When the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a 7 year, $155 Million contract, fans rejoiced and the organization let out a sigh of relief. Their number one free agent target had been signed, and on paper the Yankees finally became serious contenders. Although the Yankees signed Tanaka, you’d have to wonder what it means for the ball club in 2014. So, let us ask ourselves, what does the Tanaka signing mean…
1) For The Rotation: The rotation is finally shaping together. CC Sabathia would still be your Yankees ace, Hiroki Kuroda would still be your number two starter, Masahiro Tanaka would slot into the number three spot which was previously occupied by Andy Pettitte and finally Ivan Nova would occupy the fourth spot. With those four pitchers, the Yankees now just have to slot one more pitcher and they plan on doing so between Adam Warren, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Michael Pineda. You have to admit though, the rotation looks better on paper now than it did two months ago.
2) For Brett Gardner: When the Yankees were in limbo on whether or not Tanaka would sign with the Yankees, it seemed possible for Brett Gardner to be a trade chip in order to bring in a starting pitcher. Now, it looks as if Gardner stays with the Yankees in 2014 as their every day left fielder and team up with Jacoby Ellsbury as the 1-2, 1-9 punch in the lineup.
3) For The Payroll: When Alex Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list, it freed the Yankees approximately $27.5 Million to spend on Tanaka. With the Tanaka signing, the Yankees are now above the $189 Million luxury tax. Hal Steinbrenner repeatedly said throughout the offseason the $189 Million tax was a “goal, not a mandate.” Between you and me, I knew the Yankees were going to go over the luxury tax. After all, this is the Yankees we’re talking about.