Tanaka & Yankees Notes: Workload, A-Rod

Masahiro Tanaka's workload is a serious concern, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan writes. In the past five seasons, while pitching mostly in his early 20s, Tanaka has averaged more than 113 pitches per start, more than any pitcher in the U.S. big leagues during that period. MLB executives adore Tanaka's stuff (and, presumably, the results he's gotten in Japan), however, so they ignore warning signs about his pitch count. Those pitch counts don't mean it's certain that Tanaka will fall apart once he signs a big contract, of course — Passan points out that Yu Darvish also had an intense workload in Japan, and he's done just fine in the states. Here's more on Tanaka and the Yankees.

  • The Yankees' offseason has been characterized by a need to wait for Alex Rodriguez and for Tanaka, writes NJ.com's Brendan Kuty. A decision on the status of Rodriguez's appeal could soon arrive, and once the Yankees know, they'll have a much clearer idea of their 2014 budget. That, in turn, will help clarify their pursuit of Tanaka.
  • If the Yankees sign Tanaka, they'll go past the $189MM luxury-tax threshold regardless of what happens with Rodriguez, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes. In the previous two offseasons, the Yankees "operated as if they were in luxury-tax jail," passing even on the relatively inexpensive Russell Martin and avoiding big-ticket players like Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton. Now, after missing the playoffs with an injury-riddled roster in 2013, the Yankees appear prepared to exceed the $189MM threshold. They need Tanaka "desperately," given their current rotation.
  • MLB teams' pursuit of Tanaka will be "insane," writes FanGraphs' Tony Blengino. Not only is Tanaka an excellent pitcher, he's only 25, which means he could be a better investment than most free agents, who are older. Also, unlike other Japanese talents, he's essentially a free agent. He doesn't have to deal with the posting system from previous years, in which Japanese teams, rather the players, reaped the benefits of the free market. Finally, teams have plenty of money to spend.

58 Responses to Tanaka & Yankees Notes: Workload, A-Rod Leave a Reply

  1. Jim01702 2 years ago

    Cashman get it done and sign him.

    • hediouspb 2 years ago

      No. Get under the cap.

      • MB923 2 years ago

        I heard that can”t happen unless A-Rod is suspended for the whole year. Even if Tanaka went elsewhere, the Yankees still wouldn’t be under the cap if A-Rod is not suspended.

        • Cubstein 2 years ago

          Right now even if A-Rod doesn’t get suspended they are projected to be right at the limit (I think about 190 Mil, Cap is 189). So even if he’s suspended for a very short period, they’d still be able to stay under assuming they did nothing else this off-season.

  2. Karkat 2 years ago

    Wow, so the Yankees won’t stay under the 189 million threshold that they talked endlessly about? Who ever could have seen this coming? Except possibly everyone.

    • hardcoreforhardcore 2 years ago

      As a Yankee fan, knowing it was going to happen was about as insulting as it gets.

      • Terry Hudson 2 years ago

        Why? The yankees were one of a few teams dishing out money (+20million) which was going directly to their competitors to get better. They spend that money on player development and now the yankees are light years behind the competition as far as player development is concerned which is no way to be competitive in the long run. Resetting that tax would help the yanks and it was a good idea until the loss of revenue of declining attendance and not making the playoffs was calculated. Its actually worse for business to be bad than it is to give away money to your competition. If they had been able to get to the playoffs and get under 189 that wouldve been a feat!

        • hardcoreforhardcore 2 years ago

          Because you knew they weren’t going to stick to that plan when the team performed poorly, people stopped showing up to the ballpark, and ratings declined. As far as player development is concerned, I don’t have the confidence in this organization in its current state to be able to actually develop any young talent. The way they went about it trying to get under the 189 last year was so egregious it was ridiculous. Every 1 year contract screamed “we have no intention of trying to contend this year.” That’s insulting.

          • Terry Hudson 2 years ago

            See I didnt think the team was going to perform poorly. They made the playoffs in 2012, specifically the ALCS, which is great and they signed a nice one year contract in Ibanez. That doesnt sound like desperation. I think the one year desperation contracts were more because of injuries than the desire to get under 189 mil. Please dont forget the crazy rash of injuries the yanks had to endure in 2013! But I do agree that their player development personnel have to go! I thought they were going to follow through with that this year but changed their minds.

        • Remember92 2 years ago

          The only playoff team this year to pay the luxury tax was the Dodgers. So, I’m not sure how big of a feat it would be to stay under and make the playoffs. Once A Rod and his contract are gone, maybe then it will seem more realistic as long as the bosses don’t panic.

          • LazerTown 2 years ago

            But the thing is that most other teams do not have the record the Yankees have, even if we label them a success.

            Most of these so called well run teams make it to the playoffs 2-3 times every 5 years. Yankees are in there almost every year.

            It certainly is possible to be competitive, but if they want to cut it down to the other team’s level they won’t be in the playoffs every year like they accustomed to.

          • Remember92 2 years ago

            Granted, their payroll flexibility is “somewhat” of an advantage. But the Giants, Cardinals, Rays, and A’s have pretty good track records at a fraction of the Yankees payroll. Those clubs also put a premium on player development versus checkbook development. So, even though they are still competitive in today’s game. The jury is still out in my opinion until they win another World Series without Big George there writing the checks. Minus the A Rod deal, he may have spent a ton, but very few of his contracts blew up in their face. Not sure he gets enough credit for what he did behind the scenes when he was alive and running the show.

          • LazerTown 2 years ago

            The A’s who have been to the playoffs 2 times in past 7 years.

            The Cards who while are decent now, would not have even won their past 2 ws if they were in the Yankees division, because a 90 and an 83 win team would have been meaningless in the AL East.
            Etc, Etc.

            I’m not saying these teams are run badly, I’m just sick of hearing people say that these teams are doing better than the Yankees and they have half the payroll. It simply is not true.

            They have only won 1 WS in past 5 years, and that puts them better than 26 other teams.

            They have gone to the playoffs 4 of the past 5 years, which puts them ahead of every single other team in baseball except the Cards, who are tied.

            RS has been near top in payroll yet only twice in playoffs last 5 years.

            Yankees really outspend, but their results show that they are a decently well run organization.

          • Remember92 2 years ago

            Not saying they’re run “poorly” by any means. But 190-225 million gives you the ability to make a mistake or two and not cripple your franchise. Realistically, they extended the worst contract in MLB history. Yet, they have been in on every major free agent this off season as well as most since A Rods contract has become an albatross. But when George and Torre were there together, the money was spent, but they still built a “team” versus a bunch of free agent all stars. But with fewer premiere players making it to free agency. One would have to think their model may need to change at least a little. Cutch would’ve been a Yankee had he gotten to the open market. Most likely Alvarez’s jersey is being made for a couple years from now. And Trout is a no brainer if he hits the open market. But in order for their model to still work, the players have to want to test the market. Or just hire Boras as their agent. But for me to be sold on their current regime, they need to win a WS without George and Joe T

          • Ace 2 years ago

            Only the Giants and Cardinals can say they have succeeded by the hands of their player development. Every other team that has won the World Series in the past 10 years (and 12 of last 13 except for Marlins) has done it via free Agency. If the Yankees going to charge insane ticket prices, they better invest it in obtaining players. Yankees fans have no interest in waiting 3-4 years for rookies to develop while we reside in last place…

        • John Donovan 2 years ago

          The Yankees don’t have to worry so much about player development. They can just buy already developed players in free agency.

          • MB923 2 years ago

            Well welcome to the club of giving out a long term contract that will surely backfire you (Cano going to your Mariners).

          • Brandon Cantero 2 years ago

            Isn’t John Donovan is a Rockies fan?

          • Terry Hudson 2 years ago

            Those days are long gone. Less and less premier free agents are even hitting the market, making it tougher and tougher to land them. The premier players are trending towards long term, “affordable” extentions a year early rather than waiting it out and worrying about where they are going next. Times are changing. Albatross contracts are becoming less and less frequent across the board and while this is good for baseball its bad if your business model is buy free agents like how it is for my yanks.

    • Pawel 2 years ago

      189 mill wasn’t a priority, it was just a goal…….the Yankees will do whatever it takes to win nobody wants their team to be cheap

      • ColoredPaper 2 years ago

        *cough* Jeff Loria *cough*

        Not that hard to forget about him.

      • stl_cards16 2 years ago

        They had the chance to be a lot better last year but only went after guys with contracts set to expire soon so they could get under the $189MM. I wouldn’t say they did whatever it took.

        • Pawel 2 years ago

          The Yankees had a very high salary a year ago, and they didn’t have the flexibility to make any signings and anyways the FA class a year ago wasn’t all that good, except for Josh Hamilton & Greinke and the Yankees did get Wells & Soriano and still won 84 games with the most injuries in the league

  3. “MLB could soon make a decision on the status of Rodriguez’s appeal.”

    That doesn’t make a whit of sense.

  4. SID PORTER 2 years ago

    Thank God, we missed out on Hamiliton

  5. Since_77 2 years ago

    The Yankees concerned about pitch counts of young starters?
    That theory did not work out well for Joba & Hughes.

  6. Mike1L 2 years ago

    I don’t think the A-Rod thing is going to end soon. Unless the arbitrator overturns the commissioner’s ruling in full, A-Rod is going to run to Federal Court (he’s already there anyway) to get a injunction, claiming irreparable harm. Even if he doesn’t get an injunction (arbitration clauses are usually upheld) he will likely still be able to continue his other suits. I just don’t see this ending cleanly.

  7. Remember92 2 years ago

    Just get him over here for a press conference and put him in pinstripes already. I just don’t see how Cashman will let anyone outbid him for his most glaring need at this point. Then, if Pineda would somehow finds himself again, the Yanks could be in business. Being a Pirate fan, I would like to have one offseason with the budget and expectations of a Yanks fan. It is Christmas time so one can only wish. Darn you Santa!!!

  8. The problem with Tanaka and the Yankees is that they need him to be an ace immediately with so few dependable pitchers on their staff and a decrepit infield. He’s better off on basically every other viable team that has other top of the rotation starters (LAA, LAD, SEA) or won’t contend in 2014 (CHC, HOU). There’s very little guarantee that he’ll be 2013 Tanaka immediately and that’s kinda what the Yankees need.

    • MB923 2 years ago

      That would be if CC is terrible again. If CC bounces back, which is as possible if not more possible than being sub-par, the won’t need Tanaka to be a #1 pitcher. Kuroda while old, has been excellent every year in the bigs (except the last month or 2 of the season the last 2 years).

      To me, it relies more so on CC than Tanaka. Not that Tanaka, if he went to the Yankees, wouldn’t play a huge part, but if CC struggles again, then that’s a huge problem.

      • I agree, but where CC bounces back to is also important. Is he realistically going to be ace CC? He can probably be an effective number 2-3 type pitcher moving forward, but they also need to replace Pettite.

        I look at what the Red Sox did with a rotation filled with very good, but not certainly not elite pitchers at least over the course of the regular season and think that it’s possible for the Yankees to get by without a true ace. But their rotation looks like it will be filled with far too many problems than Tanaka or even CC could fix.

        • MB923 2 years ago

          If they get Tanaka, CC-Tanaka-Kuroda-Nova could be a very strong front 4.

          Keywords are If and Could though.

          Basically it’s Tanaka replacing Pettitte and a 5th spot starter (Phelps, Warren) replacing Hughes. Nova and Kuroda still in rotation. The main question is Sabathia.

          • GD 2 years ago

            Thats a pretty big Question!

          • MB923 2 years ago

            Pun intended for CC being a pretty big question?

          • Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

            any rotation without Phil Hughes has the potential to be strong. He lost almost every single game he pitched in the second half

  9. burnboll 2 years ago

    Tanaka, like other Japanese pitchers, have been pitching out of a 6 man rotation.
    Maybe MLB teams should explore if one more rest day is more optimal for pitchers to recover between starts.

    • Rizzo44 2 years ago

      First mlb teams need to stop babying the pitchers , if a guy us pitching a shut out through 6 1/3 with only 85 pitches thrown let him finish .

  10. RC23 2 years ago

    Tanaka is going to be a rich man.

    • MB923 2 years ago

      Almost every baseball player is…..except the best one in the game who makes slightly above MLB minimum wage.

      • RC23 2 years ago

        well, just really really really rich for a guy who’s never thrown a pitch in the majors before.

      • John Donovan 2 years ago

        So $500k a year does not make you rich? Maybe I need to work where you work.

        • MB923 2 years ago

          $500k a year as a baseball player isn’t a lot of $ anymore. For your average human being like you and I, that would make us very rich

          • John Donovan 2 years ago

            Baseball players ARE the average human being. They still have to eat, sleep, pay for shelter, and drink 8 glasses of water a day just like the rest of us. $500,000 a year is still a lot of money for an entry level salary in ANY profession.

            Besides in 10 years everyone will talking about Mike Trout being one of the most overpaid players because he will be making $40 million a year and will be outperformed by the next big thing. Remember at one time Alex Rodriguez was vastly underpaid for his contributions.

          • MB923 2 years ago

            “Baseball players ARE the average human being. They still have to eat,
            sleep, pay for shelter, and drink 8 glasses of water a day just like the
            rest of us. $500,000 a year is still a lot of money for an entry level
            salary in ANY profession.”


          • bamf9 2 years ago

            Their careers are shorter though. 500 thousand a year for say 5 years is 2.5 million that has to Iast a lifetime.

          • MB923 2 years ago

            Oyyy, nevermind. My point is, one of if not the best player in the game is the most underpaid player in the game.

          • John Donovan 2 years ago

            Why does that have to last a lifetime? At what point did we decide that playing baseball for 5 years means you never have to work again for the rest of your life? It’s called getting a job and doing that with a $2.5 million dollar starting point is a lot better than most people.

          • es7128 2 years ago

            Divide that 2.5mil by 20 years and it’s still enough to be in the top 10%.

          • John Donovan 2 years ago

            My point was that they live in the same country as us and have the same basic expenses as us. Everything above that is nothing but luxury. Sure Mike Trout can’t get his own private plane or mansion for another few years. I’ll make sure to add him to my prayer list tonight.

          • MB923 2 years ago

            ” Sure Mike Trout can’t get his own private plane or mansion for another few years.. I’ll make sure to add him to my prayer list tonight.”

            LOL nice one.

  11. Pennsy 2 years ago

    Would you bet that Tanaka will or won’t end up on a team paying the luxury tax in 2014?

  12. bamf9 2 years ago

    The Yankees could have possibly gotten under the cap if some of our prospects turned out well. For example, our rotation would be set if Pineda and Banuelos didn’t get hurt and they’d be super cheap. We’d have sabathia, nova, Pineda, Banuelos, an internal 5th starter saving us kurodas salary and whatever fee agents we sign.

  13. Robb Logan 2 years ago

    The whole issue with pitch count is pointless to me. It appears more pitchers have sustained injuries since teams began babying them than the days of a guy like Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan etc who very rarely had an issue with arms/shoulders/elbows. It has become a bad thing in my eyes to baby men. If he can pitch just let him. With all the cash flow into the game these days it should be no issue with the money being spent on these men.

  14. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    I only skimmed the article but how could you say that the Yankees would definitely surpass the threshold if they sign Tanaka, even if A-Rod is suspended? A-Rod is slated to make $25M. Doesn’t that mean that the Yankees have a $25M cushion to play with if he gets suspended (I guess, depending on if they are under the threshold with A-Rod playing a full season)?

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