Masahiro Tanaka signs with New York Yankees

masahiro tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka delivers a pitch in the WBC vs Cuba. Mandatory Credit: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac

According to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports the New York Yankees have signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Was there really any a doubt that he would eventually be wearing pinstripes?

The seven-year, $155 million contract would make him the fifth richest pitcher in baseball as only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and C.C. Sabathia have inked larger deals according to Rosenthal. You may also notice from the tweet that the deal includes an opt-out clause after fours years, which seem to be all the rage these days as agents have been able to work seemingly more and more of these clauses in hopes for yet another even more lucrative payday.

But how does this affect the Blue Jays? Obviously facing Tanaka as a division rival won’t be fun. He could be especially devastating in his first year since opponents will have limited information about how he works.

The Yankees add Tanaka to a free agent coupe that already includes Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. It appears the posting system delayed worked in New York’s favour as they were able to learn the fate of Alex Rodriguez‘s appeal before having to file for Tanaka but I’ll leave those conspiracy theories and sour grapes for another day.

This leaves the rest of the market and those that missed on Tanaka left with most notably Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana. This is the “domino” we’ve been waiting to fall and it should be interesting to see how things play out from here for the Toronto Blue Jays.

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  • Andrew van Laar

    Wow…. I am actually really happy AA didn’t pay that much. I mean, he could have turned into Darvish, but the odds are much more likely he would be middle of the run starter.

    On another side note, how come I haven’t heard that Jays being interesed in Paul Maholm? He seems to be a pretty decent pitcher, good for 170+ innings and looks like he could be had on the cheap (compared to the other ‘big name starters’). What do you guys think?

    • Erik Trenouth

      I’ve always liked Maholm, but I think he is more of a back of the rotation guy now. The Jays have enough of those, so I think they haven’t really considered him because he isn’t an upgrade.
      I personally like his GB and low BB tendencies, but he is a little too predictable, making it easier for batters to square up on him.

      • Justin Jay

        He’s an upgrade if they get Jimenez. That’s an older, but formidable rotation if the Jays get Maholm and Jimenez. It also gives some of the young and recovering arm injured guys a chance to develop some more. No rushing is a good thing. I want to see Stroman in Toronto, but some AAA time definitely wouldn’t hurt

  • Gary Kimbrel

    This isn’t all bad for Toronto. New York picked up another potential albatross, and they still look risky for injuries this year (Els, Jeter, Tex, Roberts, Beltran, Suzuki). If the Cubs had’ve picked up Tanaka, I would’ve expected NYY to outbid Toronto for Jimenez. Now, maybe that won’t happen.

    I guess the question now is, how many teams are in on the FA’s, who will opt for trades, who will go for less expensive options. The Cubs likely won’t go after one of the remaining FA’s so that’s one team out of the running. I doubt the ChiSox will be in either. AZ supposedly might go after two guys, more likely one. I’d bet on Seattle, LAA, Toronto, maybe Texas, also being in on top players, with Baltimore, Cleveland, going for less expensive options. A lot depends on whether the Yanks and Dodgers add another starter.

    • Justin Jay

      I agree that players on the remaining free agents are Seattle, Toronto, Texas, KC, and even the Yankees, still. I think the Diamondback want to stay with the young approach (though, who really knows with Kevin Towers right now), just like the White Sox and Cubs. Baltimore is out of the running because their ownership won’t spend, especially not on pitching. I think they’re going to place their season in the hands of Showalter’s leadership and the young arms in Norfolk developing into quality starters.

      Cleveland may also try, but they had some lousy attendance numbers despite being playoff contenders. They probably won’t spend the money. The market is all screwed up now thanks to Tanaka and Feldman.

      • Gary Kimbrel

        You think it’s likely that Kansas is in on one of Garza/Santana/Jimenez? Would you count out the Twins? They’ve already made surprises this year.

        • Justin Jay

          According to one of our sister sites, KC Kingdom, the Royals haven’t ruled out Santana, but right now are far apart on what they’re willing to offer him and what he wants. The problem for Santana is a lack of options. People are scared by his track record and it is believed Toronto is in the mix for his services, but is #3 on the list behind Jimenez and Garza (as it should be IMO).

          I count out the Twins because they already made surprises this year and honestly, this is another move that won’t put them over the top in that division. With Tanaka going to the Yankees, I believe they’re now out. White Sox and Cubs have said they’re not interested in Santana. Texas most likely won’t (and shouldn’t) go after Santana. That leaves Toronto and KC. I think the agency that represents Ervin will definitely be a factor. There are a lot of former Jays represented by Santana’s and Bautista’s group.

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