Thoughts following the Masahiro Tanaka signing

Hal Steinbrenner anoints David Robertson closer
Prospect Profile: Jose Ramirez
(Koji Watanabe/Getty)
(Koji Watanabe/Getty)

In the span of about four hours yesterday, we went from wondering where Masahiro Tanaka will sign to the Yankees announcing his new seven-year contract. It was a fun morning, no doubt about it. The contract is worth $155M and includes an opt-out after the fourth year. Add the $20M release fee on top of that for a total commitment of $175M. Here are some thoughts following the deal.

1. Might as well just start with this to get it out of the way: I think the contract is more than reasonable and probably a bargain when you consider what other high-end 25-year-olds would get on the open market. No, he’s never pitched in MLB, but it’s not like they plucked him out of a beer league. The contract is expensive, don’t get me wrong, but as Hal Steinbrenner said yesterday, “market value is what one or more teams are willing to pay today.” Several other clubs were reportedly willing to pay Tanaka upwards of $20M+ annually, so the Yankees weren’t out in their own little world with this offer. It’s comforting knowing other teams believed in his talent enough to offer similar dollars. I’d feel differently if Tanaka was a few years older but the team is (theoretically) buying almost all of his peak years since he just turned 25 in November. If he pitches like prime Dan Haren (the most common comp) from ages 25-28 and then opts out, it will have been a brilliant signing. It’s the next contract, the one that comes after the opt-out and involves buying a whole bunch of decline years, that will be the really scary one.

2. Was it not amazing how the whole process was kept quiet? We didn’t hear a peep about negotiations between the Yankees and Tanaka and certainly nothing about an offer or details of their face-to-face meeting. Nothing at all. It was like that for most teams too, with the Cubs being the notable exception. Theo Epstein’s regime always seems to leak everything to media. It happened with the Red Sox and it’s happening again in Chicago. Agent Casey Close wanted things kept quiet and managed to pull it off even though he was dealing with some of the game’s largest markets and reporters in two countries. Scott Boras is still the king of all agents, but Close has really shined these last 14 months with the Tanaka, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke deals.

3. I did this exercise a few weeks ago and it’s probably worth revisiting: how many games would the Yankees win in 2014 as presently constructed? That means Tanaka in the rotation but question marks in the bullpen and on the infield. We can agree they’re in the 85-89 win range right now, right? Maybe it’s more like 82-86 or 87-91, but the point is they are right on the postseason bubble. Each added win is so incredibly important to the Yankees right now — both financially and in terms of their #brand — because the value of jumping from a bubble team to a legit contender is so very high, the highest point on the so-called win curve. Going from 80 wins to 82 wins or 98 wins to 100 wins means little in the grand scheme of things, but going from 86 to 88 or 89 to 91 is huge. We can’t lump the Yankees under the general contract analysis/dollars-per-WAR umbrella for a number of reasons, one being their payroll. One win (or one WAR) isn’t worth $5M or $7M or whatever it is these days to the Yankees. It’s worth much more because of how much they depend on being competitive and where they presently sit on that win curve. If the Yankees are a true talent 88-win team right now (reasonable estimate, no?), adding players to get that 89th and 90th and 91st win will be the most crucial additions of the winter.

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty)
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

4. Now, that said, the Yankees snuffed out any lingering chance of staying under the $189M luxury tax threshold with the Tanaka signing yesterday, so they should go all out and continue adding payroll. I have their payroll at roughly $204M right now (last update), which is about $10M less than their average Opening Day payroll over the last three years. If they’re willing to go up that high again (nevermind meeting last year’s $228.1M payroll), there’s still enough room to add two pretty good pieces to the team. It’s probably not enough for Stephen Drew but that $10M might buy them Luis Ayala and a discounted Grant Balfour, for example. Or maybe Fernando Rodney (ewww) and Jeff Baker. Brian Cashman said the team is done with their “heavy lifting” yesterday, but spending that last $10M to fill out the margins of the roster really isn’t “heavy lifting,” is it? The bullpen is the easiest place upgrade right now and that last $10M could give the team those extra two or three wins to put them over the top.

5. This is probably just a coincidence, but the total outlay for Tanaka was identical to the team’s final offer to Robinson Cano. Perhaps they had budgeted 7/175 for Cano and then another ~7/150 for Tanaka coming into the offseason, but when Robbie made it clear he was going to the Mariners, they switched gears and gave the ~7/150 to Jacoby Ellsbury and spent the 7/175 to Tanaka. If that’s the case and they had re-signed Cano, would they have a) missed out on Tanaka because their contract offer would have been capped at $130M (plus the $20M release fee on top of that), or b) bid something like $75M under the old posting system and offered him a $75M contract (the Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzka commitments were split almost right down the middle, half posting fee and half contract)? This offseason has been so fascinating because it has played out so unexpectedly. If you had told me in like, September that the Yankees would lose Cano to the Mariners and commit $175M to Tanaka, I would have thought you were completely crazy.

6. There’s a very real chance Tanaka will be the youngest player on the team’s Opening Day roster, perhaps by as much as eight or nine months. There are only 14 players younger than him on the 40-man roster right now, and I think the only ones with a realistic chance to make the team out of camp are Cesar Cabral, Michael Pineda, Jose Ramirez, and I guess Zoilo Almonte if Ichiro Suzuki is traded. Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy could make the team if Frankie Cervelli gets hurt, but that’s all. (Tanaka’s younger than Dellin Betances … by seven months!) I don’t really know why I brought this up. I just thought it was interesting. The Yankees haven’t had much luck with young players in recent years but I didn’t think a 25-year-old free agent would wind up becoming their youngest player. Goes to show how important Tanaka is to the future of the franchise. He’s a crucial piece as they finish transitioning out of the Derek Jeter/late-90s dynasty era.

7. This isn’t all that important but I am curious to see what number Tanaka wears. He wore 18 with the Rakuten Golden Eagles and that, along with 11, are considered the traditional “ace numbers” in Japan. Those numbers are already taken though (Brett Gardner and Hiroki Kuroda). Tanaka did wear 15 and 17 in the last two World Baseball Classics but he’s definitely not getting the former — it’s retired for Thurman Munson. Seventeen is open though. Know what number would be cool for Tanaka? 21. It’ll never happen though.

Hal Steinbrenner anoints David Robertson closer
Prospect Profile: Jose Ramirez
  • John C


    YOu made a great point about when the opt out clause comes into effect and the Yanks will need to decide to extend him or not. Yanks need to plan for that day now. HOpefully, some of these young arms (Ramirez, DePaula, Mitchell, Banuelos, Hensley, Clarkin) are either in the bigs or on the doorstep sothat the Yanks are not forced to go all out to resign Tanaka at age 29, when the post-peak years start to hit.

    • Tanaka (the Con Artist)

      But, you also never know– look at Kuroda now (not that the innings at this age are extremely simple) but he has proven to be a workhorse and pitch like an ace well into his late 30’s.

    • RetroRob

      If he was on some other team and hitting the market as a 29-year-old pitcher with good success (and let’s gather that’s the case otherwise he won’t trip the opt out!), then the Yankees would have an interest in him.

      Pitchers can be quite successful well into their 30s, so they’ll have to make that determination then. If nothing else, they’ll understand him better, as well as his medicals, then any other team.

      Opting out means he’s been successful, so I’m rooting for an opt out!

    • OldYanksFan

      “Yanks need to plan for that day now”
      You’re kidding right?
      In 2018, the only contracts on the books are Ellsbury and McCann.
      In terms of baseball, planning for 2018 is about as easy as planning for the Apocalypse.

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

        And yet there are TV shows dedicated to people who do precisely that.

    • Laz

      Or, by that time another Tanaka may be available.

  • Tanaka (the Con Artist)


    Balfour and Baker please.

    • FLYER7

      #s 17 or 19…yes on Baker, no on Balfour though we do need another arm in the pen…I think someone emerges like Kelley did last year whether it be Burawa, Ramirez or someone else not currently on the 40 man…

    • Steve (different one)

      Sign Baker and have a competition between Nunez, Baker, and Johnson.

      Which would make Johnson the candlestick maker….

      • Deep Thoughts


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


  • CountryClub

    This has been said in other places, and it’s certainly a best case scenario, but it would be terrific if Banuelos and Pineda became what people expected. Those two and Tanaka in the rotation 2 seasons from now would be a nice injection of youth.

    • Jersey Joe

      We can always dream that Banuelos becomes worth something. Then we wake up.

      • I’m One

        He’s still quite young. Maybe we’ll “wake up” in 7 or 8 years and realize what a great job he’s done for the team. TJS is not a career-ending surgery.

        • jjyank

          Yup. He turns 23 in March. Hardly a lost cause. People seem to forget how young he is because it seems like he’s been around forever. Sure, it would have be nice if he didn’t miss damn near 2 years of development, but he can come back from TJS.

          Just because this burrito is taking a bit longer in the microwave doesn’t mean it won’t ever be cooked all the way through.

          • Mr. Roth

            Then when said burrito’s is done cooking, sometimes it is much hotter in the middle than you expected and it burns your mouth.

            In other words, maybe Banuelos will be better than we expected once he is done cooking…or rehabbing.

            • jjyank

              I like the way you think.

              • The Great Gonzo

                All this burrito talk is making me hungry… and nostalgic.

                • Mr. Roth

                  Mmmmmmmmm, that looks like a tasty Banuelos.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  That meme just got butchered worse than a suckling pig on “Chopped: Blind Chefs Edition.”

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Why would you say that? Still quite young. Fine, he missed some development time, but he’s coming back from surgery that has a pretty good track record and was a very good prospect prior to the surgery. He’s taken his lumps, but this can still very much happen.

        • RetroRob

          It doesn’t appear to be based on much of anything.

          As you noted, we’ll have to see how he recovers from TJS. Good success rate, but there are those who do not make it all the way back.

    • jsbrendog

      i am very hopeful on pineda. dude was chucking low 90s even with a shredded shoulder, haha. If he comes back and can get back that nasty breaking pitch then I am confident he can give the team solid innings this year…the hope is he stays healthy and can go to the 175-200 mark next year.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    I thought the Yankees roster was most likely an 80-85 win team before Tanaka.
    Now, I’d guess they most likely fall in the 83-88 win range, still likely short of the playoffs.
    It would be an awful shame to spend all this money only to needlessly leave holes (bullpen especially).

    • The Great Gonzo

      Bullpens have a way of fixing themselves as a season progresses.

    • Mr. Roth

      I’m not too worried about the bullpen. Girardi has a nack for building a solid bullpen from pretty much nothing.

      The infield is definitely a concern. We definitely need another piece to solidify 2B and 3B (and possibly 1B).

      • Mr. Roth


      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        He’s had Mo and DRob (and at times Soriano as well) to build around in the past. That makes building a solid bullpen a much easier task.
        It’s much easier to fill in around 2-3 elite bullpen arms than to fill in around just 1.

        • Mr. Roth

          No doubt that he has less to work with this year. He just always seems to find something in the minors or the DFA scrap heap that solidifies things. I’d love it if they added another solid bullpen piece, but right now I’m definitely more concerned about infield depth.

      • Dave

        Mo and Robertson are hardly ‘nothing’. It’s not that difficult to cobble together a supporting cast for those two. Mo leaving is a huge deal, and fans glossing over that fact are simply clueless.

        • Mr. Roth

          Most people hardly even knew who Robertson was when he got called up. Relievers have a tendency to come from nowhere. Mariano was a crappy starter who transistioned into the best reliever of all time. Sure, losing him hurts, but plenty of baseball teams have won championships without a closer of his caliber.

  • Batsman

    I don’t think they are in the 80-87 win bracket. Last season they won 85 games with practically no offense. David Robertson may not be Mo, but no one in the League is Mo. If D-Rob can pitch to the level of everyone else, then the Yankees should be a 92-94 win team.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      They won 85 games largely because they had a league best 30-16 record in one-run games. Can’t rely on coming close to that again.

      And even if DRob adequately replaces Mo (I think he can), they still need to replace DRob.

      • I’m One

        league best 30-16 record in one-run games. Can’t rely on coming close to that again.

        Agreed. Go ask Baltimore.

      • Yanks2014

        @needpitching – You appear to be one of those guys that is never happy. Look, they will figure the bullpen out. That is one area that is tweaked every year as the season progresses. And look at what they had last year out there (Joba). Sean Kelly will take D-Rob’s 8th inning role. As Batsman alluded to, they won 85 with all of their most productive starters out (except Cano), CC sucking and no production from catcher, right field & 3B. The offense was horrible. They’ve taken care of everything except for the bullpen, which of course, will be addressed. It has not been the highest priority to this point. If you were Cashman, would you have been focusing on offense & starting pitching (Tanaka) or the freakin’ bullpen? Btw..I am totally fine with Kelly Johnson giving us 20-23 dingers and playing solid defense. This team is THE best team in the AL East on paper even as we sit now. The Red Sox were beneficiaries of our injuries last year and a poorly managed Tigers team in the playoffs. They’ve also gotten worse with the loss of Ellsbury & Salty. It will definitely be quite different in 2014.

        • jsbrendog

          nitpick – they didn’t address all their holes as they still don’t really have a 2b, a backup 1b in case teixeira’s wrist is still shot (which he saiid he still feels soreness in, fml) or anyone who has ever really played 3b as a third basemen…don’t get me wrong, they made a buttload of upgrades and I am psyched but they are far from Addressing all their holes

          • OldYanksFan

            Did he say “soreness”?
            I thought he said “stiffness”
            The is a big difference.

            • jsbrendog

              touche. i am not 100% sure. either way both raise alarms and red flags of varying degrees

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                I don’t think they’re going to earmarking a guy who is specifically a backup 1B unless something goes bad in ST again. I’d guess the hope is that one of the plethora of versatile infield types they’ve got in camp would be able to fake first until a better option arises if shit goes bad.

                Shit will not go bad. Mark Teixeira will lead us to promised land, one side of the field at a time.

        • LK

          They had the run differential/WAR of a 77-win team last year; as has been discussed ad naseum, their record in 1-run games was a fluke, with the 2012-2013 Orioles being the quintessential example of why we shouldn’t expect it to continue.

          They then lost *by far* their best hitter, their best reliever, and a solid starting pitcher.

          The point being, there was a ton of work to do this offseason just to get this team back to the fringes of contention; the Yankees have certainly accomplished that. However, they still have a bullpen with precisely one reliable arm, and they might have one of the worst infields in the league. This is a team right now that is good enough to win if things break their way, but things might not break their way. I don’t think you can say this team is better than Boston or Tampa on paper right now without being a homer, personally.

          • Farewell Mo

            Agree with this.

            As Mike stated, they’re right now in the mid 80’s to 90 win range and I agree you can’t say definitively they’re gonna be better than Tampa or Boston but at least they’re in the mix right now which you couldn’t say 3 months ago.

            There was no way to plug every hole but they’ve done as good a job as can be expected without completely mortgaging their future and if a few things break their way, they easily could be a playoff team.

            • LK

              Yeah I think this is pretty much right on. It’s a shame they weren’t willing to really break the bank and re-sign Cano as well, because then we’d be talking about a clear division favorite.

              Still, if they get a reliever and some kind of IF I think they have as good a chance as anyone to win the division, which is impressive even if it is a bit of a step back from the early 2000s heyday. I’d love if they could snag Drew but that’s probably not happening.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Perhaps. I’m not ready to annoint this a 90-win team yet.

          The possibility is there, but this team still has to count on overproduction from some pretty important positions to truly put them over the top.

          Do I think they’ve done close to just about the best they can? Yes. Do I think the potential is there for a team much better than that which took the field last Opening Day? Yes. Do I think the work is done? No. Do I think it feasibly can be done before Opening Day in a way that eliminates holes in some pretty important positions? No, not likely.

          That being said, I’m willing to go to battle with this 80-120 win team. :)

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          I gave my assessment of the current roster.
          I’m not one of those guys who is never happy. I tend to be more optimistic than most here. I also tend to be realistic.
          The IF is very weak right now. The bullpen is weak as well. If Kelley is the best they can do for the 8th inning role, that will likely be a substantial weakness. He’s essentially been a very injury prone, average reliever so far in his career. Not sure why you’d expect much more than that going forward.
          Obviously, the roster could change. If it does, I’ll readjust my expectations.
          The team as it sits now is most likely a mid to upper 80’s win team.
          I seriously doubt that makes them the best team in the division.

    • BronxBomber98

      That’s what I was thinking. I took a look at their head to head records from last season and they (surprise!) were awful just against the Red Sox and Rays. The Red Sox got a bit worse this offseason (Grady Sizemore on a MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACT!)and with the Rays still might end up trading Price, I think they have what it takes to get to about 92-94 wins. And we can’t forget the O’s had a terrible offseason as well. (Side note: I think the Red Sox will miss Ellsbury leading off than most people think)

      • jsbrendog

        i’d be willing to bet the red sox have a serious regression year. last eyar everything went right. this year based on laws of averages you’d have to guess somethings will go wrong.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I hate to agree with you, but I am hanging my hat on ‘regression to the mean’ for the Sox as well this season.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Whaddaya talkin’ about? Mid-tier free agents are the new black, except when it’s not your money, or something like that. So confusing.

  • LarryM Fl

    I believe it is Close’s style not to leak info. He has been Jeter’s agent forever who is quite quiet.

    IMHO the Yanks are probably a solid 85/88 win team and infield replacement to sure up the middle and third would be ideal. Top pitching is second to none whether its the starters or bullpen. Ichiro’s salary needs to be removed with his trade and Almonte taking his spot. There is some cash.

    As mentioned above Balfour and Baker could get us over the hump. Come on Cashman do not fail us now.

    • jsbrendog

      problem is you have to find someone willing to take ichiro. even if you pay enough of his salary to get him to 2-3 mill who the hell would want him?

      • LK

        Just keep Ichiro at this point. They’re over 189, so the extra couple million doesn’t really matter. Plus, while I think the idea that he brings in tons of extra revenue because of his fame is overblown, I’d imagine he moves the needle enough to make up for his modest (for MLB) salary.

        He probably won’t play all that much, but the Yankees top 4 OFs are all either old or have had injury problems in the past, and he’d still be a viable defensive replacement/pinch runner. And while this is probably way overblown as well, having 2 other Japanese players on the team can only help make Tanaka more comfortable I would think.

        I’d only move him if either he says he’d be unhappy in a bench role, or they’re afraid that Girardi will be tempted to play him too much based on his reputation.

        • Laz

          he should know that no contender is going to give him a starting spot at this point. So he would have to decide if he wants to start for the Cubs, or go to the playoffs.

          I’d keep him too. He is a good defensive replacement. If they have a several run lead, get Beltran or Ellsbury out of the game.

      • The Great Gonzo

        I assume someone will want him, just not today. Someone is going to tear an ACL in spring or break their wrist on a sliding play and will be looking for a CF on the cheap. See: Wells, Vernon.

        Of course by then any good or serviceable bullpen pieces will be somewhere already…

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        We need Ichiro to complete the Randy Levine’s Japanese barber shop trio concept.

        • The Great Gonzo

          Praytell Levine is looking for a quartet. Bruce Chen is taking note

        • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

          I got the idea from Mr. Fuji back in 1986. He tried it with the Orient Express, but it didn’t work, so they had to bring in a guy under a mask, but he wasn’t Japanese, yea.

          • dkidd

            laughed out loud

            this never ever gets old

  • jjyank

    Here is currently my only thought following the Tanaka signing:

    When does the freaking season start?! Regardless of whether or not you think this team can contend (I do, personally), they’re gonna be a lot of fun to watch. I can’t wait to see what McCann can do behind the plate and with the short porch in right, I can’t wait to watch Ellsberry wreak Havok (hah, puns – no offense buddy) on the base paths, I can’t wait to see Beltan’s clutch reputation in pinstripes, and I can’t wait to watch Tanaka pitch.

    I’ve spent my morning so far reading everything I could about MLB 14 The Show, because I so badly want to start playing this Yankee team. They have holes still, sure. But I’m still super amped to see this team in action.

    • jsbrendog

      +everything in my wallet

      • jjyank

        Why thank you good sir. Rent is due next week :D

    • Farewell Mo


      It’s gonna be tremendously exciting to see all these shiny new toys play especially Tanaka. There’s nothing better than a (hopefully) dominating starter.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Does Tanaka make code freeze? Will he be in the game? I guess he might be part of the patch.

      • jjyank

        No idea really, but I have to imagine he’d be in the game, right? He may have signed kinda late, but he’s been rumored to have been posted and coming over here for so long, I’d have put him in as a precaution if I was a developer.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I guess, I would assume they had him built already.

          As an aside, remember back in the day when there was a hard freeze for this and your systems were not automatically connected to the Internet? And in 2004 the first thing you did when starting a franchise was sign Carlos Delgado off the FA list?

          Great times.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner


            Great times was when I got my “create-a-player” disc for Pure Stat Baseball on the C-64.

  • Jonathan Kantrowitz

    I’m really rooting for Pineda now to complete a straight A rotation. (All ending with a.)

    • jsbrendog

      oh wow i never thought of that haha. wouldnt it be just like david phelps to ruin it haha

      • Jorge Steinbrenner


  • Roadgeek Adam

    Uniform number wise 17 is my best guess. Either he’ll keep 17 in 2015 or change to 18 in 2015 when Kuroda probably leaves.

    • Oops I Crapped My Pants

      why not uniform number 24? I hear its open!

      • Mykey

        That would be a nice favor to us with Cano jerseys.

        • Roadgeek Adam

          24 either goes to Roberts or will be held for a couple years.

          We should know the numbers in a few weeks.

  • I’m One

    that last $10M to fill out the margins of the roster really isn’t “heavy lifting,” is it?

    I certainly hope not. I hope they spend it wisely and get an excellent return on their investment. A discounted Balfour (as mentioned), or perhaps an inexpensive, yet experienced starter, like perhaps Maholm (although my preference is that the combo of Pineda & Banuelos add up to a solid starter over the course of the season). Jeff Baker seems to be a reasonable depth piece as well.

    … how important Tanaka is to the future of the franchise

    This. Everyone (MSM and a lot of posters here) seems focused on what Tanaka brings to the 2014 Yankees. My opinion is that even if he’s a bust this season, provided he lives up to his billing in 2015 – 2017, this was the right move to make. Should Nova, Pineda, and Banuelos become reliable starters (I’d love for a full, dominant season from Nova), that’s 4 young starters to pair with CC. Even if it’s only one of Phelps/Warren/Nuno instead of Pineda, you’ve still got a young rotation, outside of CC, with 2 very inexpensive starters towards the backend. Nova’s salary will continue to climb, but should be reasonable for a couple of more years (again, provided he’s consistently good).

    • jjyank

      Agreed. I also read the “heavy lifting” comment as more of a “we won’t give Garza/Jimenez/Santana $50+ million” type of comment. I think (hope) they keep building, add a couple bullpen arms, and someone like Baker.

      Also agreed with your second sentiment. Tanaka is now a huge building block for the franchise going forward. I’m excited to have him, just hope he thrives under that spotlight as much as I’ve been led to believe.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Yeah, I don’t consider Balfour and his binder full of physicals to be heavy lifting, or any other late-inning type.

        • The Great Gonzo

          That said, I wouldn’t let Balfour carry ANYTHING of significant around until he signs, including that encyclopedia full of medical records…

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            He’s going to the Rays, so let him carry lots of heavy things…

  • Darren

    It would be cool if certain numbers were taken out of retirement for one year at a time, as special year-long celebrations that would honor the retired player. This could be done with permission of the family if the player is deceased. So a player like Tanaka could honor Thurman by wearing #15, keeping the Captain’s spirit alive and visible to new Yankee fans and old, with year long events honoring Thurman and the family’s preferred charities.

    • Farewell Mo

      That could be pretty cool though I think if you did it, a catcher should wear Munson’s number and a pitcher Whitey Ford’s number,etc and the entire season might be too much but for at least a game or even a few I would love it.

      • Darren

        I hear you about keeping the number worn by a player at the same position. I thought maybe by having a pithcer wear it, it would deflect the comparisons. But yeah, I would be ok with McCann wearing #15 for two games if it was Thurman Munson Week or something.

        • Farewell Mo

          That would be great since many of the younger Yankees fans only know some of those guys very superficially and don’t really have a true appreciation of their greatness.

          Besides, no one does those kinds of events better than the Yankees and I for one love them.

          • Darren

            I would love to see events about Elston Howard, Whitey, Maris and others.

  • Dan

    I like the analysis, but i think they’re a bit higher in the win margin. Probably 91 wins. I think the discrepency (if I remember correctly from you original article), is I feel confident projecting 4 wins from Tex and Jetes. It all comes down to their health . . . if they’re mostly healthy this year I feel really good about my projection.

    Eitherway, it’s not a guarantee they’re a playoff team at 91 wins . . . I wholeheartedly agree that they need to sure up the pen, and ideally find a right handed power bat off the bench who can play infield. I don’t think that bat is out there, but the bullpen pieces are. K-Rod and Balfour.

    • LK

      Are you saying 4 wins for Tex and Jeter combined, or each? If the latter, I’d say they’re better than a 91-win team, but that’s also a pretty agressive prediction for those 2.

      • Dan


  • Mykey

    Man I wish after every strike out Tanaka has at home the crowd would yell, “You have no… Marbles!”

  • TWTR

    I hope Hal has come to understand that whenever a very good (potentially anyway) young(ish) player is available for just money, the Yankees need to be very strongly in the mix for his services, at least until or unless the farm system starts becoming a reliable source of high end talent. Don’t wait until things are dire because they haven’t made the playoffs.

  • Chris

    Hmm interesting about the numbers idea. From a Japanese baseball perspective I always treated 18 as the Ace number, with 11 being that freak pitcher-way better than everyone else-Tom Seaver/Sandy Koufax number. I don’t think it officially represents anything right now, except for the Fighters, who just gave it to their rookie phenom Shohei Otani (obviously hoping he will be the next Darvish for them). 11 for me is a special number because of Darvish though.

    21 would be cool though. I do wonder what prompted him to choose NYC aside from the money. He apparently has absolutely no idea what the city is like from what I’ve seen of his press conference in Japan lol.

  • MC

    1) It could be pretty cool if he is the first Japanese pitcher to win an American Cy Young award. It’s certainly a possibility.

    2) As I said yesterday, I agree $155mm actually seems somewhat reasonable, considering the “other” options available. Could you imagine coughing up $100mm + for Santana or Jimenez right now? $100mm + for Masterson or Bailey next season? $200mm for Scherzer, who up until last season was a decent pitcher. He had one spectacular season and while the guy might be good for a few years, he definitely has “flame out” written all over that arm. I don’t know, but there hasn’t been one good argument (the 160 pitch game last year seems to be the greatest stretch people are making), that Tanaka isn’t the better buy. He is a poised, control pitcher that has very tight mechanics. Exactly the type of durable pitcher the Yanks need.

  • mitch

    It’s so hard to project how many game they’ll win. There’s no team in the league with a wider range of realistic possibilities. You really don’t know what you’re going to get out of so many key guys. The production from Sabathia, Kuroda, Tex and Jeter is going to determine where this team ends up, and i have no idea what to expect from any of those guys.

  • MC
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I think 155 is “reasonable” for a couple of reasons:

    1. It’s what the market dictated in an unprecedented situation.

    2. The opt-out could be our friend.

    3. At the end of the day, this is a swing-for-the-fences signing. There’s very little middle ground here for me, whether the final number was 120 or 140 or 155. He’s either going to live up to it or it’s going to be seen as a massive overreach. This is the kind of signing GM’s and organizations base their reputations on. If this guy fails, Cashman and Levine and the brothers’ names are going to be attached to his name for a mighty long time to come. If they’re willing to live with that risk, then it’s fine by me.

    I’d like to see another reliever, whether it’s a beaten-down Balfour or Ayala. I’m also interested in what Spring Training brings as far as unforseen infield openings. Other than that, these are your 2014 New York Yankees. To fucking October we hopefully go.

    • MC

      ” At the end of the day, this is a swing-for-the-fences signing. There’s very little middle ground here for me, whether the final number was 120 or 140 or 155.”

      Outstanding point and why I laugh off every single “overpay” comment. Frankly, the difference btw $120mm and $155mm at this point is largely irrelevant. Either the deal works or it doesn’t, which is yet again another failed argument from the losers. Last I checked, $120mm is boat load of money and that was the range where it wasn’t an overpay? Please.

    • Farewell Mo

      Agree with all of this.

      With the opt out, it’s 4/$88 million plus the $20 million posting. If he does opt out, it likely means the Yankees have gotten pretty damn close to their money’s worth.

      It could be years before another player of his caliber hits the open market at 25 years of age so I have no problem with the $155 million whether or not he turns out to be Darvish II or Igawa II. Nothing ventured, nothing gained after all.

      As Mike stated though, the next deal would be the scary one if he opts out since he’d be around 29 asking for another likely 7 year deal and he’ll probably have an ungodly number of innings on his arm.

    • LK

      For #2, I hope you’re right, but I kind of doubt that will be the case. I remember when CC first signed, someone wrote (I think it may have even been Mike) that it would be cool to get 3 years of slam dunk ace production and then let some other team pay through the nose for his decline years. That appears to be basically how things are playing out, except the “other team” is the Yanks themselves. If Tanaka pitches well enough that he actually wants to use the opt-out, that means he’ll be good enough that he’s tough to lose in FA and remain competitive; then again, the Cano situation suggests that they might be starting to become a little more responsible with these things.

    • Chip Rodriguez

      I really, really doubt it’s Kei Igawa all over again. There’s been a lot more diligence done here, scouts have been following him since the 2009 WBC, there’s feedback from former Yankees who’ve played alongside him… Igawa was a total unknown, and I don’t recall that signing being done with even a fraction of the diligence that accompanied this.

  • Eddard

    1. I don’t like the opt out. If he’s Darvish good then he’ll opt out and crush us with an albatross contract like CC. If he’s Igawa bad then we’re stuck for the whole bill.

    2. That’s the way the Japanese work. How often did we have drama with Hideki? Never. A-Rod could learn a thing or two from these guys.

    3. They’re in the 90-95 win range with Tanaka. The rotation is good enough, the pen will hold up and the lineup is significantly better than last year’s club.

    4. Luis Ayala makes messes and then others come in and clean them up. He would be a waste of resources. Go with the kids in the pen.

    5. I’d rather have a 25 year old signed for 7 years than a 31 for 10. Yanks made the right move.

    6. I’d go with the kids in the pen. You can never have enough youth.

    7. I’d give him #24.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “I don’t like the opt out. If he’s Darvish good then he’ll opt out and crush us with an albatross contract like CC. If he’s Igawa bad then we’re stuck for the whole bill.”

      If he’s Igawa bad, there’s not enough makeup you could put on that contract to make it look better, opt-out or not.

      • jjyank

        Heh, I wanted to say this, but I refused to directly reply to this clown.

        If there was no opt out and he was bad, they’d be stuck with him regardless. The opt out only changes things if he’s good.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          This appeared to be a serious comment, so I replied.

          • jjyank

            He needs like, a hundred serious comments in a row for me to take anything seriously.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Pavlov gasfaces in your direction.

    • Farewell Mo

      The opt out definitely isn’t in the best interest of the team but I would think that would be a deal breaker if the Yankees didn’t include it and another club did.

      • John C

        The opt out isn’t the worst thing if the Yanks are able to plan and build a young staff over the next 4 years so that should he exercise the opt-out, Yanks aren’t in a situation where they are forced to give into his demands for a new long term deal

    • I’m One

      If he’s Igawa bad then we’re stuck for the whole bill.

      If there’s no Opt-Out, they’re stuck with the contract anyway.

      I’d rather have a 25 year old signed for 7 years than a 31 for 10. Yanks made the right move.

      But the contract is bad due to the Op-Out?

      I’d give him #24.

      Pretty sure he’ll get to choose his own number of the ones available. This is no MLB minimum player we’re speaking about here. That may even been part of the contract negotiations.

    • Steve (different one)

      Read Cashman’s comments on MLBTR: the opt-out was not optional since all of the other offers included one.

      We can complain about the opt-out, but without it, they don’t get him.

  • Neil

    If Jimenez could fall in our lap for $20 mil / 1 year would you do it?

    • jjyank

      Yes, of course. But he won’t.

    • MC

      Hell f’ing no..I’d question taking him $9.5mm for a yr at this point. Rather see if Pineda can be something at this point.

      • Farewell Mo

        It would be a no brainer at $9.5 million and I’d bet Cashman would be all over that if his price came down that much.

        Pineda can get his innings in AAA and I’m sure there will be starts available on the major league level if he’s doing well. I would think ther’re gonna try and limit Kuroda’s innings plus someone is bound to get hurt.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I agree they’d take him at that price.

          I also think there’s no way in hell that happens. Those dominoes now start falling quickly.

          • Farewell Mo

            That would be a freakin miracle if that happened, I agree.

            I think you’re right. I expect Jimenez and Garza are signed within the next week if not sooner.

      • qwerty

        Pineda is done.

        • Mr. Roth

          Were you cooking him in the oven like a cake?

    • Dan

      I honestly wouldn’t. I want to see if someone (Pineda) can break out in the number 5 spot in the rotation, so I’d keep the spot open. The rotation is already a strength. If they were willing to spend big on another player I’d rather they go after Drew.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Yes. And I’d make the same offer to Garza. 1/20 as a ‘get me over’ to the big arms in 2015? Hells yes

  • jjyank

    Side note: I love that I can now casually refresh RAB and MLBTR to see if anything interesting going on instead of “…it’s been 27 whole seconds. I wonder if Tanaka has signed anywhere yet! *refresh*”

    • Farewell Mo

      Anthony must be in internet surfing withdrawal.

      I’m sure his internet surfing provider is happy he’s not using all that band width though

  • HectorLopez

    The Yanks will be in the mix for the AL east mainly because mid year if they are struggling they will spend whatever on whoever they can get to make them better. The red Sox suck and always will suck! They lose Ellsbury and Salty plus Victorino is not going to have another year like that. Poppi is gonna fail a drug test and be gone ! Gomes will revert to being the 4th outfielder he is and Jacki Bradley is no replacement for a starting outfielder! LETS GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!

    • The Great Gonzo

      None of this is true….

  • mt

    That is a hidden aspect of this – Yanks will now be more willing to add in year with trades/salary dumps since they are already over 189 million. That does 2 things 1) they can correct mistakes or weaknesses (bullpen, infield, etc.) if those pop up during first half and 2) Yanks can also at least drive up the price for Red Sox who should have a LOT of money available for additional in-season improvements if RS struggles (since Red Sox have largely ignored the FA market, even if they do eventually re-sign Drew).

  • Laz

    I think they are better than 84-89 wins at this point, if healthy. They added not only the free agents, but also Teix and Jeter.

    • Angelo

      And they lost Cano and Mo

    • Improbable Island Guy on Another Computer

      Tex will hopefullt be nice, but I have no confidence in Jeter. I’m not saying he’ll definitely do badly, I’m saying I don’t count on him to be too far above replacement level. Maybe slightly above average.

      Don’t forget, we also lost A-Rod, which is huge.

  • FMB2345

    The only thing that really bothers me about this is the Yankees were willing to commit 175M once they backed themselves into a corner but they weren’t willing to to spend 120M or so to get Darvish to prevent themselves from getting into the corner to start with. That is indicative of the reactionary business model they seem to be slipping into, wait until something fails then try to fix it. They need to be more aggressive going forward in future years or else we’re going to see more of this binge and purge style of roster building every few years.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      But it can’t be that they adjusted their model based on feeling they didn’t go far enough then.

      I’d rather be wrong, then right, than the reverse, or wrong all along.

      • Steve (different one)

        Or it could be that they always planned to splurge for this class of FA’s and the $189M thing was cover for not dipping into FA classes they didn’t really like.

        Without $189M, do they sign Josh Hamilton last year just to do something?

        Could be this IS their model. Save up and spend all at once so you only affect one in every four drafts….like in 2009.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Obviously not a great model, but at least they have the ability and guts to try it.

          • bpdelia

            I almost always agree with you (though I think your sarcasm can be a bit cruel at times) however I think it’s debatable I’d that’s a good model. It’s risky but you nor only affect one of every three or four drafts and minimize your loss of first rounders but you set up a reset point (similar to NBA building) where you have big contracts coming off the books simultaneously opening massive payroll slots. I could be convinced either way but I’m leaning to preferring this method. And since the 2008 and 2013 offseasons are so similar I think it is very possible this is actually a plan.

            At the very least I’m pretty sure McCann was a long term target.

    • qwerty

      These are issues that plagued the front office for untold years since Cashman took over. There are no thoughts about building this team past the next season. The yankees don’t develop well, don’t scout well, and never trades their more valuable veterans when they need to do replenish their club with young players or prospects. In the end they’re left having to spend 175 million on a guy who has never thrown one pitch in the majors.

      • Mr. Roth

        You know so much more than anyone else.

        • qwerty

          Not really. All I did was point out the facts as they have been laid out to us.

          • Mr. Roth

            “There are no thoughts about building this team past the next season.”

            Do you have a link to an article where Cashman laid out the fact that he doesn’t think about the future past the current season?

            • qwerty

              The yankees have the oldest team in baseball by average age, and don’t have a single player under the age of 28 that they can rely on. Robertson, a reliever, is going to be 29 years old in a few months, and he’s considered the yankees’s only “young” “star” player. That tells me all I need to know about the direction this team has been on and headed towards for the last few years now.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Now that someone went there on Darvish, what were people’s thoughts on Cash’s comments about his pursuit and not being in the financial plac to go further on him?

    I’m honestly not sure what to make of that. It seems like a very odd thing to say. “We were ambivalent on him and didn’t put all our resources in. History has proved us wrong thus far yadda yadda” would have been something I could have understood better.

    I was pretty ambivalent back then too.

    • Steve (different one)

      It says Hal didn’t want to pony up whatever they thought they needed to bid to guarantee the winning bid.

      Which, for all we know, could have been $65-75M.

      Could have been the lump sum aspect of it….

      Looks like the wrong decision at this point, but there is nothing to be done about it now except hopefully learn from it, which is hopefully what has happened.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I wish I’d hear more about why they weren’t willing to go there. I’m fine with them telling me they didn’t think the player was worth it at the time. The worst they could be, in saying that, is wrong.

  • neaks

    you don’t think paul o’neill’s # is retirement-worthy?

  • Dan G

    Didn’t read the comments so sorry if this was said already but I agree with the 17 idea. It could be like when Cano wore 22 until Clemens retired and he switched to 24.

    Tanaka will probably take a different number out of deference to seniority (both in age and time on time) and then switch to 18 when Kuroda leaves or retires which could certainly be at the end of this year.

  • Improbable Island Guy on Another Computer

    I think without Cano or Granderson we’re probably in the 75 to 80 win range.

    I think if we sneak back to 85 wins again it’ll be a good job.

    • Improbable Island Guy on Another Computer

      …Or A-Rod. That’s a biggie.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I’m pretty sure the New York Yankees are a 0-162 win team right now.

  • Evan3457

    Start from last year’s Pyhagorean Record: 79 wins. Then

    1) The difference between Cano and what replaces him. Call it 7 WAR. Down to 72 wins.
    2) The difference between Mariano and whoever replaces Robertson as set up reliever. 2 WAR. Down to 70 wins.

    Now, add back in:
    1) McCann vs. last year’s catchers. Add 3 WAR. Up to 73 wins.
    2) Assume a reasonably healthy Teixeira vs. Overbay and Co. Add 3 WAR. Up to 76 wins.
    3) Assume a reasonably healthy Jeter vs. the seven dwarfs. Be conservative; add 1 WAR. Up to 77 wins.
    4) A-rod would’ve been +1 WAR last year, but he only played 1/3 of the season. He and the other Munchkins amount to about 0 WAR. Add 1 WAR for Kelly Johnson or a platoon or something. Up to 78 wins.
    5) Soriano/Granderson and potpourri in left were worth about 1 WAR. Left Field Brett Gardner is a 4 WAR player, mostly due to the defensive advantage. Add 3 wins, and they’re up to 81.
    6) Ellsbury over Gardner in center. Assume he stays healthy and plays 140 games, and add 1 more WAR. 82 wins.
    7) Beltran vs. Ichiro/Wells/Grandy and etc. About 1.5 WAR for the 2013 crew. Add 1 WAR for Beltran. 83 wins.

    8) Assume CC gets back to 2012. Add 3 WAR. 86 wins.
    9) Because of the late slump, Kuroda actually lost 1.5 from 2012. Assume he loses 1 more WAR. 85 wins.
    10) Nova for the whole season. He probably won’t pitch like that for the whole season. 0 WAR. 85 wins.
    11) Tanaka vs. Pettitte. Be conservative. Add 1 WAR. 86 wins.
    12) Other 5th starters vs. Hughes. Gain of 2 WAR. 88 wins.

    Assume the rest of the bench and pen is replacement level, just like last year. That’s 88 wins, and that makes Tananka decent #2-3 starter, assumes the 5th starters will be a collective 1 WAR, and none of the new guys will be significantly better than they were last year.

    No synergistic effects are accounted for, such as the fact that if Robertson fails, the team might sag because it doesn’t have a reliable closer, or the fact that the improved offense will prevent a pitching collapse in August from carrying the whole weight on their shoulders, as happened last year. It assumes CC comes back about halfway to what he was when he was a Cy Young candidate every year. That’s crucial.

    88 wins. It could be worse, but it could easily be better. Large error bars everywhere, of course.

  • Masahiro Dinero

    The thing that kills me is that if he was a 25 year old pitcher in some Major League AAA affiliate, as opposed to the Japan League, people would be tripping over themselves with prospect love… instead there are droves of naysayers.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Kudos on the screen name.

    • vicki

      also, given the proviso “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect,” tanaka’s big stage experience makes him the higher percentage shot.

      fun question: would you pay seattle $130M cash for taijuan walker, given his six years of team control?

      • The Great Gonzo

        Nope, he’s not asian enough

  • qwerty

    No matter how you look at this contract it’s lose lose for the yankees. If Tanaka really is a number 2 starter then he’ll opt out after 4 years making him a 27 million dollar a year investment, including posting fee, but excluding the luxury tax. At 50% I don’t think I need to go into how much that’s costing the yankees. That will far exceed the money that the Dodgers have committed to Kershaw within that same timeframe. All this for a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors and who is projected to be, at best, a number 2. If Tanaka is another Dice K, or god forbid, another Igawa, then this will be the disaster to end all disasters.

    This offseason has seen the yankees invest approximately 69 million dollars in two japanese pitchers for 2014, which includes posting fee and luxury tax, or 38 million if you want to exclude all of that. That’s a lot of resources devoted to an aging Kuroda, and a huge question mark. If they are done for this offseason, as far as pitching goes, then they would have potentially made themselves weaker in that department than last year. If Tanaka is as good as Pettitte then the rotation more or less stays the same with no improvement if everything else remains the same.

    • Steve (different one)

      If Tanaka is good enough to opt out, and the Yankees do not resign him, the contract is not a “lose”.

      It means they got an excellent pitcher on a very short contract. They overpay in AAV, but do that in exchange for not committing to his decline phase.

      And Kershaw was not a free agent, so he is irrelevant.

      Basically the only thing that I agree with is that if Tanaka is a bust, the contract is a disaster. Well, yeah.

      • qwerty

        Twenty seven million dollars, plus the 50% luxury tax penalty, for a number 2 pitcher is hardly a win. That’s close to 40 million dollars a year just for Tanaka.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Not really fair to attribute the full luxury tax penalty fully to Tanaka’s contract. There’s a multitude of contracts that contributed to pushing the Yankees over the limit. You could make the same argument for every single free agent contract the Yankees ever sign.
          Tanaka’s contract makes up roughly 10% of the Yankees payroll. It would make more sense to attribute the corresponding roughly 10% of luxury tax payments to Tanaka’s contract.
          Yankees currently project to a roughly $210M luxury tax payroll this year, which would result in a roughly $10M luxury tax bill. Attributing about 10% of that to Tanaka would add about $1M to his contract. In your 4-year scenario, that would be about $28M/year. Wins currently cost about $6M+/year in free agency (and rising), so if he could be a roughly 4-WAR/year pitcher, he’d be worth it. That’s not out of the question (though obviously an enormous risk).

          • qwerty

            I’ve always thought paying someone based on WAR is a fool’s game. But if we are going to debate it, it’s actually 5 million per WAR, not 6. In order to justify the contract Tanaka would have to average a 5.7 fWAR every season for 4 years. The likelihood of this is unbelievable remote. There is virtually no value in this contract even if you throw out the luxury tax considerations.

        • steve (different one)

          You don’t pay luxury tax on the posting fee…

          also, what “need pitching” said.

      • AKA Nat

        $22m 5 years from now may well be the going rate for a guy like Jimenez so saying Tanaka has to be excellent for the next 4 years is probably not accurate. His last year alone may suffice, and in which case the Yanks do lose.

  • Max

    With Tanaka now in the fold, I just pray that Hal and co. trade for Aramis Ramirez.

    It’s a much, much higher upside version of what Youkilis was last year.

    As for bullpen, I think Balfour would make for a nice set-up man and a suitable closer if Robertson falls flat on his face. The rest of the bullpen can be filled internally (Phelps).

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      It appears Balfour is now off the market.

      • Dars

        Big mistake letting Balfour go! He goes to the Rays….
        The Yankees need more bullpen arms and there are not many available. I guess they can bring in K-Rod to compete for the set-up job or take a flier on Andrew Bailey or Joel Hanrahan but these guys are coming off injuries and will not be ready until early summer.

        I guess the Yankees are confident Kelley can be the set up man and that guys like Betances, Coello or Herndon will step up to the task. That is too much risk if you ask me. The invested over $400 M in moves and they can not spend an additional $6 M to address the bullpen…..

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          2/12 with those questions? I’m not sure if I’d have gone there with Balfour. History might prove me wrong, but I wouldn’t have done anything but a 1 or 1 + option with him.

        • Martin Ranger

          Before we say ‘CASHMAN FAILED’ it’s probably worth noting that the closer’s role in Tampa is Balfour’s to lose. That makes their offer infinitely more appealing.

  • Grit for Brains

    Tanaka will wear #13

  • Tony

    Why wouldn’t 21 be available?

    Give it to Tanaka & let him roll.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Garza to the Brewers. 4/52. That’s about right on him.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      That seems like an extremely reasonable contract, all things considered. I’m surprised that was the best he could do, especially with no draft pick attached.

      • Chip Rodriguez

        He’s coming off a decent, not great season, and spends enough time on a DL to be a member of the 2013 Yankees. I’m with Fish Fingers – that’s about right for him.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Then all three of us agree. :)

          • Chip Rodriguez

            For the first time this offseason, I’m reading news on other teams’ signings, and sitting there fully contented.

      • vicki

        same here, considering the number of teams in the market for a starter.

        also surprised it was the brewers who got him. a lot of bounce-back candidates on that team; they’ll be interesting to watch.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Seems cheap, and also THAT WAS FAST.

  • bobmac

    Isn’t it great spending other people’s money.

  • UncleArgyle

    Rays got Balfour. I’m pretty pissed about this actually. To me, he was a perfect got for the post Rivera is bullpen.

  • Martin Ranger

    Ayala would be a good depth signing.

    I’m probably insane, but I think Betances is going to be the next David Robertson. He was -really- good when he was finally kicked to the bullpen, and that raw stuff plays anywhere. If he can keep his mechanics in check for an inning at a time, that’s a dominant set-up guy.

    And I still have high hopes for Kelley. You can’t teach that K rate.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’d say age plays a big part in the DRob/Betances comparison.

      I’d be totally fine with Ayala.

  • Martin Ranger

    As for position players: I feel like Baker is an obvious add, especially with his ability to fake the outfield and play the corners. If you have to DFA Ichiro so be it. I’d love for them to DFA Nunez, but that probably isn’t happening. Drew would be nice, but that’s a lot of middle infielders. Right now it’s the corners I’m worried about.

  • Gonzo

    I have heard the Haren comp, but I thought it was more about style and stuff. I say this because Haren pitched like a #1 those years and way more people label Tanaka as a #2 or (gasp!) #3.