Hal Steinbrenner's dream of remaining under the Steve Cohen luxury tax threshold should have died on Wednesday when it was revealed Frankie Montas would need shoulder surgery. That'll likely knock him out for all of 2023 and seriously impact the New York Yankees starting rotation.
Nobody was necessarily expecting anything special from Montas, given his shoulder ailment and horrible showing after being acquired at last year's deadline, but having him as a No. 5 starter when he was initially expected to be a No. 2 felt like a gigantic advantage. Montas over Domingo Germán or Clarke Schmidt is massive.
But now that Montas' Yankees career is likely over and Nestor Cortes is dealing with a hamstring injury that simply cannot bode well (it never does), the Yankees are in a precarious position with their starting rotation, which was once upon a time the undisputed best in MLB.
Throw in the lengthy injury histories of Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón and now we're really down bad. Time to make another move! And it's probably going to cost money, because the Yankees don't have the prospect capital (or are reluctant to use any more of it) to get another mid-rotation arm.
How about Brian Cashman calls up the Rakuten Golden Eagles to see if he can purchase Masahiro Tanaka from them? Is that crazy?
Yankees should try and sign Masahiro Tanaka after Frankie Montas news
It's the least Cashman can do after spending ~$10 million and four prospects for eight Montas starts. Opening Day for Nippon Professional Baseball is March 30, with Tanaka and the Golden Eagles taking on the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Better get on it quick!
Tanaka was the go-to postseason pitcher for years in the Bronx. He has the experience and has proven his mettle. He's no longer that guy, but he could very well excel in the back end of the rotation, providing anywhere between 140-160 innings with the necessary veteran presence.
In lesser competition the last two years, the right-hander has registered 3.01 and 3.31 ERAs across 155.2 innings and 163 innings. He made at least 23 starts each year. Sign us up for that.
This is yet another example of the Yankees needing to right a wrong. Didn't like any of the prospects they traded at least year's deadline? Understandable. But they could've been traded for something better or could've been used as the next line of defense in 2023, should something like this happen.
The Yankees are the Yankees. This should be a reasonable get for them. It fosters familiarity and durability. And brings back a fan favorite. For once, can we act with some human instincts?