Surely, this means nothing, but why is Masahiro Tanaka releasing Yankees swag now?!
After signing Corey Kluber to an $11 million deal after his impressive offseason showcase (shoutout to Eric Cressey), the Yankees can no longer bring back Masahiro Tanaka while remaining under the lowest luxury tax threshold.
Though we assumed Tanaka wouldn’t return weeks, if not months, ago, the decision appears to be a near-certainty, especially with the righty’s continued demands of $15-20 million annually and fertile market back in Japan.
But despite an open-and-shut case, Tanaka’s social media seems to tell a different story — or, at least, an intriguing one.
If Tanaka’s not coming back to the Yankees, then why is he advertising a new line of Yankees-themed fashion items overseas?
Got to give it up for the pressure tactic of releasing a full clothing line for both men and women featuring your old team’s logo.
“Come on, Cash, I’ve got a lot of dough riding on this. Lot of manufacturing. All I’m saying.”
An outsider being presented with this picture alone and zero context would probably assume that Tanaka’s return would be on the horizon, but knowing what we know, it’s far more likely that this means the 32-year-old righty is homeward bound.
After all, if he’s not announcing a return to the Yankees, he might be announcing that the Yankees will be his final (and only) big-league stop, meaning they’ll continue to be eternally identifiable with his career for 30, 40, or 50 more years’ worth of sales.
But just because he’s probably not returning to the Bronx doesn’t mean we ever stopped loving him.
“Playoff Tanaka” regressed just a bit in 2020, but is still a beyond-viable mid-rotation innings eater at the very least, and would be a welcome fit on both the 2021 team and the teams that follow it.
We probably can’t take this new advertisement as a great sign that he’ll link up with Brian Cashman, but we can treasure it, secure in the notion that he really will be a Yankee forever in some capacity.