Tanaka is looking like a longshot to return to the Yankees: Will the Mets pounce?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
USA Today

The days go by, and the New York Yankees fail to address their pitching needs via free agency or trade market. Their rotation depth is very thin right now, as they lost Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ.

And with each passing day, it seems less likely that they will bring Tanaka back, and he is actually the most likely to return of the outgoing trio. The winter, for the Yankees, has been cold, as in “cold stove.”

Michael Kay reported in the last few hours that from what he has heard, if the Yankees get LeMahieu, which is going to be very costly, “that might be the last big guy they get.” So if everybody just assumes that Tanaka is coming back, “I would really, really not hold my breath.”

SNY’s Andy Martino wrote something similar on his Twitter account. He said that the Kay report was accurate, and “it’s hard to see him returning if Yankees sign LeMahieu.”

The Yankees are letting Tanaka slip away

With the Yankees failing to secure Tanaka’s services, another contender, the New York Mets, will probably be lurking around to see if they can sign him. They are looking for pitching and seem more willing to spend some money, at least more than the Yankees right now.

The Mets have a new ownership group, and the new leader, Steve Cohen, happens to have lots of financial resources. There are several positions of need in Queens, one of them being starting pitching.

And why wouldn’t the Mets be interested in a successful pitcher with a strong track record of pitching well in New York? In 1054.1 career innings, the Japanese import has a 3.74 ERA, a 3.91 FIP, and a 3.52 xFIP. He has struck out 8.46 per nine frames, and handed 1.78 free passes per nine innings.

If the Mets land Trevor Bauer, the best free agent pitcher in the market, then getting Tanaka wouldn’t such a feasible scenario. But if they don’t, the free agent hurler could fit in nicely in Queens. The Yankees, having spent a fortune last year in Gerrit Cole, are apparently not in a rush to bring Tanaka back.

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