Thursday, November 2, 2017

2018 Free Agency: Masahiro Tanaka – Yay or Nay


The World Series is officially over and so is the 2017 MLB season which means one big thing for Yankees fans, it means that Masahiro Tanaka is officially on the clock. Tanaka has an opt-out clause written into his contract that he has to exercise or let pass by no later than this weekend and his decision is likely going to shape the Yankees offseason in a big way, either way. What do I think Tanaka will do and how do I think the Yankees should respond to it? Keep reading.

Ultimately I think that Tanaka will exercise his opt-out clause in his contract and will hit free agency for the first time since coming over to the United States from Japan. This would be nothing new for the Yankees but the team absolutely has to learn from their past and not make the same mistake twice. Enter Alex Rodriguez who used the World Series as a stage to announce the fact that he was opting out of his 10-year deal worth in excess of $250 million only for the Yankees to give the then 32-year old an even bigger contract at 10-years and up to $320 million with incentives, milestone home runs hit, etc. The Yankees cannot and should not big against themselves if and when Tanaka opts out, it just shouldn’t be an option.

Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t think the Yankees shouldn’t discuss bringing Tanaka back or ultimately bring him back at all. If the raise that Tanaka is looking for, presumably, is minimal or considered “fair” and the years on the contract aren’t extended an asinine amount, yes I believe 10-year contracts are asinine, then I believe it is at least worth some discussion between Tanaka and the Yankees. Remember, the Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold to reset their spending penalties and Tanaka is already one of the highest paid players on the team as it stands today. Giving Tanaka more money just doesn’t make fiscal sense for the team right now, period.

One also remember the ticking time bomb that could be Tanaka’s right elbow. Now I know I have been one of the few bloggers and writers that have supported the Yankees and a team of doctor’s decision to forego Tanaka’s Tommy John surgery and all I can say for now is, so far so good, but the Yankees would be foolish to not use that in their negotiation tactics here today and throughout the next three days. That’s business, that’s baseball and everything is fair game. If the Yankees have a legitimate concern about his elbow or a “legitimate” concern about his elbow, it will be brought up and it will be brought up with the thought process of trying to keep the bottom line down for the team. Every team does it and every team should do it, again it’s business.


At the end of the day I can totally see Tanaka opting out of his contract and trying to work out something new with the Yankees. Whether the Yankees budge or not is something I am teetering back and forth with but at the end of the day I like to think that Tanaka likes it here with the Yankees and likes it here in the Bronx. I cannot see Tanaka asking for an astronomical amount of money or years and at the end of the day I can see these two sides adding a couple extra years and a few extra (million) dollars to the contract like the Yankees did back when CC Sabathia faced a similar opt-out in his contract. Or I could just be completely wrong like I was on Joe Girardi, so stay tuned. 

1 comment:

  1. Tanks will likely try to extend and if that fails, goodbye. Tanaka will undoubtedly opt out.

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