It’s official: Masahiro Tanaka’s a Yankee

Details of the Yankees' contract agreement with Masahiro Tanaka
Olney: Yankees don't expect to sign any more pricey free agents

Well that was fast. The Yankees have officially signed right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year contract, the team announced. He will be the seventh Japanese-born player in team history (Hideki Irabu, Hideki Matsui, Kei Igawa, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryota Igarashi, Ichiro Suzuki). The 2004 Dodgers are the only other team to have two Japanese pitchers in one rotation (Hideo Nomo and Kaz Ishii).

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, left-hander David Huff was designated for assignment. He had a nice run as a swingman late last year but he doesn’t really have a spot on the roster thanks to Matt Thornton, Vidal Nuno, and Cesar Cabral. Huff would have been a long man/second lefty in the bullpen at best. Maybe he’ll clear waivers and stick around as a non-40-man player, but electing free agency is more likely.

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Details of the Yankees' contract agreement with Masahiro Tanaka
Olney: Yankees don't expect to sign any more pricey free agents
  • Steve

    I bet Huff resigns anyways. He knows the Yankees have 0 lefties.

    • Steve

      besides Cabral.

      • Steve

        Ya know what, ignore this. I forgot Thornton existed.

        • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

          That was the best thread of the day.

  • dkidd

    sabathi a
    kurod a
    tanak a
    nov a
    pined a

    fuckin a

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      We have to change Phelps and Nuno’s last names to Phelpsa and Nuna.

    • Farewell Mo

      Nice to have an all Italian starting rotation.

      • I’m One

        As was said above (in my best Brookly/Italian accent):

        Fuckin’ A!

      • vin

        And an Italian backup catcher!

    • BamBamMusings

      Might be the best post of the day.

  • Nick

    Now what?

    • The Troll Monger

      Sign Stephen Drew, JD Drew and Nancy Drew.

      • Tanuki Tanaka (Formerly Bob Buttons)

        Tim Drew died a bit inside after reading that.

  • Kevin G.

    Glad to see Nova’s excited
    http://instagram.com/p/je2T6tvmQ4/#

    • TWTR

      I like it!

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      That’s awesome!

    • BamBamMusings

      Good to see the kid following the offseason.

    • Betty Lizard

      Adorable.

  • vicki

    go with god, huffles.

  • Mrs. Mattingly

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but for Tanaka’s performance to match his $22M salary in 2014, he’ll have to pitch to a ~3.7 WAR (assuming it’s $6M/Win). That puts his performance in the top 70 pitchers (using 2013 stats). Somewhere around Kuroda, Bailey, Bumgarner, Zimmerman territory.

    My (entirely amateur) gut feeling = this is very possible.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....#038;ind=0

    • JGYank

      I think the league not knowing him and having Kuroda to help him will really ease the transition. The Yanks know what it’s like to have Japanese players in the past so I think that 3-4 WAR could happen as long as Tanaka learns and gets used to how to pitch here and how to go over scouting reports, start every 5 days, etc.

    • mitch

      Sounds about right. He’s projected to be a very solid number two starter and 3.7WAR would put him right there.

    • Havok9120

      Not to mention that the WAR/$ value is in severe need of an update with all the new money in the league.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        Yup. I think we’ll be at $10mm/win so fast it’s going to make heads spin.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        I read an article that I can’t find that had, as of early November(aka pre salary madness), a win was worth somewhere in the 5.4M range.

    • Preston

      The pool shrinks significantly when you say that he has to average 3.7 WAR over 7 years. Only 14 pitchers produced that many wins since 2007.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        he’ll opt out for a payday by then.

        OR

        no, you skipped a step–his pay is fixed, but the value per WAR increases over time–so each year he will be able to post lower WAR and still be worth it.

    • Laz

      But NY has a different playing field than the rest of the league. Everything is magnified in NY. An extra 3.5 wins will bring in much more revenue for them than it would for the Diamondbacks. Is all about figuring out how much money will his boost give you. If it pushes them to the playoffs then it is worth it.

    • http://Riveravenueblues Marty L

      Anyone read David Schoenfield’ s column today on ESPN “sweet spots” regarding Tanaka’s average fast ball velocity (not great, 90.0 thru 2012). Any concerns given that most of the top starters have higher AFV’s.

  • JGYank

    That was quick. Going to being interesting to see exactly how much the press follows this guy.

    • JGYank

      *be interesting.

  • Dars

    We are not done yet. We need Grant Balfour and a righty hitting infielder unless they think Scott Sizemore is ready to regain his old form….
    Line up: Ellsbury CF, Jeter SS, Beltran RF, Teixeira 1B, McAnn C Soriano DH, Johnson/Sizemore 3B, Roberts 2B, Gardner LF

    Bench: Ichiro, Cervelli, Sizemore/Johnson, Ryan

    SP: Sabathia, Nova, Tanaka, Kuroda, Pineda
    RP: Phelps,Thornton,Claiborne, Balfour, Kelly, Robertson, Cabral or Betances

    • Dan

      They need a power hitter off the bench, but I’m not sure who that is.

      • I’m One

        Kendrys Morales?

      • vin

        Mark Reyno…

        dammit

      • Laz

        Not really, and I’m sure they will be able to have one if need be. McCann/ Jeter/Beltran/Soriano won’t be playing the field everyday. There is bound to be times when one has to sit on the bench. Beltran/Soriano figure to rotate DH, but if Jeter or McCann need a day off in field they either sit, or push someone else to bench.

  • Roy Munson

    Can you Imagine the media circus if Alex shows up to ST?!?!?!?!

  • Jay

    What Yankees Next move? signed Suk Min Yoon as closer? http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....-yoon.html

    • Jerkface

      I would think Yoon is looking to be a starter for some team, since he wasn’t really a reliever in the KBO. He may end up as one in the majors but I definitely think he’ll look to start first.

  • The Thumb

    Number bet? I’ll go 19.

    • C-Med21

      Most likely 17, that’s the number he wore during the WBC and it’s available. He can switch to #18 once Kuroda leaves.

      • The Thumb

        Isn’t Cervelli, not that it even matters, 17?

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek/ Roadgeek Adam

          Cervelli re-took 29 last year when Rafael Soriano left.

      • Get Phelps Up

        Rid us of all memories of the Jayson Nix era.

  • PunkPitch

    He has a lot to prove before I get excited. We are still a long way from a division title, a long, long way in a very tough division.

    • C-Med21

      How are we a long ways away exactly. The Orioles rotation is worse than last season without Hammel and Feldman gone, the Blue Jays have good players but never do anything, Rays are basically the same team except for Hannigan as their new staring catcher, and the Red Sox aren’t much better than last season and most of their players like Victorino and Uehara will prob regress (at least not as good as they were last season). Not saying the Yankees are better as they have just as many questions (Jeter and Teixeira injuries and production, scrap heaps at 3rd and 2nd, bullpen after D-Rob, CC bounce back, etc…) but the offseason still isn’t over. They could still sign some bullpen arms and maybe get a trade, who knows. This team is better than last seasons and they won 85 (overachievement or not), so have some faith.

      • C-Med21

        *With Feldman and Hammel gone*

      • PunkPitch

        The starting rotation is far from a sure thing, even with the Tanaka signing. Faith does not factor, especially with Japanese pitchers with nice pedigree’s, and zero innings pitched here in the states. Hopeful is a more appropriate outlook.

      • Laz

        It also is a big leap to say that Bradley or whoever can fully replace the loss of Ellsbury. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Lackey and Buchholz regress.

        Not only have they added many players, but they also added Teixeira, and Jeter.

  • your mom

    Shoulda just went all out on Darvish

    • The Thumb

      Hindsight is a pretty thing isn’t it?

    • nycsportzfan

      Darvish and Ryu are the reasons we went big on Tanaka. No way if they didn’t excel, we’d of went this big on Tanaka.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    Over/Unders:

    Wins: 13
    Starts: 29
    ERA: 3.62
    IP: 190
    K’s: 126

    • I’m One

      Wins: Over
      Starts: Over
      ERA: Over (slightly)
      IP: Under
      K’s: Over

    • nycsportzfan

      wins- over
      starts- over
      ERA- Just under(thinking 3.45ish)
      IP- Over
      K’s- Over

    • Dalek Jeter

      Over
      Over
      Over (Like 3.70ish)
      Push
      Over

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      Wins: Over
      Rest: under

    • RetroRob

      Over on all.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      I hope you guys are mostly right :)

  • nycsportzfan

    Nice!

  • Kenny J

    I think tanaka is going to be great for the yanks but the fact they spent 490 million and their bullpen and infield sucks is kinda scary. I mean besides Drew you can’t really help the infield unless you trade gardy which isn’t happening n smart. I hope cashman doesn’t think he’s done if he doesn’t upgrade bullpen yankees ain’t doing much this year. Something tells me they won’t add Balfour especially already hal saying drob is closer but we shall see

    • mitch

      The bullpen is a concern and i hope they add an arm before the season, but that’s something that can easily be addressed with an in-season trade.

  • Nathan

    Wait, so he’s officially signed? As in he had until Friday to do so signed?

    Either that’s super fast or did the Yankees and Close know and have been working on it bit just went public earlier?

    • RetroRob

      I don’t believe the Yankees have made an official announcement, so the paperwork needs to be completed. It appears they don’t need to do a physical meaning the rest is all a formality.

      • RetroRob

        I do see the Cashman was on WFAN talking about the signing, so maybe all the paperwork has been finished.

  • Steve_Balboni

    Was it ever in doubt? Of course Tanaka is a yankee!

  • Preston

    Now that the 2014 lineups are coming into focus I don’t think its too early to start looking at how we stack up. I think the Orioles are going to take a big step back, their rotation is a mess, Machado is probably going to start the year on IR, Chris Davis is unlikely to repeat his 2013 season (although I still think he’ll be really, really good) and they seem to be planning on giving Delmon Young significant playing time next year, which is just funny. The Blue Jays probably won’t have as much bad luck in 2014 as in 2013, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to compete. So it’s basically a three team race in my opinion.

    C McCann C Pierzynski C Lobaton
    1B Teixeira 1B Napoli 1B Loney
    2B Roberts 2B Pedroia 2B Zobrist
    SS Jeter SS Bogaerts SS Escobar
    3B Kelly 3B Middlebrooks 3B Longoria
    LF Gardner LF Nava LF DeJesus
    CF Ellsbury CF Victorino CF Jennings
    RF Beltran RF Bradley Jr RF Myers
    DH Soriano DH Ortiz DH Joyce

    Sabathia Lester Price
    Kuroda Buchholz Moore
    Tanaka Lackey Cobb
    Nova Peavey Archer
    Pineda Doubront Hellickson
    Phelps Dempster Odorizzi

    I didn’t do the bullpen. Because that’s the hardest thing to predict from year to year. My take away is that if the Rays don’t trade David Price they are really, really solid at basically every position. I don’t like James Loney and Matt Joyce getting a big part of the reps at DH isn’t ideal, but that’s really their biggest weakness. The Red Sox two big question marks are Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks, I’m not sure either can hit at the MLB level and AJ Pierzynski looked pretty toast last year, although they have a pretty nice back-up plan in David Ross. The Yankees have the biggest holes of either team in Roberts and Kelly. And I think their rotation is thinner than either of the other two. But otherwise I think they stack up pretty well. A couple of things break right and they could win this thing, especially if they could acquire another infielder for either 2B or 3B, although its hard to see where they would get one at this point.

    • JGYank

      It should be a 3 team race for sure. Sox aren’t as good as last year without Ells Salty and possibly Drew. Ortiz is only getting older but they do have peavy and buchholz a full year. Didn’t realize how good the Rays were until now, but I think they could upgrade at C. They don’t really have any amazing players besides Price and maybe Longoria though but they are solid otherwise. Yanks have the most holes and age and probably the worst pitching staff especially if you consider the bullpen although thats hard to predict like you said. But the three aren’t that far apart. And I even think if either the Jays or Orioles significantly improve their pitching they could be WC threats but I don’t think either will improve enough if at all. So it should be like 2008-2011 with the Yanks RS and Rays battling at the top.

  • BamBamMusings

    Thank You Hideki for the recruiting call. Must’ve helped having your idol call you to convince you on the Yanks.

    • Betty Lizard

      Good thing his idol wasn’t Derek Jeter. :-)

  • Eddard

    Call me Ishmael. Japanese pitchers are Cashman’s white whale. I just can’t get too excited after the Kei Igawa debacle. If he’s another Igawa it’ll set the franchise back for years with all of the other bloated deals they have on the books now. If he’s another Darvish we’ll have the ace we need and a solid rotation. They didn’t even examine the guy’s health. Makes me nervous.

  • Kosmo

    Yanks have the best OFers and C. Boston 1B, 2B, DH and potentially the best SS. Rays have Longoria. I agree on the rotations.

    • Kosmo

      In response to Preston`s above comment.

  • dkidd

    added bonus: we (read: me) can stop obsessing about 189

    • RetroRob

      You know when it should have been clear to all of us that the Yankees were no longer following Plan 189? When they gave Derek Jeter an extra $3M more than they had to. They knew it was going to be tight getting under $189MM, so to immediately lose $3M of flexibility pretty much confirms they had tossed Plan 189 out the window during their organizational meetings.

  • Jim Cavanaugh

    Really happy the Yankees went all in on Tanaka. It felt like for too many years Cashman was still stewing over the Igawa debacle while top shelf international talents like Cespedes, Puig & Darvish slipped right by us. I guess it seems some time passing and a glaring need in the rotation was a perfect storm for us to land Tanaka. Ya gotta wonder had Pineda done real well here thus far and/or Banuleos claimed a rotation spot would be welcoming Tanaka here on Friday. Either way, it’s great that he is coming and i def. feel much more comfortable about our rotation than i did at this time last night. I do agree though, the bullpen needs still got to be addressed and infield help would be nice too. Now that $189 is not happening it def. makes sense to finish the job and fill the needs still left.