Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record wrote a column this weekend that if Masahiro Tanaka opts out of his deal at the end of the year, the Yankees should let him go. It’s hard to hear those words considering Tanaka has been the Yankees best pitcher but I get the logic. Klapisch believes that the risk of rupturing the slight tear in the UCL increases every year, obviously worsening with age. It makes more sense to let Tanaka walk than to add years and dollars to his contract, with reinvestment of the monies saved into the very dynamic free agent market after the 2018 season. By then, the Yankees should start to see the fruits of their work and patience with young arms like James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield, Jordan Montgomery and Chance Adams.
I hope that Tanaka decides against the opt-out. He is very honorable and I think that he places much greater value in commitment than most players. I am hopeful that he places high value in being part of baseball’s most storied franchise, and recognizes he is still going to make an incredible sum of money from 2018 to 2020 if he stays (total of $67 million). So, I hope he doesn’t opt out after the season, putting the Yankees in a very difficult spot with a hard decision to make. Back when Alex Rodriguez opted out of his original deal, the Yankees would have been so much better off had they let A-Rod walk. They would be wise to remember the past. Tanaka will be 31 at the end of his current deal if he doesn’t opt out. So, any contract renegotiation will be adding years 32 and beyond for a pitcher who will one day need Tommy John surgery. Whatever happens is going to be difficult for the organization and for us as fans.
For now, let’s just enjoy what looks to be a potentially stellar year for the ace right-hander.
I thought it was funny with Saturday’s Team USA-Team Dominican Republic game that Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s primary takeaway from watching his star outfielder Adam Jones (Team USA) rob his star third baseman Manny Machado (Team Dominican Republic) of a potential home run was that Jones snagged the ball away from a Yankees fan. I am sure that if the ball had gone out, Showalter would have taken delight that it happened against a Yankee (Tyler Clippard was on the mound for Team USA).
It was a very nice touch by Machado to tip his cap to Jones while running out the play.
Showalter never misses an opportunity to tweak the Yankees. I can still remember watching him play for the Nashville Sounds back in the early 80’s (then the AA team for the Yankees). I liked Buck as Yankees manager, but I can’t say that I am disappointed with the sequence of events that led to his departure from the Yankees and subsequent replacement by Joe Torre. I think that one played out well for Yankees fans.
You know things are going right for the Yankees when they are down to their last strike, trailing in the 9th inning by one run, and still manage to get the victory through a wild pitch and a couple of throwing errors by the catcher. That’s exactly what happened when the Yankees defeated the Houston Astros, 6-4, on Sunday. With Jandel Gustave on the mound for the Astros, nursing a 4-3 lead, he had two strikes on Donovan Solano with two outs. A wild pitch and a throwing error later, the Yankees had captured the lead for good. Another throwing error contributed an insurance run. When things are going right, they really go your way.
Adam Warren had a solid starting pitching performance, but I still feel that he is better suited for the bullpen. Luis Severino, meanwhile, did not look so great, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs in 3 1/3 innings. He was lucky he wasn’t tagged for more runs with several great plays by Aaron Hicks in center. Severino should still have a grasp on the #4 spot in the rotation but it would be nice if he could contribute a strong performance between now and the start of the regular season. I have seen a few sports columnists already questioning whether he even belongs in the major leagues. It was just one game. The body of his work this spring has been good and he deserves another chance. It's always interesting when young NFL quarterbacks talk about the maturity process that allows the game to slow down for them. The same needs to happen for Severino.
With the latest win, the Yankees moved their record to 17-6. The Yankees stayed in West Palm Beach, FL, site of the game against the Astros, for a game this afternoon against the Washington Nationals. The Nationals and Astros share The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Yankees might want to stick around after their game to watch the St Cardinals play the Astros later in the day. Right-hander Joe Musgrove, the recent focus of Yankees scouts, will be on the mound for the Astros.
Have a very happy first day of Spring! Opening Day will soon be here.