luxury tax threshold so all their attempts to pursue Tanaka were on hold. But now with A-Rod’s salary off the payroll, expect the Yankees to intensify their pursuit of the former Golden Rakuten Eagles’ ace.
This is a very smart move by the Yankees organization. While it’s true that the suspension of A-Rod leaves a void at third base, New York is better using his money to solve other issues. The third-baseman market is quite thin, and the Yankees could easily use a stopgap since they already improved their lineup heavily with the additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.
The pitching staff, on the other hand, needs some major tweaking, and the organization would be wise to pursue Tanaka until the end. He’s the best free agent available on the market, and now that the money is there, going after him is really a no-brainer decision by the Yankees’ management.