Friday, January 24, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka signs with the New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka signs with the New York Yankees

I don’t know about you but I really am not surprised at all. I expected the New York Yankees to sign him all along because of their great interest in him and great need for him. I normally wouldn’t have been so confident with the Los Angeles Dodgers showing interest. They really didn’t have a great need for him though; they already have the highest payroll by a lot. They also just signed Clayton Kershaw to a huge extension and are working on one for Hanley Ramirez. There were sources saying it came down to the Yankees and Cubs. Is that really a choice, the Cubs??

The Yankees missed the postseason for just the second time in the last 18 years. They responded last time with a splurge on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixiera. They ended up winning the World Series the very next season. The Yankees had been talking about a 189 million cap. Hal Steinbrenner though in the last year has been adamant in saying it is a goal and not a mandate. I don’t think many people believed him especially the Yankee fans. They kept dreaming of the days of the father George running the team. They kept saying how the sons would never be like the father and nothing is the same. I don’t hear much of that going on now. I think the combination of missing the postseason and the Red Sox winning the World Series pushed the Yankees. They chose the importance of winning over saving some money on the luxury tax. They understand that you have to spend money to make money. The Yankees have always been great at that and with the big market and the Yankees name that philosophy really can’t change. The owners did want to try and reduce payroll but when the farm system just wasn’t producing then last year is what happened. The Yankees couldn’t stand for missing the postseason and having their attendance and television ratings go down.

Tanaka signed for seven years and 155 million, which is a huge amount of money. He is also costing g175 million total due to the 20 million-release fee the Yankees have to pay Rakuten his old team. He has never thrown a pitch in the United States. There are a couple of things to consider though. There were at least four other teams seriously involved. Those teams all bid at least 20 million a year for him, the market dictated that he was worth that much. The Yankees also had scouted him extensively since 2007 and were at every single home game of this past season. They also watched him closely during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. They sent a contingent of nine people to visit with him when he was in California last week. This is a player they feel very strongly about and he is also just 25 years old. He has pitched a lot of innings in Japan but I would argue they are getting his prime years 25-28. He can opt out after year four and try to seek a new contract.

The Yankees really had to take this risk for a couple of reasons. They need the pitching and they also need to show the rest of the baseball world that they are back to being the big bad Yankees. I think this is good for the team, ratings, and sponsorships. Tanaka also has Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki as teammates he can hang around with and learn from. He can also lean on Hideki Matsui if need be. Matsui was the star of stars in Japan and then with the Yankees.

The Yankees will pay him 22 million a year for the first six years and then 23 million for the final year of his contract. He is a guy that will be the number three of four starter to start out but eventually the Yankees feel will be their ace. He seems to have the stuff and the makeup to handle that. It will be interesting to see him in action come spring training and especially the regular season. The Yankees are banking on this being a worthy investment and I believe it will be. If it doesn’t work out exactly as they had hoped I still won’t blame the Yankees for making this move. I really think it is worth the risk for them and expect it to pay off big time.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some New York Yankees news and notes

Some New York Yankees news and notes

Spring training is quickly approaching in less then a month now. February 14th is the official report date for pitchers and catcher with all position players reporting about a week later. The early work and reporting is boring but at least we will be talking about real baseball action.

The Yankees came to terms with all five of their arbitration eligible players. Brett Gardner, Shawn Kelley, Ivan Nova, Francisco Cervelli and David Robertson. They now can add those guys to the payroll status and see where they are in regards to 189 million. If you trust the NY Post who has had a running total they are at about 169 so there is still some room to go. They of course could sign Tanaka, which is what they want.

There are reports coming out of Japan on Saturday that the Yankees along with the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox and Diamondbacks all made formal offers for Tanaka on Thursday. has some of the report on their site. They state that the Diamondbacks made an offer to be around six years and 120 million. The Yankees and Dodgers are said to be around that same amount and it isn’t known what the two Chicago teams bid. This whole process has been a big mystery even before he got posted. You can take just about any of this with a grain of salt but one way or another we will know by Friday which is the deadline. He has to be signed by then so I expect to hear something pretty substantial on Thursday.

Derek Jeter had a pretty lengthy sit down interview with Harold Reynolds of MLB network the other day. Here are some highlights of what he had to say.

He spoke about Arod and called it sad, he said that he has a long history with him and is saddened. He also called it messy and stated he doesn’t really have any advice because he can’t relate. He did say that he had messaged Arod. He stated that he feels really good and has been working hard since November. He stated that last year he did rush himself but it was his entire fault and that is probably why he got hurt and had such a miserable year. He said he set the goal to be back by opening day and that may have been unrealistic but he set it and there is nothing you can do.

Derek stated that it would probably be strange playing for the first time with not at least one of the other core four members. He stated he would see when that time comes but he has never had to do it before. He had a funny comment about recruiting Tanaka. Jeter said I don’t speak Japanese and the very little that I do know is from Hideki Matsui and it is bad words. He said about Cano taking the 240 million and bolting for Seattle that he wasn’t surprised and he probably would of done the same thing. If you get a chance to see it on it is worth it. I thought he was really honest and revealing. He looked to be very relaxed and he isn’t usually like this interviews so it was good to see.

The Yankees and the rest of baseball released their schedules with most of the scheduled times. If you go to it is all there. The Yankees open in Houston with three night games in a row and then their fourth game of the season in Toronto is also at night before having a string of day games. They have the Sat and Sunday game during the day, which is pretty normal, and then their first few home games are mostly day games. The Yankees will close out the season in Boston. They will also play the NL central this season in interleague play. There are games with the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals as well as the four in a row with the NY Mets.


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