Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Let the Yankees have LeMahieu, pursue Tanaka instead

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 17, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 17, 2020 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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If the Yankees are serious about being reserved with their spending this winter, the Blue Jays could have an opportunity to pursue Masahiro Tanaka.

It’s been a different kind of MLB offseason, and one where we’ve almost heard more about what teams won’t do as far as spending money, rather than the usual race to sign the top free agents.

The latest rumour to that end popped up in Yankees’ circles of all places on Monday, with Michael Kay of the YES television network, talking about how the Bronx Bombers could limit their spending this winter. That’s not to suggest that they won’t sign anyone, but their highest priority seems to be re-upping with D.J. LeMahieu. And if they’re able to bring the multi-position infielder back, it “might be the last big guy they get”.

First of all, it’s the Yankees we’re talking about, and we should treat this news with the biggest grain of salt you can find. However, there could be truth to these rumours for a few reasons, including financial losses in 2020, and the pending contract situations with their homegrown stars like Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and more. Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office has shown more restraint in recent years, so it’s not out of the question. However, I do find it strange that they’d let Masahiro Tanaka get away.

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According to Kay, the Yankees could very much be looking at an either/or with LeMahieu and Tanaka, and if so, that should certainly catch the interest of the Blue Jays.

We know that they’ve expressed interest in LeMahieu already this offseason, and his potential fit in Toronto gives the Blue Jays good reason to pursue his services. That said, if I could pick one available Yankee that the Blue Jays could use to improve their own roster, I’d likely prioritize Tanaka and what he could bring to the rotation.

The 32-year-old has had a fairly successful MLB career thus far over seven seasons, and would slot nicely behind Hyun Jin Ryu as the number two starter in the Blue Jays’ rotation. He has a career 78-46 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.130 WHIP while pitching in baseball’s toughest division, and one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in the game.

Signing Tanaka would represent two bigs wins for the Blue Jays. The first is obvious in that they have a need for another top-tier starter, and while Tanaka shouldn’t be considered an ace, he’s not terribly far off. However, it becomes a double win if you can snag him from the division rival’s roster, especially if they’re not really looking to spend to replace him. The Blue Jays could look to do the same with James Paxton as well, who is another talented Yankee starter that’s now on the free agent market.

Next. Patience already providing a better pitching market. dark

For most of the offseason I’ve assumed that Tanaka would just re-sign in New York, and that it wasn’t really worth thinking too much about his potential fit with the Blue Jays. Tuesday’s rumours could be a smoke screen for the Yankees, but if they are serious about bringing LeMahieu back and letting Tanaka walk, the Blue Jays should be ready to pounce on the opportunity.

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