Saturday, January 7, 2017

Masahiro Tanaka & Pulling an “Aroldis Chapman”


The New York Yankees are in a transition phase as we inch closer towards the 2017 regular season and the next few months will forever shape the franchise as we know it. Brian Cashman, the team’s General Manager, can do one of two things as we enter the next calendar year. He can stick to the plan, continue pushing forward with the youth movement and build towards the 2018 season and beyond or he can trade away some of his newly found prospects and make a run at things in 2017. There can be no in between with this team with just one exception, Masahiro Tanaka. 

Before I delve too deep into this I want to coin the phrase “pulling an Aroldis Chapman” and explain that it means to trade a player the summer before he hits free agency only to sign him back immediately that winter essentially getting the player and the prospects for nothing but a little cash that you were presumably okay with giving to the player anyway. The Yankees did this with Aroldis Chapman this past trading deadline and winter and were at least having discussions with Carlos Beltran about doing something similar so why couldn’t the Yankees do it again this summer with Masahiro Tanaka? 

As we all know Tanaka has a big opt-out clause written into his contract and the deadline to opt-out or not has to be made after the 2017 World Series concludes later on this year. IF, and I preface this with an IF and will likely include a lot of IF’s in this post, the Yankees are out of contention once again in July I truly believe the Yankees should trade Tanaka with the hope (or backstage secret handshake that they can either confirm or deny publicly) that the Japanese-born right-hander opts out of the contract and returns to the Bronx on a new deal before the 2018 season.  

Now obviously this all hinges on the health of Tanaka. While I do not personally worry about his elbow or the strains, bumps and bruises along the way that seem to hamper his season each and every year there are many circles that are worried about his health and who am I to tell them not to be. If he can stay healthy once again in 2017 and prove all the doubters, who by the way are doubters and not doctors, wrong once again about the Yankees and an army of doctors decision to forego Tommy John surgery he may be in line for another huge payout if he were to opt out of the contract. He would also fetch a huge haul in terms of prospects as well before the July 31st trading deadline in 2017. 


If the Yankees are out of contention then it’s time to continue the youth movement by pillaging a farm system and trading away Masahiro Tanaka. I know the Japanese people are stereotypically and generally big on honor but they also know, and can be made to understand, that this is a business and this is for the best not only for the team but for himself as well. The Yankees should then take all the newly found Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia money they have coming off the books and throw it at Tanaka next winter, assuming he opts out. Call it pulling an Aroldis Chapman now but next year we may be calling it pulling a Masahiro Tanaka. 

Either way, stay tuned. 

1 comment:

  1. USING...the Tanaka chip. A true, Blue Chip.

    While we mostly all assume here that Tanaka will be opting out, I for
    one could not he happier. A healthy Tanaka, as he was last year, will
    yield you more than what Chapman brought back last July.

    A top 10 starting pitcher for a team readying for a post season run ?

    Ball clubs will be like hungry teenagers, looking over a greasy
    menu, featuring only cheese burgers !
    By mid-July the phone should be / will be ringing off the hook.

    a) Maybe obtain that last great piece, before the Yankees readies
    for it's long anticipated run ?
    b) More salary off the books. More to spend.
    c) If Tanaka comes back next winter, it will be like another
    slice of cheese for that cheese burger.

    Make mine cheddar.

    ReplyDelete