Looks like the New York Yankees are still the New York Yankees.
We thought the Los Angeles Dodgers were the new Yankees, able to spend at will and top everyone for the best players. But the Yankees showed they haven’t lost their touch by signing prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year, $155 million deal.
We reported in Sunday Baseball Notes that the buzz was that Tanaka might get 6 years at $120 million, but clearly the Yankees felt they need to eclipse the $20 million per year figure and offer an extra year to surpass what LA, the Cubs and other might have bid. The Yankees will also owe the Rakuten Golden Eagles $20 million for the posting fee.
The 25-year-old righty will join fellow countryman Hiroki Kuroda in the Yankees rotation which is now comprised of CC Sabathia, Kuroda, Tanaka, Ivan Nova and David Phelps. The Yankees don’t appear to be done.
How does this affect the Red Sox?
Sox executives hinted at last night’s Hot Stove Cool Music event that they felt the Yankees might land him. And they were right.
Obviously nobody knows how good Tanaka will be. The Dodgers would have had him as their No. 3 behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Cubs would have made him their centerpiece, and it appears the Yankees want him up on their depth chart, though they paid him No. 1 money.
This is yet another deal that seems to raise Jon Lester’s open-market value, although like Kershaw, who received a $215 million deal this week, Tanaka is only 25 years old while Lester is 30.
The Yankees, who have shed most of Alex Rodriguez’ contract for the year, replaced it with Tanaka. They may also pursue a third baseman, though they seem to feel confortable with Kelly Johnson.
The Red Sox did bid on Tanaka, but they weren’t in the ballpark, according to sources.
The Red Sox didn’t have the dire need to go all out for Tanaka, already armed with six veteran starters and three top young starters knocking on the door.