Yankees News/Rumors: There’s still a chance Masahiro Tanaka comes back to the Bronx

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
USA Today

The New York Yankees could benefit from adding another starting pitcher to their rotation, despite signing two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to a one year, $11 million deal. Kluber showed off in a stellar workout in front of 25 scouts, and the Yankees manage to land his services, which will hopefully benefit the team as they look to reach their first World Series in over 10 years.

However, Kluber has only pitched 36.2 innings over the past two seasons, so feeling confident he can pitch over an entire 162 game campaign might be a bit optimistic. That is why adding another starter could be beneficial for general manager Brian Cashman, who only has a specific amount of money left to spend on free-agent signings.

One player they could consider is Masahiro Tanaka, a familiar face that represents quality as a number three starter. In 2020, Tanaka finished with a 3.56 ERA and 8.25 strikeouts per nine. Tanaka was batted around a bit, especially in the postseason, but all together had a decent campaign and showed he can still be effective in the MLB.

The issue is that Tanaka is reportedly seeking a one-year deal at $15-20 million. The Yankees don’t have too much more to spend, but if they could find a way to fit Tanaka’s contract on the books, their rotation would be remarkably deep. There were reports that Cashman could entertain the idea of trading Adam Ottavino, which would open up $9 million in available funds, just enough to help them retain Tanaka and a one year deal.

However, there is still a possibility that Tanaka goes back to Japan, which reportedly has a few luxurious contracts waiting for him if he decides to make a move.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Monday that “while the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka are still in contact, there appears to be a good chance he pitches elsewhere. There’s said to be strong interest in Japan, and the likelihood of a much bigger deal there.”

Either way, the Yankees could benefit from adding another starter to the rotation, as I personally don’t feel comfortable relying on Luis Severino and Domingo German, who haven’t pitched in over three years combined.

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