Yankees: 3 Players Who Should Sit Out Shortened Season

New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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2. Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has nothing to prove in a 50-game season.

Not to depress you all more than you’ve already depressed yourselves, but Masahiro Tanaka’s Yankee career may be coming to a close.

His free agency this winter was already poised to be tough to parse — after all, we know Tanaka by now. He’s hit or miss in the regular season, and he’ll throw two-to-three mistake pitches per game that generally get tattooed to the Metro North tracks. But for teams competing for Tanaka’s services, they’d like to see a little more — would they be theoretically paying only for Playoff Tanaka, or is there a chance he could level up once more in the regular season and find his groove?

Therefore, what would a 50-game season really do for him?

If Tanaka sits out the abrupt 2020 campaign, he won’t receive service time, and will buy himself another full year (hopefully) in 2021 in a rotation that will feature Gerrit Cole and a returning Luis Severino, at the very least. Then, he’ll hit free agency after a lot more normalcy. Of course, we’re not simply dealing with altered-schedule weariness here — as it stands, Tanaka isn’t even in the country. He fled home to Japan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If he sits out the year with a health and safety waiver at his disposal, he could get full pay for missing the campaign, and would hit free agency at the end of the year. He could opt for a full 162 under his belt before doing so, though, even if it would hit the Yanks rotation hard this year.