AL East Notes: Red Sox, Tanaka, Yankees, Orioles

The Red Sox are pretty much the only big market team not heavily connected to Masahiro Tanaka, but a case could be made that they should be involved, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.  Boston already has six starters under contract with a rich minor league system that could deliver three or four more in the next two years and they're right against the $189MM tax threshold, but the 25-year-old is a special talent.  More out of the AL East..

  • For the Yankees rotation to go from a concern to a strength, the Bombers will need a lot to go right, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman says the Yanks have to sign Tanaka, have Manuel Banuelos and Michael Pineda return to health and a high-level form, and see Ivan Nova be the pitcher he was upon returning full-time to the rotation last July.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com looks at the Orioles roster and finds that surprisingly few players were signed as major league free agents.
  • The Rays are excited about the defensive play that new catcher Ryan Hanigan will bring, writes Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.  Tampa Bay acquired the backstop from the Reds earlier this month in a three-team deal and promptly gave him a contract extension.


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54 Comments on "AL East Notes: Red Sox, Tanaka, Yankees, Orioles"


1 year 7 months ago

Joel makes great points in that article, but as he mentions it’s a Hail Mary. Also, I noticed Nova went back to being a two pitch pitcher the second half with just his curve and fastball…I don’t like that. He needs to develop a solid change up to be a complete pitcher. Good hitters will lay off his CV and sit on the FB.

I’m praying for Pineda and ManBan to be successful. It would be quite the rotation if it all went right. Pineda/Tanaka/ManBan/CC/Nova

Bronx Bombers
1 year 7 months ago

where is hiroki ?

1 year 7 months ago

This is the future rotation, so past this upcoming season (2015 and beyond). Kuroda is probably done after this year at age 40. I imagine he will retire or return to Japan and finish up his career there.

1 year 7 months ago

Kuroda has no real reason to stop until his production diminishes. He’s making a ton of money. Why would he go back to Japan?

1 year 7 months ago

He could potentially decide to keep playing, absolutely. However I’m looking at it long-term past 2015 and I don’t think Kuroda will be projecting into the Yankees long-term success. And if it all goes right and ManBan/Pineda/Nova all look great…who do you leave out?

Bronx Bombers
1 year 7 months ago

ok.what did you think about cc ?

1 year 7 months ago

I think CC looked terrible last year. Lack of velocity on his fastball mad his secondary stuff seem hitable. I also wonder if the elbow surgery he had needed a little bit more time to recover from at his age. I don’t think he will ever be the 20 game winner he was, but I can see him as a solid 2-3 winning 16 games for the next few years.

He projects into the rotation because he is 33 and is still under contract until after the 2016 season.

Bronx Bombers
1 year 7 months ago

yes,his fastball was really bad.i think he must work on his curveball und changeup.his slider is good.winning 15+ games with a ERA under 4 would be very nice for the 2 years.

MaineSkin
1 year 7 months ago

Banuelos was moved to the pen last year and found success, so I highly doubt he’s a rotation candidate. Pineda has the heavy natural sinker that can have success in the AL East, but his motivation has always been suspect. Re Banuelos, he was the last 16yr old to pitch in full season ball until LAD Urias accomplished the feat this past year. Just keep that in mind when the hype machine starts to roll with Urias. Sabathia comes back as at least a #2 or there is no diff between the Yanks, Os or Jays. TB lands another “Myers” with Price and I can see TB and BOS leading the pack in the AL East.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

You’re thinking of Betances who was moved to the pen. Banuelos was out with TJS.

1 year 7 months ago

All the Red Sox have to gain by getting involved in Tanaka is saving face if he turns out to be a stellar ace for the Yankees. Tanaka is one of the few free agents who could actually be aggressively courted by more than half the league. Should the Red Sox outbid everyone else for a pitcher they don’t really need?

WazBazbo
1 year 7 months ago

Yes, because of the very very very old maxim, “You can NEVER have too much pitching.” At the worst, the Sox wind up with a glut of brilliant starters, never a bad thing when needing to trade to upgrade the team!

jmcbosox
1 year 7 months ago

which is exactly why i don’t understand the speculation in trading one of lackey/demp/peavy. no thanks to tanaka.

SierraM363
1 year 7 months ago

There’s always a need for good young pitching. It just depends if they think Tanaka is better than the ones they already have.

1 year 7 months ago

But that requires them to bid higher than all the other teams going after him who actually have a need for his services. He’s going to command a ton of money and many of the big markets seem willing and eager to pay.

SierraM363
1 year 7 months ago

Money shouldn’t be an issue for a team like Boston. Plus if you aren’t willing to spend for a 25 year old pitcher, who are you going to spend it on? We’re going to need pitching once Lackey, Peavy, and Dempster are gone.

1 year 7 months ago

Lackey’s got two more years and Peavy and Dempster are both easily replaceable.

Boston has a very expensive rotation as it is. The Sox already have one of the largest payrolls and would need to offer a pretty sizable contract to get Tanaka when all the other big money teams are also in the mix. The difference between them and the Red Sox is that they don’t need Tanaka and you generally don’t offer 9 figure deals to players you don’t need. They might need him later, but not in 2014.

SierraM363
1 year 7 months ago

We might not have the luxury of waiting. How often do you have pitchers of his caliber? We will soon have a 30 year old Lester, unreliable Buccholz, + Rooks in 2 years. It’s best we try and see if we can sign him. I’d rather not give up before the process even begins.

1 year 7 months ago

It almost doesn’t even matter if they try or not. There’s too many teams involved in this for the bidding war to result in anything that resembles a good contract which Larry and John Henry aren’t going to do anyway. There’s next to no chance that Tanaka signs with them regardless of whether or not they have him come to Boston for a Sam Adams and a Fenway Frank.

SierraM363
1 year 7 months ago

I haven’t heard them say anything definitive either way about Tanaka. It won’t hurt them to post the bid and talk with him. Worst case is we make the Yankees pay more. Best case, we get him to sign with us.

Vmmercan
1 year 7 months ago

Sherman’s article is misleading. In 2014, the Yankees need Kuroda and CC to be front-end arms and Nova to pitch well. They do not need Banuelos and Pineda to pitch at a high level since they will battle to solidify the fifth spot. All of this hinges, of course, on signing Tanaka, which Sherman implies.

As far as transitioning forward, yes, it would help. Tanaka, CC, Banuelos, Pineda and Nova could be five starters in 2015 going forward and it doesn’t even talk about Warren, Phelps, Nuno and the other five starter caliber arms. Still, it’s a little misleading to think all three of those guys need to pan out in 2014 for the Yankees to have a strong rotation. They really just need Nova to pitch well and one guy to pitch like a five starter,

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 7 months ago

Well Syd Thrift said Oriole money was like Confederate Money
Andy MacPhail said if they wanted someone they are going to have to acquire him in trade.
Dan Duquette said he was building through the draft, I just didn’t know it was going to be the Rule 5 draft! =P
So that pretty much encompasses all the GM’s since what 2000 or whatever.
Duquette and Showalter don’t appear to be in any hurry to change the status quo!
I really believe the O’s are not going to do a blessed thing! It’s over!

pmiller1129
1 year 7 months ago

All this speculation about Tanaka going to the AL East is vastly overblown. Word is that he doesnt want to travel that far back to Japan. So AL East teams are a no go. Plus they dont have any money unless they unload something big. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers are right up against the tax and cant really spend much at all. This is lining up to be a perfect storm for the Mariners and Diamondbacks who both have been reported to be interested. I think with Seattles Japan connection and proximity to Japan it has to be the favorite.

chris german
1 year 7 months ago

Yea I hear you, I’ve thought much the same myself. The thing is though, every time a high priced Japanese player is posted or becomes a free agent or whatever… The same teams are always connected to him, because they have money. Seattle likewise, is connected to every single Japanese player for the reasons you mentioned. True, they got Iwakuma and Ichiro, but they have never gone after Japanese players to the extent that everything thinks they should. Plus, now with their Japanese owner dead, I’m not sure the emphasis will be there as much. I also don’t really think they can afford him after the Cano deal, despite what anyone is saying.

So I’m not really sure where Tanaka will end up tbh, every team has their issues and as I’ve been saying, as a Yankee fan I believed all the hype about them and Darvish, we all know how that ended up with that embarrassing bid, so I’ll believe Tanaka when I see the press conference.

docmilo5
1 year 7 months ago

Seattle wasn’t paying more Japanese players big bucks because they had Suzuki taking $18 mill a year from them. Suzuki’s bloated contract is gone and the M’s bought a majority share of Root Sports. They have the money and are willing to spend on the right pieces. Tanaka fits that definition as did Cano.

RyanWKrol
1 year 7 months ago

The luxury tax has become more of a guideline than a rule for front offices of high market teams. It’s a threshold teams will use as a limit when assessing current guaranteed contracts as well as arbitration. But if the right player comes along that can help push a team further into contention, and keep fans in the seats, these high market franchises, including AL East teams, will go over that tax limit. The penalty is likely less than the posting fee for Tanaka and there’s a good chance the extra revenue from Japanese fans and added ticket sales, etc will cover that. Heck, the Dodgers, Angels, and Rangers can already cover pretty much their entire roster payroll from TV revenue alone, so for some organizations luxury tax may not be such a big deal as it’s made out to be.

WazBazbo
1 year 7 months ago

I very much agree with you. I use the Yankees often as examples because they’ve been over the threshold for many seasons now and are paying a high percentage, yet even with their hopes of staying under for a season to reset the clock, I think they realize that the financial benefits of putting a good team on the field outweigh the penalty of the luxury tax. I also think you make good points about added ticket revenues helping to offset a lot of the cost.

Jim01702
1 year 7 months ago

Tanaka has NOT STATED he only wants to play on the west coast. That supposely came from a friend of his. Also how many players have said they only want to play on a certain coast then play else where.

Also you’re wrong about the Yankees, Red Sox or dodgers don’t have the money to sign him. How don’t the Yankees have the money?? They have slot more than the mariners. Please get your facts checked

pmiller1129
1 year 7 months ago

Sorry super angry guy. My family is from Japan and from the Tohoku area where his current team plays. Thats what they tell me he is saying over there and his friends. They get the Japanese language baseball beat writers version of the story. Also, luxury tax has been an issue for the Yankees management which has stated their desire to stay under it and cant be denied. Which is the same for the Sox. Other than want vs need, the Dodgers don’t need him but may want him. But again they have a very top heavy payroll. So quit being so mad about wanting a new shiny toy and be happy with what you have. A PED 3rd basemen who is a shell to go along with a 40 something shortstop who is also a shell and a league average outfield and mediocre pitching staff. Go Yankees!!! 3rd place looks good on you.

1 year 7 months ago

I doubt your family has insider information that no sports writer could have access to.

The Yankees luxury tax concerns can be denied. They’re going to go past it anyway unless A-Rod is suspended for the whole year and/or if they sign a new pitcher.

chris german
1 year 7 months ago

I have no basis in fact for anything I’m going to say right now but… Is it possible Tanaka may feel that way due to the heavy Japanese presence on the West Coast? There are a lot more Japanese-Americans in Cali and Seattle than in NY. I don’t think there is a significant Japanese presence in NYC at all, not even in Queens which is considered kind of the center of Asian culture in our region. I doubt this really matters that much, as during the regular season he’s not going to be hanging out in the city a whole lot as you kind of said, but I’m just saying, it would probably be less of a culture shock to go to the West Coast.

LazerTown
1 year 7 months ago

Really?
Think about it. I think you are overblowing it. Japan is 10+ hours each way from Japan. Does he really have time to go to Japan for any amount of time during the baseball season even from Seattle, and that is even assuming he will be having home games on both ends.

Fact is that he will not be going back to Japan during the season. Is him adding a few extra hours to his flight a few times a year really that big a decider?

Sampsonite168
1 year 7 months ago

The Mets are a big market team not connected to Tanaka, but that’s an easy mistake to make since they don’t act like a big market team at all.

Junior Salazar
1 year 7 months ago

Mets do not act like a big market team

Junior Salazar
1 year 7 months ago

Oops only read half your comment

MilkMeMore
1 year 7 months ago

how odd i never understood before the dodger trade RS supposedly had no farm other than Will but after now they are rich. i dont follow them so someone elaborate please

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

they were rich at aa and below. a year and a half later that talent is up or on the way.

dmm1047
1 year 7 months ago

I think the Sox are making a big mistake by not being in on Tanaka. Lester will be in his final year and Buchholz is fragile. If they don’t get him, one of their division foes could get him. With him, the Sox could trade two starters for some decent minor leaguers.

John Cate
1 year 7 months ago

Why in the world would they want to do such a thing? First of all, Tanaka is no guarantee and he’s no Yu Darvish. There’s a huge difference between a pitcher who strikes out 12 men per nine innings in MLB and a pitcher who strikes out seven and a half per nine in NPB. Second, if one of the other teams in the division wants to take a $100MM gamble on a guy who’s probably a 3 or 4 starter in MLB, more power to them. If the Yankees do it, and push themselves deeper into a hole, all the better. And third, why in the h-e-double hockey sticks would a contending team coming off a World Series championship want to trade two of its starters for prospects so they can make room for another prospect (which is all Tanaka is at this point) who will cost them $100 million????

Shikikazu
1 year 7 months ago

Darvish averaged 8.9 K/9 in Japan and only had a K rate over 10 in Japan once while Tanaka averaged 8.5 K/9. Tanaka also walked less batters with a BB/9 of 1.9 to Darvish’s 2.4. Tanaka is less likely to have walk issues in the US because he pitches off his power fastball and will induce groundballs with his splitter, basically an improved Kuroda.

northsfbay
1 year 7 months ago

Some teams would have reservations of signing Tanaka at a high price. He has a lot of miles on his arm, he hasn’t faced top competition, he throws the splitter which puts a lot of wear on an arm. Japanese pitchers throw a lot of innings in high school, which is not recommended. Darvish or Dice K.

John Cate
1 year 7 months ago

Darvish’s strikeout rates have gone steadily up over the years, regardless of what league he’s been pitching in. Tanaka’s have dropped the last two years, and he was at 7.7 K/9 in 2013. Using their averages doesn’t tell anything like the actual story–especially since NPB introduced a dead ball since Darvish left. His “power fastball” is a straight fastball that MLB hitters will feast off of. He might not walk anyone, but it won’t matter if the hitters are depositing his pitches over the fence.

Pete
1 year 7 months ago

I get there are serious question marks in the Yankees’ rotation, and hence, their 2014 chances, but I wish MLBTR would stop linking to so many Sherman articles. Sherman has a history of bias against the current Yankee leadership of Steinbrenner, Cashman, and Girardi. This is not unusual amongst the very skeptical NYC sports media and fanbase. However, Sherman decried the playoff performance of the 2009 team that won it all, he has a personal feud going with Girardi, he has a history of bias.

Sherman is solid as a reporter, a good source of reliable information, and again, I am NOT saying that his concerns about the Yankees rotation are unfounded, but his columns about the Yankees are nearly always biased against the team (a stance many, if not most, of the New York Yankee fans enthusiastically endorse). Like Mike Lupica and Bill Madden, his columns are not objective. He will consistently take a negative stance toward the team.

A columnist is supposed to be subjective, I get that. But I like MLBTR as a reliable source of unbiased analysis on baseball news.

Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News, whom MLBTR also links to frequently, is a far better, and objective, source of Yankee analysis.

Berny Gabriel
1 year 7 months ago

Boston red sox should try to sign Nelson Cruz since ellsbury when to the Yankees.
Gomes,nava in left field— victorino in center field— and I hope Cruz could sign with Boston so he could play right field.

Cruz could bat 6 or 5 he could protect Ortiz or napoli…

1 year 7 months ago

They don’t want Victorino to play center because of health concerns. Cruz’s asking price would need to come down quite a bit as well.

Berny Gabriel
1 year 7 months ago

But listen victorino is probably going to healthy in 2014 so he could go back to his original position which is center also victorino could also bat first since ells is not with Boston and about the Cruz I think his asking for to much money but he could be an excellent hitter.

1 year 7 months ago

Victorino could play center because he’s probably going to be healthy? That’s not very sound logic.

John Cate
1 year 7 months ago

A 33-year-old steroid cheat who is below average defensively and was good for only 2.0 WAR in 2013? I’ll pass, and I’m sure Ben Cherington will, too. Plus he’s not good enough to “protect” greatly superior hitters, even if the myth of lineup protection was real, which it isn’t.

Berny Gabriel
1 year 7 months ago

I’m sure you haven’t see Cruz bat the man has power to protect papi and he didn’t use steroids he was using PEDs and that’s not steroids plus his a good hitter his not going to replace ells but with his power he could and I’m sure Boston are not going to take him but I’m saying that he could be a good addition to the red Sox line up when papi retires just saying.

John Cate
1 year 7 months ago

What rock have you been hiding under? PEDs stands for “Performance Enhancing Drugs.” That means steroids, HGH, or anything else that artificially improves athletic performance. Nelson Cruz is a cheater. And yes, I have seen him hit many times. He’s nothing special. He’s a middling power hitter who doesn’t get on base very much. Basically a younger version of Raul Ibanez.

Berny Gabriel
1 year 7 months ago

Well your trying to say that hes a cheater for using steroids well Ortiz use steroids long time ago and your telling Cruz don’t deserve another chance -__- and Cruz is one of the best power hitters in mlb I know he strikes out a lot but still his good!!

John Cate
1 year 7 months ago

We don’t know what Ortiz tested positive for in 2003. It might have been something that was still allowed by MLB at the time–several of the substances they tested for were still legal. And no one else has ever come forward and said they saw or know of him using steroids or HGH. His name was nowhere to be found in the Mitchell Report.

And no, I’m not saying Cruz doesn’t deserve another chance. He did his time and then came back for the playoffs, which was fine. I’m just saying he has no place on the Boston Red Sox.

John Murray
1 year 7 months ago

They’ve got enough depth. Nava isn’t brilliant in center to say the least, but he could play there passably if Bradley struggles, or if they decide to platoon him early in the year. With Carp and Gomes to take care of left, and Victorino in right, the outfield is fine. Working in young players takes patience and commitment. We won a championship; if it means that we have to struggle a bit in 2014 to work them in, then I think that’s wise for the long haul. There are plenty of character players on the roster, and some substantial pitching depth, that will keep us in games all year long. Adding Cruz is a waste of money. We’re going to need to resign Lester after 2014, and that’s where the money needs to go.

asdf asdf
1 year 7 months ago

That’s his real name. “Manny” is a nickname