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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees agree to seven-year, $155 million deal - ESPN New York

What a great deal for Tanaka. If he stinks he gets $155 million and if he lives up to expectations of many he gets an even bigger contract in four years.

Masahiro Tanaka has decided to sign with the New York Yankees, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Tanaka’s deal with the Yankees is worth $155 million over seven years and includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year, according to the source.

Tanaka’s agreement with the Yankees was earlier reported by Fox Sports.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:32 AM | 116 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agents, japanese baseball, masahiro tanaka, yankees

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4644088)
Yeah... I act surprised.

Of particular note is that the contract is almost spot-on what I predicted, which probably has never had it before. I had him down at 7/160 with a 3-year player option, as I'd posted to several threads. The day is mine!
   2. sinicalypse Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4644091)
so the cubs managed to convince their fanbase that they were "all in" for "the right guy" yet they don't have to spend a penny? i think that counts as a win for theo/jed and the creepy ricketts clan.
   3. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4644094)
Obligatory: "Booooooooooo."
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4644098)
My opinion on this contract is the same as my opinion on Clayton Kershaw's: I would never, ever, ever give a pitcher a multiyear player option.
   5. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4644100)
so the cubs managed to convince their fanbase that they were "all in" for "the right guy" yet they don't have to spend a penny? i think that counts as a win for theo/jed and the creepy ricketts clan.


I suspect the Cubs offered something like $200 million for 10 years with no opt-out. So they offered the biggest contract, but not necessarily the best one.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4644102)
I would never, ever, ever give a pitcher a multiyear player option.


Why not? There is a really good chance that Tanaka/Kershaw will be excellent during the pre-option portion of the deal, opt out, then go pfffft in their next deal. I'm not declaring CC done or anything but Sabathia had a 138 ERA+ in his 3 pre-option seasons and so far has a 101 ERA+ in the 2 seasons after the option.
   7. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4644103)
He'll love that infield!
   8. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4644106)
There is a really good chance Tanaka will either blow his arm out or just not be very good, in which case you're on the hook for 7 years. If everything breaks right and he is good, you only get him for five. There is no reason to let him have his cake and eat it. He can assume the risk of not being worth his money and take the shorter contract, or he can trade the risk of being worth far more for some security and take a longer contract.

Obviously in the current market this means I simply will never be signing or extending an elite pitcher. I'm okay with that. I'm convinced it's a very bad value proposition.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4644107)
I would never, ever, ever give a pitcher a multiyear player option.


They're the Yankees. They can afford it.
   10. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4644108)
So they are over the cap now, right? Do people think they'll let it be, or is a salary dump still coming?
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4644111)
The value of the opt-out depends on whether the contract is backloaded.
   12. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4644114)
Welp there goes my secret plan to actually put a competitive team on the field in 2015
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4644118)
If everything breaks right and he is good, you only get him for five. There is no reason to let him have his cake and eat it.


Well presumably the Yankees are paying less AAV than they would be absent the opt-out, so he doesn't get to have all his cake.
   14. Swoboda is freedom Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4644119)
So they are over the cap now, right? Do people think they'll let it be, or is a salary dump still coming?

Who will take Jeter and A-Rod?
   15. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4644120)
So, 7/175 including the posting fee? Wowzers.
   16. GregD Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4644123)
If they're going to blow through the cap, why didn't they keep Cano?
   17. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4644127)
Chicago Cubs attendance (millions):

2008: 3.300
2009: 3.168
2010: 3.062
2011: 3.017
2012: 2.882
2013: 2.642

Tanaka might legitimately be worth $20 million to the Cubs' bottom line this year.
   18. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4644128)
Because the contract the Mariners gave him is so batshit insane that even the Yankees balked at it.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4644129)
If they're going to blow through the cap, why didn't they keep Cano?


Maybe they really like what Brian Roberts can do.
   20. Rough Carrigan Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4644139)
He can do the same thing that Carl Pavano did for them.
   21. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4644140)
If they're going to blow through the cap, why didn't they keep Cano?


They offered a higher AAV than Seattle -- the $189 million had nothing to do with their offer. Cano wanted his age 38-40 seasons included at that price, and the Yankees had no interest in locking themselves into Cano's crap years at a premium price.
   22. Baseball Mogul 2003 Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4644146)
He can do the same thing that Carl Pavano did for them.
Baseball needs more pitchers like Carl Pavano.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4644147)
Tanaka’s deal with the Yankees is worth $155 million over seven years and includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year, according to the source.


The Yankees should have let CC walk away when his opt-out was up.
   24. gehrig97 Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4644149)
Wow--that Darvish contract is looking spectacular right now.

Also: The Yanks are, as of this writing, over the Cap. Olney and the AP has them at $203.
   25. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4644150)
The Yankees should have let CC walk away when his opt-out was up.


Rodriguez too. Opt-outs are nutty.
   26. KronicFatigue Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4644154)
Well presumably the Yankees are paying less AAV than they would be absent the opt-out, so he doesn't get to have all his cake.


I feel like this part is often under appreciated when people balk at player opt-outs. If the player wants one, it stands to reason he had to negotiate for it. If Tanaka blows his arm out on day 1, the Yankees are screwed in both contracts, but they're less screwed because of the lower AAV. If Tanaka is lights out awesome in the first 4 years, then the Yankees lose out on the back-end 3. BUT, they would have at least gotten over-value for him in the first four.

Both sides are mitigating their risk and it's impossible to judge one part of a contract without knowing how the other elements were altered to account for it.
   27. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4644157)
They offered a higher AAV than Seattle -- the $189 million had nothing to do with their offer. Cano wanted his age 38-40 seasons included at that price, and the Yankees had no interest in locking themselves into Cano's crap years at a premium price.

IIRC, the Yankees never budged one cent from $175M and seven years. Surely, there could have been at minimum a superficial effort to bridge that gap.
   28. Hack Wilson Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4644162)
I suspect the Cubs offered something like $200 million for 10 years with no opt-out. So they offered the biggest contract, but not necessarily the best one.


I always assumed that the Cubs offer would always be 5% less than the highest offer Tanaka would receive. And Theo/Ricketts will now claim that they tried.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4644164)
From mlbtraderumors: 9:26am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Tanaka will earn $22MM in each season of the contract except the final season, when his salary will jump to $23MM.
   30. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4644166)
IIRC, the Yankees never budged one cent from $175M and seven years. Surely, there could have been at minimum a superficial effort to bridge that gap.
But again, it has nothing to do with the $189 million number. Apparently the number Cano would have signed for was $230/10 -- which would be $2 million a year less against the tax than the Yankees offered. They didn't re-sign Cano because they didn't want to give him 10 years, not because of the tax.
   31. JRVJ Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4644170)
I read somewhere a few weeks back that the amounts that the Yankees lost in attendance revenue was SUSTANTIAL (something along the lines of $50MM per year). Which explains their saying: "salary cap, yeah, whatever".

I look at this contract from that standpoint.

In any case, no reason why they shouldn't just go all in and sign Stephen Drew, play him at 3B for a year (or SS when Jeter is out due to injury or rest). In 2015, he's their regular SS.
   32. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4644183)
With any luck, Tanaka's Yankee career will follow the Michael Pineda path.
   33. Transmission Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4644188)
I like having a team to root against. Probably as much as Yankee fans enjoy being the team that other fans root against. Beyond that, I can't gripe about a player making the choice that seems best to him. Is it opening day yet?
   34. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4644194)
Wow--that Darvish contract is looking spectacular right now.

Heck, it looked pretty good then.
   35. Fat Al Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4644196)
With any luck, Tanaka's Yankee career will follow the Michael Pineda path.


Classy.
   36. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4644201)
Gee, I never would have guessed that Tanaka would go to the Yankees. I really really hope that ARod wins his lawsuit.
   37. Bitter Calculus Instructor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4644202)
Kasten couldn't beat that?! That's the problem with accepting awful contracts like Becket and Crawford. When someone good comes along the payroll is used up. Sigh.
   38. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4644203)
Regarding the opt out. Under normal rules, after 4 years a player is not a free agent, but merely eligible for arbitration. I suppose there is some language in the contract superseding this, but is that even legal?
   39. McCoy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4644207)
Regarding the opt out. Under normal rules, after 4 years a player is not a free agent, but merely eligible for arbitration. I suppose there is some language in the contract superseding this, but is that even legal?

Yes. Matsui and I believe Fukudome got to do it.
   40. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4644209)
Regarding the opt out. Under normal rules, after 4 years a player is not a free agent, but merely eligible for arbitration. I suppose there is some language in the contract superseding this, but is that even legal?


Usually there is language in the contract prohibiting the team from offering the player arbitration -- that's what Hideki Matsui had in his contract.
   41. Lassus Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4644210)
With any luck, Tanaka's Yankee career will follow the Michael Pineda path.

OOC, what IS going on with Pineda? Is he done? I haven't been paying attention.
   42. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4644212)
With any luck, Tanaka's Yankee career will follow the Michael Pineda path.

Classy.


You don't understand, Tanaka signed with a team he doesn't like. Why shouldn't he be subject to horrific injuries for such a sin?

For my part I wish Tanaka and Pineda both great success in 2014, and the same holds true for Robinson Cano. That's the difference in mindset between a winner and a hateful loser - I want everyone to do well, and for the Yankees to do just a bit better. Losers want to see people fail.
   43. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4644217)
The Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Astros were reportedly the other bidders.
   44. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4644220)
OOC, what IS going on with Pineda? Is he basically done?


No, he's expected to compete for a spot in the rotation this year. He looked good in the minors last year, but they shut him down after he started feeling shoulder tightness.
   45. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4644227)
I read somewhere a few weeks back that the amounts that the Yankees lost in attendance revenue was SUSTANTIAL (something along the lines of $50MM per year). Which explains their saying: "salary cap, yeah, whatever".

I look at this contract from that standpoint.


That's probably the best way to look at it. Even if Tanaka's all that he's made out to be, that still leaves the other 4 spots occupied by a 39 year old starter with a 6.56 ERA in his final 8 starts of 2012, a 33 year old workhorse coming off a 4.78 ERA, and a 26 year old coming off an impressive partial season.

Wait, that's only 3. What am I leaving out?

Oh, yeah: Michael Pineda and David Phelps, the 21st century version of a bunion and an onion. And with a Mo-depleted bullpen in reserve.

They'll be a lot more interesting than last year's overachievers, but if they don't start rebuilding their farm system it's going to be a long decade by Yankee standards.
   46. Fat Al Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4644232)
They'll be a lot more interesting than last year's overachievers, but if they don't start rebuilding their farm system it's going to be a long decade by Yankee standards.


I agree with this take. As a fan, I'll take interesting (what choice do I have), but I would have preferred something that looked more like an actual plan.
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4644247)
I agree with this take. As a fan, I'll take interesting (what choice do I have), but I would have preferred something that looked more like an actual plan.

I'll say this: Their offseason signings of Tanaka, Ellsbury and Beltran will at least get me to re-up my Extra Innings package. But I hope the next contract they sign is with a time machine that goes back to about 2009.
   48. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4644251)
Opt-outs are nutty.

No they're not. They shift risk around in a way that benefits the player, to be sure, but that's what happens in negotiations - the team has to give up something to get something it wants. If the Yankees had refused to include an opt-out and another team like the Dodgers or Cubs had been prepared to include it, the Yankees would presumably have had to make up the value to Tanaka by offering a significantly higher AAV.
   49. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4644254)
I'm just relieved he didn't sign with an AL West team.

Given the Yankees financial resources, I don't see how this is anything but good for them. Hope he has a nice career.
   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4644257)
And with a Mo-depleted bullpen in reserve.


He retired?
   51. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4644261)
I'd bet the under on Pineda winning another 15 games in the major leagues.
   52. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4644270)
I hope Tanaka and/or his camp elucidate (or at least give it some lip service) to his though process. All things being equal, the Dodgers seem like a better destination -- better team, closer flights home, more Japanese culture -- but perhaps the allure of the "Yankees Way" and the bright lights of NYC didn't make things equal in his mind. Perhaps the Dodgers were just unwilling to offer the opt out or a higher AAV than the Yankees and then of course the most important thing wouldn't be equal.

This seems a pretty serious blow to the to Cubs given what #17 posted above.
   53. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4644278)
What's the opposite of Sour Grapes? Cause that's the vibe I'm getting from RSN.

"HAHA! Enjoy those delicious, expensive grapes Yankees! You guys are so screwed finance-wise!"
   54. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4644287)
The Yankees are arguably in their weakest competitive position since pre-1995. The Red Sox and Rays are in strong positions for the next few years, Detroit, Oakland, Texas...the Yankees have to play well to get back to their automatic playoff team mode.

Their farm system is weak. They are extremely old at the major league level. They have to deal with luxury tax issues (even if they ignore the threshold, they still have to decide to do so...). This is not a team on the way up, in a market that is not patient.

So, they need some starting pitching, pronto - where are they supposed to get it?

Could they trade for it? They lack the depth of prospects needed to do so, at least without completing the depletion of their cupboard. Besdies, they did try it a few years ago, trading one of their best prospects for Michael Pineda - and that trade showed the risk in trading for young pitching.

Could they sign it via FA? Sure...if there was any of it on the market. Who was the best starter on the market this off-season? Ervin Santana? That's not solving the problem. What about next off-season? You've got Scherzer, Shields, Lester, Masterson, and Homer Bailey.

If you want an elite starter, this is about the only way to do it quickly. I hate the Yankees...but good for them. They have to go for it.
   55. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4644300)
This is a good move, but the infield still looks putrid. They could still finish below .500
   56. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4644303)
I hope Tanaka and/or his camp elucidate (or at least give it some lip service) to his though process. All things being equal, the Dodgers seem like a better destination -- better team, closer flights home, more Japanese culture -- but perhaps the allure of the "Yankees Way" and the bright lights of NYC didn't make things equal in his mind. Perhaps the Dodgers were just unwilling to offer the opt out or a higher AAV than the Yankees and then of course the most important thing wouldn't be equal.

This seems a pretty serious blow to the to Cubs given what #17 posted above.


I'm guessing the Yankees offered the most money.
   57. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4644304)
I hate the Yankees...but good for them. They have to go for it.


Exactly my feelings. Red Sox won the WS in 2013. If the Yanks pull a 2009, good for them. But I see it as replacing the engine in a rapidly rusting down car.
   58. Swedish Chef Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4644320)
I'm guessing the Yankees offered the most money.

But why didn't the Dodgers spend like usual then? Did their dumptrucks with cash get snarled in traffic?
   59. Brian Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4644370)
Their farm system is weak


I'm a Yankee fan and this doesn't even begin to describe how bad the farm system looks right now. Every "name" prospect disappointed in 2013. They need to fix the drafting/developing operation now.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4644376)
What's the opposite of Sour Grapes? Cause that's the vibe I'm getting from RSN.

"HAHA! Enjoy those delicious, expensive grapes Yankees! You guys are so screwed finance-wise!"


Haven't they realized by now that the Yankees have effectively no budgetary constraints?
   61. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4644378)
I'm stupidly optimistic, so I guess I expected the Cubs to get this done and make up for an unremarkable off-season. Guess not.
   62. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4644394)
Why not? There is a really good chance that Tanaka/Kershaw will be excellent during the pre-option portion of the deal, opt out, then go pfffft in their next deal. I'm not declaring CC done or anything but Sabathia had a 138 ERA+ in his 3 pre-option seasons and so far has a 101 ERA+ in the 2 seasons after the option.


If Tanaka has 4 stellar seasons he will opt out.

If he sucks, or starts well then steadily declines as his heavy historical usage wears down that arm, or blows his arm out, he won't.

So the Yankees get stellar Tanaka for 4 years $88M, or terrible Tanaka for $155m 7 years.

They offered a higher AAV than Seattle -- the $189 million had nothing to do with their offer. Cano wanted his age 38-40 seasons included at that price, and the Yankees had no interest in locking themselves into Cano's crap years at a premium price.


It's clear they lowballed him, if they offered 7 years $190m or $210/8 years they probably keep him, and based on spending since it's clear they could afford it and they need him.

And they just bought Tanaka's crap years for $70m so it's not a great argument for not re-signing your own future HOF player.
   63. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4644395)
I'm guessing the Yankees offered the most money.


As am I, but would be nice to get a little more info. Maybe some of the other offers will leak. Epstein could do himself a solid leaking his offer if it matched or was even slightly better than the Yanks'.

It's clear they lowballed him


Yep, and if they had resigned him, ####, they'd have a pretty damn good team this year.
   64. dr. scott Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4644406)
If Tanaka is lights out awesome in the first 4 years, then the Yankees lose out on the back-end 3.


Technically he has to be lights out for the first 4 years, opt out, and be really good the next three year for the yanks to lose out. As people mentioned about C.C. if he opted out then someone else would have overpaid for his services. the likely hood of a pitcher being great for 7 years is not high, but it may be high that they are great for 4 years and not afterwards. Or great enough that someone will take the risk away from the Yanks for the final 3 years.
   65. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4644413)
So the Yankees get stellar Tanaka for 4 years $88M, or terrible Tanaka for $155m 7 years.


No. There are lots of in between possibilities too.
   66. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4644423)
So the Yankees get stellar Tanaka for 4 years $88M, or terrible Tanaka for $155m 7 years.

Kind of. The Yankees actually get stellar Tanaka for 4 years, $108M, because of the fee paid to Rakuten.
   67. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4644425)
All of this makes it insane that the Yankees didn't resign Cano. 10/240 for a proven 7 WAR player, or 4/108 for a roll of the dice (let's be really nice and say he's a 5 WAR pitcher). Do not get it at all, and I'm a Mets fan.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4644454)
All of this makes it insane that the Yankees didn't resign Cano. 10/240 for a proven 7 WAR player, or 4/108 for a roll of the dice (let's be really nice and say he's a 5 WAR pitcher). Do not get it at all, and I'm a Mets fan.

The answer is one guy is 25 and one is 31. The Yankees already got the best years of Cano. He's not going to be even close to a 7 WAR player over the next 10 years, or even 5.
   69. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4644470)
If Tanaka opts out after four years, that also means that the Yankees almost certainly got more than $22 million/year out of value from him in those four years.

And also, if he's good enough to opt out after four years, the Yankees will probably throw the monster contract at him anyway before the opt out, like they did with Sabathia.

The alternative to the opt out isn't 7 years/$155 million with no opt out, it's 7 years/MORE than $155 million with no opt out.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4644479)
So the Yankees picked up these hitters this offseason:

Age
30 McCann 
$17m
   Ellsbury 
$21m
31 McCann 
$17m
   Ellsbury 
$21m 
32 McCann 
$17m
   Ellsbury 
$21m
33 McCann 
$17m
   Ellsbury 
$21m
34 McCann 
$17m
   Ellsbury 
$21m
35 Ellsbury 
$21m
36 Ellsbury 
$21m
37 Ellsbury 
$21m
   Beltran 
$15m
38 Beltran 
$15m
39 Beltran 
$15m 

They’re also paying for 30s players Sabathia, Teixeira, Soriano, Jeter, and maybe ARod starting again in 2015.

And then you have Tanaka, to whatever degree he is an unknown.

That’s a lot of salary, a chunk of which will go bust because players in their 30s decline as a group and pitchers - even if you have a good handle on them - are inherently injury prone.
   71. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4644483)
Four years is a long time for a MLB pitcher. No reason for the Yankees to worry about the opt-out now. There are all kinds of scenarios, some favorable, some not, but the Yankees are filling a current top-of-the-rotation opening at reasonable cost & risk. Not cheap, but reasonable. If Tanaka opts out, the Yankees might have better options, but if they want to keep him there will only be a few teams bidding.
   72. TerpNats Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4644485)
As a Nationals fan, I'm simply glad he won't be in the National League.

Agree with the earlier post that the Bosox and Rays remain the teams to beat in the AL East, but the Yanks should at least be on the periphery of the race. Their problem is that much of the roster remains past its prime...and with Tanaka, there remains a danger pitching all those innings in the Pacific League could take its toll sooner than later.

A question: Did Tanaka ever face Darvish in NPB?
   73. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4644491)
Opt-outs are nutty.

No they're not. They shift risk around in a way that benefits the player, to be sure, but that's what happens in negotiations - the team has to give up something to get something it wants. If the Yankees had refused to include an opt-out and another team like the Dodgers or Cubs had been prepared to include it, the Yankees would presumably have had to make up the value to Tanaka by offering a significantly higher AAV.


The nuttiness is picking up the opt-out and tacking on additional years assuming equivalent value. How often does this really work out? It hasn't for Rodriguez. Sabathia hasn't thus far. Is JD Drew's $70 million for 11 WAR after leaving LA one of the better outcomes?
   74. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4644493)
There are all kinds of scenarios, some favorable, some not, but the Yankees are filling a current top-of-the-rotation opening at reasonable cost & risk. Not cheap, but reasonable.

I mean I guess that's the rub, right? If 4/108 ... Kershaw/Verlander/Felix money... is "reasonable" for a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues, then the deal is fine. I just don't believe that.
   75. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4644497)
I mean I guess that's the rub, right? If 4/108 ... Kershaw/Verlander/Felix money.


Of course they didn't sign those contracts as free agents. Do you think they'd have received less on an open market?
   76. KT's Pot Arb Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4644514)
So the Yankees get stellar Tanaka for 4 years $88M, or terrible Tanaka for $155m 7 years.

Kind of. The Yankees actually get stellar Tanaka for 4 years, $108M, because of the fee paid to Rakuten.


You are right, it's even worse than I said.

If Tanaka opts out after four years, that also means that the Yankees almost certainly got more than $22 million/year out of value from him in those


Break even is $27M a year, so their excess value almost certain to be very small in that scenario.

And also, if he's good enough to opt out after four years, the Yankees will probably throw the monster contract at him anyway before the opt out, like they did with Sabathia.


That not a reason to sign him, the Yankees get to throw monster contracts at every free agent and would to Tanaka when he opted out of his dodgers.

The alternative to the opt out isn't 7 years/$155 million with no opt out, it's 7 years/MORE than $155 million with no opt out.


Paying $175M/7 yearsfor no opt out is a way better deal for yanks. If you think he opts out 50% the line is probably nearly half the $80m. That way you capture all of the good and great Tanaka scenarios, and don't pay that much extra for the bad ones. He's young, a 7 year deal shouldn't be that scary.
   77. Gamingboy Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4644517)
This still means diddly-squat in the short term if the nobody-under-30 position player lineup spontaneously combusts, which is a real possibliity.
   78. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4644529)
That way you capture all of the good and great Tanaka scenarios, and don't pay that much extra for the bad ones. He's young, a 7 year deal shouldn't be that scary.


This is sort of the way that I look at it, if he would have accepted 7/175, that is. I think that Yankee fans are looking at this with extraordinarily rose-colored glasses. If he's great -- I mean phenomenal -- he might be worth 5, 6 WAR (do we like rWAR or fWAR around here?) If he is worth 6 WAR, and you use $5.5M/WAR to calculate, that's a maximum value of $33M and therefore a surplus value of only $6M.

You don't want to look at it strictly like an economist, but if he's great he's opting out and you're only getting a little value over the massive amount he's paid in 4 years. If he's bad, you're stuck on the hook. Might as well pay him more and remove the opt-out, if its an option, so you can capture more of the value on the upside.
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4644539)
This is sort of the way that I look at it, if he would have accepted 7/175, that is. I think that Yankee fans are looking at this with extraordinarily rose-colored glasses. If he's great -- I mean phenomenal -- he might be worth 5, 6 WAR (do we like rWAR or fWAR around here?) If he is worth 6 WAR, and you use $5.5M/WAR to calculate, that's a maximum value of $33M and therefore a surplus value of only $6M.

You don't want to look at it strictly like an economist, but if he's great he's opting out and you're only getting a little value over the massive amount he's paid in 4 years. If he's bad, you're stuck on the hook. Might as well pay him more and remove the opt-out, if its an option, so you can capture more of the value on the upside.


The marginal value of a win to the Yankees is much, much more than $5.5M. Moving from 85 to 95 wins is probably worth >$100M in revenue.

Attendance has been falling, as have ratings (and they own a big chunk of YES!). This makes the team marketable for 2014.
   80. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4644562)
The nuttiness is picking up the opt-out and tacking on additional years assuming equivalent value. How often does this really work out? It hasn't for Rodriguez. Sabathia hasn't thus far. Is JD Drew's $70 million for 11 WAR after leaving LA one of the better outcomes?


Opt-outs are a weird beast. They clearly benefit the player when the contract is signed but they can end up being a boon to the team in the end....if they're willing to let the player walk. If the player opts-out and you re-sign them to a new deal then you're almost certainly going to be worse off than if you had offered a little more AAV in the original contract with no opt-out.
   81. zonk Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4644575)
On one hand, I really wanted the Cubs to land Tanaka... he's young enough, etc... I likewise would have loved to have had the opportunity to give Kershaw his mega contract....

I just really, really get concerned about a pitcher getting 7/150 (actually, 7/175 with hte posting fee) when said pitcher hasn't yet thrown a single stateside pitch.
   82. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4644576)
One thing to remember is that there are circumstances in which Tanaka NOT opting out does not necessarily mean that the contract was a disaster for the Yankees. After 4 years, his estimated market value might only be $15m per year (on a 3 year deal) and so he wouldn't opt-out. But $15m pitchers still help ballclubs.
   83. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4644584)
there are circumstances in which Tanaka NOT opting out does not necessarily mean that the contract was a disaster for the Yankees.

Well, yes, only in the scenario in which the Yankees don't care at all about cost. If they pay him 4/108 and he produces only $15M/year, that's a big loss. Plus, the Cano thing. I don't understand that.
   84. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4644589)
Well, yes, only in the scenario in which the Yankees don't care at all about cost. If they pay him 4/108 and he produces only $15M/year, that's a big loss. Plus, the Cano thing. I don't understand that.

Not necessarily. He could be worth $30M, $40M, $30M in his first 3 years, then get hurt and be worth $10M, with a $15M projection going forward. That's not a bad situation for the Yankees.
   85. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4644591)
I don't see the word "Igawa" anywhere in this thread, but a lot of people think that no matter how good a Japanese pitcher seems, his downside is Kei Igawa, that is, a player who is so bad that his team will pay $16 million over four years to have him pitch in the International League. Over the years 2008 to 2011 the Yankees seemingly would rather have anyone from Sergio Mitre to Chad Gaudin to Dustin Mosley to Sidney Ponson in their rotation instead of a seemingly healthy Kei Igawa. They also preferred to have such relief pitchers as Anthony Claggett, Josh Towers, Jonathan Abadabadango, Billy Traber, Royce Ring, Amaury Sanit, Lance Pendleton, and the corpse of Chan Ho Park, rather than Igawa.

Now, it's my impression that there were some non-performance-related reasons why the Yankees told Igawa to go away permanently about 1/4 of the way through his contract. Maybe it had something to do with the luxury tax.

But did we ever get an explanation for this? I mean, he was in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (or Trenton) for that entire time. Not exactly dominating, but better than Anthony Claggett.
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4644594)
Now, it's my impression that there were some non-performance-related reasons why the Yankees told Igawa to go away permanently about 1/4 of the way through his contract. Maybe it had something to do with the luxury tax.

I think once he cleared waivers and was off the 40-man, his salary didn't count against the luxury tax. So, they were never going to bring him back at that point.
   87. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4644595)

Not necessarily. He could be worth $30M, $40M, $30M in his first 3 years, then get hurt and be worth $10M, with a $15M projection going forward. That's not a bad situation for the Yankees


Yeah, something like that is what I meant.

Or even he has his best year(s) in years 6 or 7. Pitching is unpredictable.
   88. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4644599)
I think once he cleared waivers and was off the 40-man, his salary didn't count against the luxury tax. So, they were never going to bring him back at that point.

Yeah and I believe that if they trade him he also counts against the tax so the Yankees aren't going to move him to another org which might give him a shot.
   89. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4644603)
Agree with the earlier post that the Bosox and Rays remain the teams to beat in the AL East, but the Yanks should at least be on the periphery of the race. Their problem is that much of the roster remains past its prime every key position player except Ellsbury, McCann and Gardner is past his prime...and with Tanaka, there remains a danger pitching all those innings in the Pacific League could take its toll sooner than later.

FIFY

Or, what Ray said in more specific terms.

This is one of those years where if everything goes right (including the rotation), the Yanks could contend. But if a few key players break down, we're talking about the glue factory by 2015.
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4644604)
Or even he has his best year(s) in years 6 or 7. Pitching is unpredictable.

Yup, lots of guys have shown that you should just throw out any idea of a conventional aging curve for pitchers (Randy Johnson, Schilling, Moyer, etc.).
   91. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4644608)
On one hand, I really wanted the Cubs to land Tanaka... he's young enough, etc... I likewise would have loved to have had the opportunity to give Kershaw his mega contract....

I just really, really get concerned about a pitcher getting 7/150 (actually, 7/175 with hte posting fee) when said pitcher hasn't yet thrown a single stateside pitch.


I get what you're saying but basically the only players you can acquire for pure cash at a relatively young age are Japanese players. If the Cubs aren't going to pay retail there then they are going to be restricted to the 30+ years old or retreads bins.
   92. akrasian Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4644615)
But why didn't the Dodgers spend like usual then? Did their dumptrucks with cash get snarled in traffic?

They have Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, plus Haren, Beckett, Billingsley and several very nice pitching prospects who are nearly ready. Better for them to spend the money on hitting at this stage.
   93. Lars6788 Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4644624)
With the caveat we really still don't know much about Tanaka, he seems to be in a different level of 'stardom' compared to Darvish and Dice-K - meaning there will be so much pressure for him to perform in New York, but he seems more stoic, mellow and even at 25, he is more mature compared to the other two guys he maybe he expected sort of be.
   94. thetailor Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4644639)
Yup, lots of guys have shown that you should just throw out any idea of a conventional aging curve for pitchers (Randy Johnson, Schilling, Moyer, etc.).

Just because there are exceptions doesn't mean you throw the whole thing out.
   95. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4644651)
Yup, lots of guys have shown that you should just throw out any idea of a conventional aging curve for pitchers (Randy Johnson, Schilling, Moyer, etc.).


You just named two Hall of Famers and a fluke who pitched at almost the oldest age ever.

Not exactly a representative sample.

That said, I agree with the thrust of your point that aging patterns of pitchers are inherently less predictable than hitters (perhaps because of the injury factor). I still wouldn't want to bank too heavily on non-star pitchers in their 30s.
   96. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4644656)
As people mentioned about C.C. if he opted out then someone else would have overpaid for his services.


For those three years and beyond.

As a practical matter, opt-outs are probably not terrible for teams, at least if they don't sign the player. The Yankees broke the bank again to get A-Rod back, and his *second* contract had been a disaster. Even if CC had pitched well last year and then opted out, I think you'd see the new contract he gets be significantly worse than the first one.

Why would this be? Why, it's that opt-outs will almost always be exercised by players who are over 30. Even Tanaka will be nearly 30. If Trout ends up with one, he'll probably be 30 before he gets to exercise it. It's usually a better bet to let a guy go at 30 than it is to sign him to a 7-year-long contract.

Anyway, I find this news depressingly mundane. Especially because he'll likely be playing for expensive, cruddy teams for the next few years. This Yankees squad is pretty much actually what Baseball Prospectus kept saying they were 10 years ago.
   97. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4644662)
You just named two Hall of Famers and a fluke who pitched at almost the oldest age ever.

Not exactly a representative sample.


OK. How about Chris Carpenter, Red Ruffing, Hoyt Wilhelm, Cliff Lee, Spud Chandler, Bucky Walters, Dazzy Vance, Sal Maglie.

Seriously, the post-30 ERA+ leaderboard is littered with guys who did very very little before they hit 29 or 30.

That said, I agree with the thrust of your point that aging patterns of pitchers are inherently less predictable than hitters (perhaps because of the injury factor). I still wouldn't want to bank too heavily on non-star pitchers in their 30s.

As long as you're paying them as non-stars, they can produce a lot of pleasant surprises.
   98. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 22, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4644682)
10/240 for a proven 7 WAR player


Position players who have put up >= 70 WAR from age 31-40: Bonds, Mays, Ruth, Wagner. Period.

I loves me some Robbie Cano, but I really don't think he'll be joining that list.
   99. Dale Sams Posted: January 22, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4644713)
And the Red Sox respond by signing Grady Sizemore! Yes!! Give em a whiff of the grape Ben!
   100. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 22, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4644715)
Position players who have put up >= 70 WAR from age 31-40: Bonds, Mays, Ruth, Wagner. Period.

I loves me some Robbie Cano, but I really don't think he'll be joining that list.


Drop it to 60 and all you add is Aaron. Drop it to 50 and you have Lajoie, Speaker, Cobb, and Clemente. Drop it to 45 and there are a total of 15 inner ( or near) circle guys and Edgar Martinez. I don't think Cano will be joining them either.
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