1. Splurge on Masahiro Tanaka
Could the Yankees give Masahiro Tanaka a call?
CAUTION: There is still no way to accomplish this without passing the luxury tax threshold by $5 million or so.
DOUBLE CAUTION: Literally who the hell cares?
If Masahiro Tanaka’s reported demands of $15-20 million per year — for…one year? Two? — are still his intended target, the Yankees still can’t afford to run it back without creeping past the lowest possible level of taxed spending. But there’s a decent-to-average chance that this entire CBA gets blown up following the 2022 season and the players demand a way to start anew that doesn’t stunt their earning power every offseason.
Are the Yankees really not willing to incur the tiniest of penalties to add one friendly and dependable face to their topsy-turvy rotation?
The answer, unfortunately, is no. And you know it’s no.
But we wouldn’t be able to go quietly into this good night without advertising the fact that, if the Yankees wanted to, they could negotiate Tanaka down to a backloaded deal and give him $12 million for 2021 on a two-year contract. They’re free to move about the cabin now.
Or, they could simply acquiesce to his desires and bite the bullet.
They won’t do either of these things. They’re more likely to give Tanaka’s No. 19 to Brett Gardner, even though neither party asked for that. But we felt like we had to present the case regardless.