New York Yankees: Analyzing the Final Year of Tanaka’s Contract

Lauren Iacono
New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
May 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) leaves the field after getting the third out and being hit by a ground ball against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the 2020 season, we enter into the final year of Masahiro Tanaka’s Contract.  Tanaka signed a 7 year deal with the New York Yankees back in January of 2014, after coming over from Japan where he played  Nippon Professional Baseball from 2007.

I hear a lot of people saying that after 2020, we can free up some salary space after his contract is up. And honestly, I don’t understand that narrative.

We’ve had some great pitchers come here and not be able to handle the pressure. It takes a lot to be able to pitch under the bright lights in New York. And New York Yankees fans will be sure to let you know when you’re not doing well.

What has Tanaka meant to the Yankees?

Masa has not only been able to pitch great during the regular season but also during the postseason as well.  New York will make or break you, and it certainly hasn’t broken our masaHIRO. Year in and year out Tanaka has been consistent, and unphased in big moments. Those are important qualities to have pitching in the postseason. Especially in the Bronx.  

You want a guy you can trust in those big games and that’s Tanaka.  With a postseason ERA of 1.75, the Yankees and Yankees fans are definitely confident when he’s on the mound. I know I am. 

Tanaka who has a career ERA of 3.75, didn’t pitch his best season last year but his ERA was still above average.

So I’m here to go to bat for Tanaka, campaigning for his 2021 return. With Tanaka turning 32 after the end of this season, I still think he has a lot more to offer.

Looking at the pitchers that will be free agents in 2021, there’s only a few with a slightly better ERA. So why risk bringing in another pitcher, with less success and a less impressive postseason resume.