MLB New York Yankees

5 Reasons Why Yankees Made Huge Mistake in Signing Masahiro Tanaka

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5 Reasons Why Signing Tanaka Was A Mistake

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The New York Yankees signed former Rakuten Golden Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year contract worth $155 million and the arrival of the coveted right-hander makes them instant World Series contenders for the upcoming 2014 season.

While the Yankees can be considered winners for landing the coveted Japanese hurler – arguably the top pitcher available in the free-agent market this offseason – every contract comes with a lot of risk and in this case, things are no different, especially considering the fact that Tanaka has never thrown a single pitch in the States and that is unclear how his talent will translate to the MLB level.

There’s always a chance that things pan out, but there are huge chances that the Yankees have made a huge mistake giving that kind of contract to Tanaka and it wouldn’t be strange to see things going south after a years.

The Yankees are in full win-now mode, but their window is quite short since the roster is full with veterans and there aren’t many prospects ready to make an impact in the near future. Tanaka will surely anchor the pitching staff in the following two or maybe three years that the Yankees will contend, but it doesn’t seem possible to see this team contending through the next seven years.

In short, the Yankees made a huge mistake landing Tanaka with such a huge contract looking towards the future of the team as his presence might be a curse more than a blessing down the road. Here are five reasons why.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Too Much Money

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The Yankees gave Tanaka a contract that will ultimately pay him $155 million in seven years, although it has an opt-out clause after the fourth year. Nonetheless, that is nearly $100 million guaranteed and while nobody can argue against Tanaka’s quality, that’s simply too much money for a player that hasn’t thrown a single pitch at the MLB level.

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4. Full No-Trade Clause

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The contract given to Tanaka includes a no-trade clause, so they essentially gave him full control of his destiny. Very few players have this kind of luxury in the league and while it was a nice move to secure his signing, it could haunt the Yankees in a few more years.

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3. Unproven Track Record

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Despite the fact that Tanaka was a star in Japan, things are different at the MLB level. The NPB is closer to a Triple-A league than the MLB level and it remains to be seen how his talent translates to the Big Leagues. Several scouts think he’s good enough to be a No. 1 or 2 talent, but if he doesn’t, he might end up being a total bust.

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2. Mileage On His Arm

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Like most Japanese pitchers, Tanaka has a huge workload based on the fact he’s only 25 years old. Tanaka has pitched over 155 innings in each of the last seven years and his final three campaigns with the Rakuten Golden Eagles he has logged 226.1, 173 and 212 innings per season. That’s a huge mileage in a player that is quite young and hasn’t even hit his prime.

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1. Things Could Always Go South

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Huge contracts like the one given to Tanaka could always end up failing and that would be a huge blow for the Yankees. Tanaka could be injury prone, could suffer Tommy John Surgery or might not even be as good as advertised. The Yankees made a huge commitment and the minor setback could spell doom for the franchise if things don’t work out as expected.