The New York Yankees are trying on a new perfume that the Detroit Tigers smartly passed on; it’s called desperation. In a deal that is unprecedented the Yankees made Masahiro Tanaka the fifth highest paid pitcher in all of baseball without even having thrown a pitch in the league. Tanaka is making just slightly less than Justin Verlander despite the years of proof behind Verlander’s work. It is shameful that a pitcher with so much risk would get so much, and the Tigers can sit back and smile at the fact that they are not in such a desperate position to make bad contracts such as this one.
Now from a Yankees perspective the deal may be considered good, because let’s face it; the Yankees could sneeze and $150 million would come out. For a team that made Alex Rodriguez the highest paid baseball player anything else seems like a solid investment, especially given how poor their pitching staff currently is. For the Tigers and their fans, it’s pull up a chair, grab some popcorn and get ready to watch the implosion just like so many long-term deals the Yankees have ended up giving over the last decade.
Even if Tanaka is outstanding the Tigers can still feel like they did the right thing. They need to conserve money right now to pay for contracts down the line and do not have the ultimate flexibility that a team like the Yankees possess. The Tigers already have what many consider to be the best pitching rotation, and while it may be fun to dream about adding a guy of Tanaka’s talent to it, it is better off staying exactly that — a dream.