Masahiro Tanaka flew back to New York on Wednesday to have an MRI which freaked Yankee fans and baseball fans out, and the Yankees later placed him on the 15-day DL. Now, it has been reported that he has a slight tear in his UCL that will require 6 weeks of rehab and if that doesn’t work…the notorious Tommy John surgery will be necessary.
This obviously comes at a bad time for the Yankees, who have been without C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and Ivan Nova for a majority of the season. Tanaka is 12-4 on the year, with a 2.45 ERA and 135 SO. He was considered the favorite to win Rookie of the Year and possibly the Cy Young award so this recent news is definitely going to affect those chances.
It is obvious from the Yankees performance when Tanaka is not pitching that he is simply irreplaceable. They are 13-5 when he pitches and 32-39 when he doesn’t. The Yankees have been cautious with him since giving him a 7 year, $155 million contract by giving extra rest days in order to prevent injury which has obviously failed.
Tanaka is one of the best pitchers in baseball and he is the most valuable player for a Yankees team that has no other consistent starting pitchers and for a team that has struggled to hit the ball and score runs. It does not matter what the Yankees do to try to temporarily “replace” him. There is simply no one who can match Tanaka. Brandon McCarthy is a nice addition, but he is no Tanaka. David Price is definitely an elite pitcher that would be a nice addition for the Yankees, but he is no Tanaka.
Despite yet another setback for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi knows that his team must keep battling in order to get a shot at a playoff berth. He told Newsday that they have to stay alive in the hunt for the AL East because it is still wide open at this point. “That’s our job — to survive and keep going,” Girardi said.