Just a short while ago, news broke that the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed with star pitcher Clayton Kershaw on a 7-year $215 million deal, the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history. At first, many viewed this as the door potentially being opened for the New York Yankees to sign star Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who has until January 24th to make a decision on which team he would like to sign with.
By now, we’ve all heard some great things about this guy. Reports have indicated that Tanaka and agent Casey Close are looking for a minimum of $100 million. The Dodgers couldn’t possibly have the money to give Kershaw that sort of a deal, plus another possible $100 million for Tanaka, right? Wrong. Reports are that the Dodgers are still very much in on Tanaka, despite the Kershaw deal. However, even if that is the case, I personally cannot see the Dodgers working out deals for both. Not with the amount they just gave Kershaw, coupled with the Yankees saving $25 million from the A-Rod suspension.
The fact of the matter is the Yankees need Masahiro Tanaka. While the Dodgers currently feature a rotation of Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Dan Haren, the Yankees feature a rotation of an aging C.C. Sabathia, coming off the worst year of his career, another aging pitcher in Hiroki Kuroda, who last season had a phenomenal first half, but faded in the second half, and Ivan Nova, who has been known for his hot and cold spells. Tanaka would be a PERFECT fit for an aging Yankees team. He is 25, has a bright future, and would be a great piece to getting the Yankees started in their rebuilding process. The Dodgers WANT Tanaka. The Yankees NEED Tanaka.
So as of right now, I think most people would agree with me when I say that I do indeed believe that the Yankees are and should be the favorites to sign Tanaka. At this point, there’s no excuse for the Yankees not to sign him. Everything the Yankees could have possibly asked for has happened: Tanaka getting posted, A-Rod getting suspended and the Yankees collecting his 2014 salary, and now the Dodgers writing the biggest check ever for a pitcher. So now, its up to Hal Steinbrenner to see that this deal gets done. I trust Hal, and believe that this deal will get done. But if Hal doesn’t get it done, and Tanaka succeeds with whatever team he does sign with, he will never hear the end of it from Yankees fans, and will once again be viewed as a joke in comparison to his old man…