Yankees: Brian Cashman calls out Astros and doesn’t close door on Tanaka return

Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels bad Masahiro Tanaka lost a ring to cheaters — and doesn’t rule out him coming back in the future.

Every Yankees fan (well, unless you write for the New York Times) was deeply satisfied with Masahiro Tanaka’s seven-year tenure in pinstripes.

Unfortunately, though the playoff-dominant righty lived up to expectations, the rest of the world conspired against him receiving the hardware he’d earned.

Tanaka could’ve closed both 2017 and 2019 with American League championships and potential World Series rings, if the fates allowed. Instead, his team lost both times to the Houston Astros, a team that was blatantly cheating the system in 2017 and swept all four home games to erase a 3-2 lead Tanaka had ensured.

And who knows what they were up to in 2019, too, when Tanaka took Game 1 on the road, only to watch the whole thing get wiped away?

In saying farewell to the Japanese righty, Brian Cashman all but admitted that there was a specific, unsavory reason why Tanaka’s Yankees career might be looked at someday as incomplete.

You can ask us 100 times and you’ll receive the same response all 100. Yes, there were shenanigans. Yes, we’d like to replay 2017 with the full cast of characters, please.

Todd Frazier, come on down.

For Tanaka — and, let’s face it, CC Sabathia — the 2017 season would’ve marked an extremely well-deserved coronation for fighting through extreme adversity to rise back to the top. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans. But we’ll always have shade to throw at the Asterisk-laden team that came down with the trophy, so that’s … something.

As for the finality of Tanaka’s tenure in the Bronx? Cashman, delightfully, would not go there.

This offseason was not the time for Tanaka to return to the Yankees, especially with the chance to pull off a “two-for-one” deal of Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon for roughly the same price (even less, actually).

But next offseason, following a one-year deal with Rakuten and under a new CBA? Now you have our attention.