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.
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.