Well, well, well look who is back in the big-time free agency game.
The Yankees won the pursuit of Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2013, leading his club to a Japan Series title.
There were rumblings that New York wanted to keep its salary around $189 million, but that appears to be a difficult task now – unless somehow they can get Alex Rodriguez contract voided - that Tanaka is on the books for $155 million over seven years.
"I felt we needed another starter. We were not where we needed to be, in my opinion," managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "So this should not be a surprise because [Tanaka] was the best free-agent pitcher available. He is one of the greatest players Japan has ever produced. He is tough. He has thrived under pressure. He will fit in well to New York."
Tanaka also drew serious interest from the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Astros and Diamondbacks, and a source said that he believed the Yankees may have been outbid by one club.
Instead he chose the Yankees. Clearly there is still some mystique to the pinstripes. They are hoping he can help added to it by pushing the Yankees back into title contenders.
It would be have been great to see the D-Backs come away as the winner or maybe the Cubs.
Mostly, I am thankful the Dodgers were shunned. If they had added Tanaka to go along with Clayton Kershaw’s long-term deal, assuming Tanaka matches the projections experts have for him at the MLB lead, it would have just about sealed a wild-card only proposition for the rest of N.L. West.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.