Yankees might not pursue Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out

Even though the 2017 season ends six months from now–I know, it’s too early to worry about the offseason–it’s entirely possible the Yankees are already looking ahead.

One of those topics involves Masahiro Tanaka potentially opting out of his contract at the end of the season.

Tanaka is in the third year of a seven-year deal, but at the end of the season he has the option of opting out of his contract. If Tanaka does opt-out of his contract, are the Yankees likely to bring him back for the 2018 season?

A team source doesn’t think so.

“I just don’t see Hal Steinbrenner going there,” the team source told the New York Daily News on Thursday. “He’s still smarting from the CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira deals.”

The Yankees have expressed their concerns regarding Tanaka’s elbow, especially since he has an untreated partial UCL tear. The team reportedly isn’t optimistic Tanaka will get through the entire seven-year deal without needing surgery.

As for Sabathia and Teixeira, both have suffered issues in the back-end of their deals. Sabathia struggled for a good part of his contract due to knee injuries, and Teixeira suffered a plethora of injuries ranging from his wrist–credit to the World Baseball Classic–and a broken leg–which was a crazy fluke accident.

Sabathia and Teixeira were still productive for the Yankees, but it wasn’t worth the money the Yankees were paying them. Teixeira retired last season and Sabathia is currently in the final year of his contract.

Regarding Tanaka, there isn’t a team out there in free agency that would sign him to a long extension knowing he has a UCL tear in his elbow. It’s too risky and far too much money for any team to take. However, if Tanaka does decide to opt-out, Tanaka won’t be on the Yankees payroll and if an injury does happen, it wouldn’t necessarily affect them.

Still, Tanaka is a vital part of the Yankees rotation and the team needs him, especially with the Yankees current rotation woes. Michael Pineda, who is also in the final year of his contract, hasn’t won a game in his last 11 starts.

Tanaka is slated to make $22 Million this season.

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10 Responses to Yankees might not pursue Masahiro Tanaka if he opts out

  1. tom says:

    I honestly don't think he will opt out. Last two years, many MLB teams did not pay anything more than 15-17m per season to new free agents. Tanaka may settle down with 14-18m per season with new team maybe lower with that time bomb.

    • Price got over $30 million annually in 2016, Scherzer's deal he got in 2015 was worth $30 million on average, Greinke got $31.5 million per year in 2016. So it's certainly not like pitchers aren't getting huge, huge contracts.

      I'm not certain that Takana will get a lot more money per year than he's making now, but he'll easily get the same with more years attached. Considering his injury history, he would have to be pretty stupid to not opt-out (if he's healthy). He's going to opt out. Or, at the very least, he's going to negotiate for a better deal.

      If you think Tanaka won't opt out, or at least use his leverage, you're living in the land of wishful thinking.

      • tom says:

        All aforementioned SPs had cleaner health status than Tanaka so to think Tanaka would collect at least 25m annually is laughable. No question.

        If Tanaka wanted to opt out then it would be a location/team issue instead of bigger contract. I guarantee you.

      • otto says:

        If he opts out hopefully they let him walk. I am sorry he is not worth the money. Really none of them are worth the money they are getting. Personally I hope he does and they let him walk. They would be under the luxury tax for sure. I would rather see what the young guys can do. Then after 2018 they can make the huge splash if they want to go that route.

  2. Terry says:

    One would think he will opt out to get more total dollars before the elbow goes. I don't think the Yankees will show more than cursory interest if he does. They haven't gone after the high contract pitchers recently and Hal is more about trimming payroll rather than going big.I really like Tanaka but his days in pinstripes may be numbered

    • tom says:

      That is what team source leaked for on the purpose. It was a message that Yankees won't make another Arod mistake.

  3. James Dogg says:

    I do not think he will opt out, the pitchers mentioned above all have better resumes, and Price and Greinke may end up being cautionary tales, Greinke already is- ask Arizona if they could dump his contract and they would likely jump at the chance- for teams that laid out cash for 30-30+ pitchers, rarely do the back end of those deal look good. Tanaka will be entering 29 if he opts-

    BUT– I hope he does opt out for one reason, that would only happen if he has a great 2017. Lets hope he has that option- because unless he is stellar in 2017 he will stay with the $60 mil guaranteed on his yankee K. If he does have a great 2017, and opts out, the Ybanks should steer clear of extending beyond the 20-22 mil already on his plate, he will not last into late 30s-

  4. Michael says:

    Let him go and Pineda. They both are not good.

  5. Jerry says:

    How many teams would have pursued Tanaka when he left Japan if he was leaving Japan with a tear in arm, even coming off a 24 and 0 season and how much money. Not nearly as many teams and not nearly as much money. Now I know he's had a good career going, but further now into a time with a tear in his elbow, teams thinking maybe not longer before it tears all the way. I agree with Delia , teams will be reluctant to gamble on him. Baseball is starting to change, build a strong farm system, not these insane contracts as much as before. Youth and cheaper labor sounds more enticing and more productive. The Cubs, the Redsox, and the Yankees all changing , not completely, but much more prudent then in the past. It will be interesting to see what happens, but it's definitely not a sure thing that teams will be clamoring for Tanaka if he opts out.

  6. Balt Yank says:

    I agree with Dogg and let him opt out based on a great season this year. He's not worth resigning, even in the context of today's MLB pitching dearth. He's a solid #3 pitcher with flashes who could pitch 200 innings if his elbow holds up annually. For playoffs, he's exhausted by then. He's no ace, though he's our ace. The Yankees also are not committed to giving him extra rest when needed as this past ST shows again, so they don't maximize his talent. He's a class-act, smart and capable pitcher, but not worth more years. Seven will be enough, or three.

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