Yankees News/Rumors: Masahiro Tanaka wants to be back in Pinstripes, Power Rankings overrate Yankees?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
USA Today

It is no secret the New York Yankees desperately need starting pitching unless you’re confident that Luis Severino and Domingo German will easily slide back into the starting rotation. Severino hasn’t pitched meaningful baseball in over two years, and German was suspended for the entire 2020 season due to a domestic violence dispute in 2019. Relying on them could end up being a massive mistake, and the Yankees just recently allowed three free agents to hit the market, thinning out their rotation significantly.

General manager Brian Cashman does have a bit of money opening up due to the departures, but it still seems as if he plans on being conservative this off-season. Whether they sign DJ LeMahieu to a big extension or not, the result of that deal will set forth a plan for the rest of the year. If they sign LeMahieu, we shouldn’t expect to see any massive expenses occurring in the pitching department, but if another team steals them away, I expect the Yankees to be aggressive in finding a number two behind Gerrit Cole.

Reports have indicated that Masahiro Tanaka could stay in the Bronx, as he is considering two options. Either the Yankees retain him, or he will depart and go back to Japan. His market value was a bit over the Yankees’ preferred price tag, but he did have a solid 2020 campaign nonetheless. Tanaka finished with a 3.56 ERA, 43.3% ground-ball rate, 8.25 strikeouts per nine, and allowed nine homers over 48 innings. Tanaka isn’t a high strikeout pitcher, which is something the Yankees would prefer behind Cole, but he utilizes deadly finesse and off-speed pitches to attack batters.

The major problem with Tanaka is that when teams figure out his finesse and sequence of pitches, he is quite easy to hit. However, when he’s on his game and getting the location he wants, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. If the Yankees are able to extend him on another deal, I wouldn’t offer more than $15 million per season. Adding another two years onto his contract could be a good move, considering the Yankees don’t feel confident in their current group, and they aren’t going to be all in on a player like Trevor Bauer.

Are the New York Yankees overrated in the Power Rankings?

The Yankees landed quite high in the MLB Power Rankings, finishing at the top of the American League and third overall in baseball. You could make the argument that a few other teams could be considered ahead of them due to their lack of pitching.

Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres remain ahead of the Bombers, which you could justify but also make the argument that without quality pitching, the Yankees aren’t a consistent team, especially with the number of injuries they deal with yearly.

Alternatively, when the Yankees are 100% healthy, they easily have one of the most intimidating bad in orders in baseball and can put double-digit runs on any team. They’re the epitome of a polarizing team.

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