Yankees fans can’t really picture Masahiro Tanaka playing for another MLB team, so this will be jarring.
Yankees fans were already hit with the “nightmare scenario” involving DJ LeMahieu after MLBTradeRumors.com predicted the star slugger would land with the Toronto Blue Jays. Though that chatter has gradually dissipated (we think) to the point where such a scenario doesn’t seem likely, we’ve got another one to worry you in the meantime.
The MLB offseason is still waiting for a legitimate shot in the arm to kick things off, so speculation and predictions will overtake the discourse for now. That means our old friend Jim Bowden of The Athletic is here to make us feel uneasy.
The former general manager predicted the Yankees would re-sign LeMahieu (though we’re still not sure if a three-year, $58 million deal will get the job done), but he then followed that up with Masahiro Tanaka departing for our most hated rival.
"“Boston Red Sox: Sign right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a three-year, $45 million contract,” Bowden loosely predicted.“If the Red Sox are going to contend in 2021, they need to fortify both their starting rotation and bullpen. Tanaka, 31, would be a good start to their offseason. Tanaka would fit in nicely as their third starter behind Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodríguez and ahead of Tanner Houck as they wait for Chris Sale to return from Tommy John surgery sometime next summer.”"
Yeah … how about no? Plus, would Mr. Stats Man general manager Chaim Bloom view Tanaka’s horrid Fenway Park stats favorably? Probably not. The right-hander is 4-3 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 11 starts there. Those outings were obviously all against the Red Sox, but Tanaka’s propensity to surrender home runs won’t play in a hitter-friendly park.
It will be incredibly difficult to watch Tanaka leave the Yankees in any capacity after he spent the last seven years with the franchise and helped deliver some unforgettable moments. But if he departs for the Red Sox? That’ll be among the cruelest things 2020 could do to us.
We can’t help but view Tanaka as a loyal man. If his run with the Yankees is indeed over, we’d like to think the veteran would scoff at any offer from his former team’s most hated rival.