What does the Tanaka signing mean for the Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka 4

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 GardnerWhen 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.

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35 Responses to What does the Tanaka signing mean for the Yankees

  1. Brett Marshall was picked up off waivers from the Cubs on Dec. 23.

  2. Remember this article everyone? A lot of people thought I was FOS but it turns out it was pretty much on point.

  3. Something I really like from signing Tanaka is keeping Gardner, therefore, having one of the best outfields in MLB

    Ellsbury, Gardner, Beltran, Soriano and Ichiro. OMG You have power, speed, patience, experience, youth, etc etc etc

  4. This team does not have an infield. Drew, Headly, Phillips. Nunez, Steven Drew–3rd Base, 3 years $40million should do it, don't have to lose a player (but lose a draft pick). Chase Headly and Brandon Phillips for Brett Gardner. Headly for Gardner——rental for rental. Headly at 3rd for a season and Alex back for 2016——I am chuckling but he is under contract and don't think AROD will go away. Anyway, if they get Headly, we will see how it plays out. Gardner for Phillips—-extends line-up, Jeter moves to 3rd and they can carry Ryan's lack of hitting. That is killer up the middle defense, Ryan/Phillips would be awesome. Plus there is depth, if Yank Fans can be at least a little objective, we see that Nunez's defense was dramatically improved last year and he can certainly spell Jeter or Ryan. Roberts also as a back-up. If they want to hold on to Gardner then extend him and SHOW IT & sign Drew.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Dave, I like the idea of moving Jeter to 3B, and have been advocating it myself for quite some time. Then make Ryan the SS, and go with Roberts at 2B. This team, or any team for that matter, has no need of a pouty, overpaid 2Bman from Cincy. They'll have Johnson and Anna as INF depth, but please with the Nunez mentions. To write "that Nunez's defense was dramatically improved last year" sounds good at first, until you realize he improved from vomit-inducing to merely mediocre. We may have to live with him getting 300 ABs again, but let's not pretend that he's anything more than scrub.

  5. olie says:

    If the Yankees keep Ichiro, Gardner becomes 4th outfeilder and the only way he hits at top of order is if Ellsbury, Jeter or even Roberts are injured. So why not trade him?

  6. Steven says:

    Gardner becomes the 4th outfielder for Ichiro are you our of your everloving mind??????

    • olie says:

      On his 80th birthday Ichiro will be a better hitter than Gardner is today?

      • Tanned Tom says:

        Not according to last year's BA/OBP/SLG #'s.

        • olie says:

          I will give u last year but check he last 15 years!

          • Tanned Tom says:

            #'s from 15 years ago are irrelevant.
            Gardner's career OBP is .352, and for the last 3 years were .344, .417(injury shortened), and .345
            over the last 3 years Suzuki's OBPs were .297, .307, .298
            there is no doubt who is the better hitter right now and for 2014

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      In every conversation about the OF, Girardi, Cashman, Steinbrenner etc. have mentioned the outfield is Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran. If Gardner was the 4th OF, the Yankees would have said so. Besides, why would your second best player in 2013 who's getting paid almost $6 Million suddenly get a demotion to become a 4th OF?

      • olie says:

        Last year the Yankees were not very good which is why they added so many position players. If that "Hotdog" Gardner was so good why not resign him now. Being a lifelong fan of the Bombers I hope that I am wrong and and he hits .500 and steals 75 bases but I don't think that's going to happen!

  7. If Gardner is not traded he is obviously the left fielder this season. But if he does not fit into their plans beyond 2014 trade him now to bring a guy in (like Phillips or Headly) to tighten up the infield. If he is, in the opinion of the Yankee front office, part of the long term plans for this team, extend his contract NOW to avoid overpaying him, or letting him get away next off-season.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      A team that is about winning now will think about 2015 after 2014, and not too much before. Trading Gardner for Phillips is total insanity, and let's see Headley have more than 1 good year before we rush out to for him.

  8. olie says:

    There is nothing obvious about Gardner being the left fielder and I would say that if he were part of long term plans they would not have signed Ellsbury. Traditionally, as I am sure you know Dave, left field is normally reserved for a player with pop in his bat. I suspect Soriano will be playing some games in left especially when they use Jeter to DH which they will!

    • Gardner will play, if healthy, at least 130-150 games this season. That's a done deal.

      • olie says:

        Sure pinch running and defensive replacement. He won't start against decent left handed pitching.

        • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

          This isn't 2008-2009. Brett Gardner is the left fielder and he's playing almost everyday. If anything Ichiro is the 4th OF.

          • I was going to say, if anything Beltran is the 4th outfielder since…you know…he's had multiple knee surgeries and is bad defensive outfielder and probably best suited to be the everyday DH.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      What is with this anti-Gardner bias? He was the 2nd best player on the team last year. He's great in the field, hits for decent average with a good OBP, very good speed, and still isn't expensive. Look for Soriano to play very little OF, maybe 20-30 games, and some of that in RF when Beltran needs a rest.

      • The anti-Gardner bias has been going on for years and I never understood it. I had a Yankee fan tell me before last season that he doesn't even consider Gardner an outfield option. Maybe because he's skinnier than most Yankee outfielders.

        Either way, I expect Gardner to play roughly 140 games mostly in left but also some in center. Ellsbury will play 150-160 games if healthy and Soriano and Beltran will split time between outfield and DH. Ichiro, I don't even see any use for him. The Yankees would be better off with Almonte as their 5th outfielder.

  9. Balt Yank says:

    Yanks could solve some problems by putting Jeter at 3rd base and playing no-hit, all field at SS. I love Gardner but could see trading him for some prospects or a 2nd baseman. When did a 260 hitter (Stephen Drew) deserve anything but league minimum? Right now, we have two similar players in Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson. That Drew is better than those two says not much.

  10. I don't see Jeter at 3rd base. For one thing, he has never given any indication that he can be unselfish enough to consider such a thing. And his instincts, his first step, and weak arm don't make me excited to see him try to learn a new position. The guy can barely move out there and he's gonna be able to make those split second diving plays? He's going to be able to go deep in the hole at third to throw out a runner at first? Not a chance. Besides, he's not even healthy yet. He might not even be ready to play shortstop so there is little chance that he'll have enough time to learn a new position.

    • olie says:

      Rob,we will just disagree about Gardner but you are right on about Jeter playing 3rd base. A strong arm is required to play 3rd and although he can get away with a weak arm at short due to his quickness those long throws could be a problem for him.. Also can you tell me who is the back-up for Teixeira at first?

      • The Yankees will find a backup for Teixeira sometime within the next month or so. I expect that they'll probably sign 2, or even 3, as non-roster invitees to spring training and have them battle for a spot. Just remember, they didn't get Lyle Overbay until only a few days before last season.

        • olie says:

          I was surprised they didn't resign Reynolds since he could play first as well as third!

        • olie says:

          Actually I believe they signed Overbay the day before the season started, after the last exibition game!

          • The main issue IMHO is that you don't want to kill a roster space with a back-up first-baseman who does not have the versatility to play another position as well. Girardi and Cashman both agreed that it would be futile to ask Overbay to play the outfield, if needed, last year. I recall when Teixiera attempted to come back last year before surgery Overbay said something to the extent that "I only have a first basemen's mitt". As it stands now, they are planning platoons at 2nd & 3rd. You only have 25 roster spots.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      All that is true, but I think he'd be less of a liability at 3B, with Ryan at SS covering for some of his weakness, than he will be at SS with Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts at his sides. What it comes down to is if they move Jeter to 3B it allows them to play their best fielder at SS. I think it's just possible Jeter would agree to the move – since his boyhood idol Cal Ripken did the same thing.

  11. Jeter's arm strength is not an issue in discussing a possible move to 3rd. Think of that jump throw he makes on balls in the hole. His momentum is carrying him in the opposite direction of the throw, meaning the throw is ALL ARM, and against the grain.

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