Friday, May 1, 2015

Looking on the Bright Side For Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka has, at least temporarily, avoided Tommy John surgery after four doctors including Dr. James Andrews cleared him to rest and rehab his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. This week we learned that Tanaka went into the Yankees complaining of a wrist injury that ended up being a “small” forearm strain that landed him on the 15 day DL and will keep him out of the Yankees rotation for at least a month. This much we do know and unlike the many on Twitter who went absolutely ape crap crazy on Tuesday night calling for the head of Brian Cashman because Tanaka did not get Tommy John surgery I am going to try, now that I am calm and had a night or two to sleep on it, to remain optimistic about the whole ordeal because there is plenty to be optimistic about. Keep reading and I’ll try to get there as quickly as I can. 

The Yankees are either going to survive this rest and rehab thing on his elbow or they aren’t and it’s looking more and more likely that it’s going to come to a head sometime during the 2015 season. This can be a good thing or a bad thing for New York when you consider his opt out clause that Tanaka has written into his contract that will allow him to opt out after the 2017 season. If Tanaka ends up going down with Tommy John surgery in 2015 he will miss likely the entire 2016 season due to rehab and will not be the same in 2017. Usually pitchers take a year off to rest and rehab and a year of getting back into the grind that is the Major League season before you see the true finished product two years removed from the surgery. Tanaka may be the exception to the rule, in either direction, but he would be unlikely to put up numbers similar to his first 18 starts in 2014 meaning the likelihood of him exercising the opt out clause has to be low.

If Tanaka can make it through the season without any further problems with the elbow and can make it through the 2017 season without a Tommy John surgery then he may opt out of his contract, and honestly that may be the best thing for the Yankees. Tanaka is signed through the 2020 season and all signs point to this rest and rehab just being a band-aid to his problem meaning that the Yankees simply delayed the inevitable with Tanaka’s elbow. If Tanaka opts out and walks away from the final three years of his contract it may be a blessing in disguise for New York, especially if he succumbs to the surgery in the final three years or beyond like Adam Wainwright eventually did in a similar situation.

There is a lot of “what-if’s” and moving parts in this theory, I know, but it has to be, or should be at least, in the back of the minds of the Yankees brass. It’s either going to work out or it’s not and in a pair of scenarios it could work out for the Yankees so don’t panic and let’s look on the bright side. Either the Yankees will have to pay Tanaka big money to rehab his elbow with a gaping hole in their rotation or it will be someone else’s problem but we cannot predict or prevent either outcome so let’s all take a step back and enjoy him while we have him, shall we?


  1. I think the Yankees should go to a full time 6 man rotation all the time.
    1. Most ex-pitchers agree they have had games that wore them out and were not ready for their next start...innings and pitch count are less of a stress than the game situations in each inning. Recovery time is needed.
    2. Japanese and younger pitchers should benefit having the extra day (Hello, "Tank")!
    3. One drawback is one less BP pitcher or bench player, not helpful on an older team. Another is less starts equals less 20 game winners.
    4. With more rest, there should be less chance of injury, by that I mean, soon after they lowered the pitching mound(1968), pitchers started haveing a lot of arm problems and soon "Tommy John" (1974) became a household word in the pitching world. Every year we and other teams have one or more of their starters go down for a month or the rest of the year.
    5. As the team is constructed at this time, we are in the best situation of any year to make the change. We have one older pitcher (C.C.) four coming back from major or minor injury. We also have kids ready in the wings that have only had one year of 170 innings in a season, but are ready in every other part of their game. With the six-man rotation, they can step right in and feel comfortable, without hitting the wall after their 120th inning. We must remember, AAA 200 innings is only about 160/179 of the show.
    6. Talk is cheap, just do it, there will never be a better time than now!

  2. 4 / 24 / 14....The date of Sabathia's last win.
    And some say we are not on the precipice of a season washout.

    1. Didn't get the victory tonight but Alex Rodriguez did hit his 660th home run of his career tonight.

  3. Good god, anyone ever have the idea that unless you are named Jeter or Andy, you are of no consequences and can't be as good as your numbers show you are? Everyone knows Big Papi was a user but, he is a nice guy, as was Andy so, they are forgiven.
    I don't know how one can get a pass and another will not be given the same pass. I will take any number of players like Ty Cobb, A-Rod, Joe "D", Pete Rose and Billy Martin any day on my team, what they do outside the game is their business, on the field I want tough talented players, not guys that care more about being liked than knocking a guy into the outfield to break up a double play and be a winner!

    If Bonds, Sosa and McG has their HRs in the books so should A-Rod! A-Rod, you have been a jerk, but you have been more of a player, leader and teammate than I have ever seen before...lesson learned?


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)