The New York Yankees have started a new trend. It goes: miss the playoffs, buy everybody. The Yankees have landed the biggest player of the offseason in Masahiro Tanaka and have simultaneously established themselves as the favorites to win it all.
The Japanese ace agreed to terms on a seven-year deal worth $155 million, not including the $20 million posting fee. Tanaka will now enhance what would have been a rather average rotation with C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and whatever farm guy or remaining free agent the Yankees would take a chance on.
Tanaka is added to the list of star free agents the Yankees have signed this offseason that includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. The team has bettered themselves this way since back in 2008, when they missed the playoffs and reacted by going on a spending spree by inking Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. The result was a World Series in 2009.
If the Yankees fail to win it all, the almost half a billion dollars spent will be completely pointless, and the organization will be ridiculed until they win a championship. Though if they do win the World Series in 2014, everyone will say that it was supposed to happen. Regardless of how Tanaka performs, the dollars the Yankees spent this offseason has put them under a magnifying glass.
Tanaka doesn’t solve all the Yankees problems and he probably won’t go 24-0 like he did in NPB last year. There are still question marks in the infield, bullpen and yes, even the rotation. The Yankees will still need another arm to add to the rotation, and it will probably be another free agent with Hal Steinbrenner blowing the roof off of the team’s supposed $189 million limit.
However, just by looking at the names in the Yankees’ lineup combined with their price tags, they are the favorites to win the World Series — they have no choice.