Masahiro Tanaka is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Yankee ace owns a stellar 3.12 career ERA, and has become a Yankee fan favorite quickly.
Inside sources say that it sounds like Tanaka will most likely opt out of his contract after this season. With that being said would it make sense for the Yankees to trade Tanaka if they find themselves in the same situation that they did in 2016 at the trade deadline, Tanaka could be a potential trade chip.
It is hard to find an ace in this day and age. The Yankees could bring quite a prospect haul for Tanaka as well. Analysts have predicted that the Yankees could get four top prospects for Tanaka.
This brings us to three possible ideas.
- The Yankees are embracing a rebuild mode and they trade Tanaka for top prospects to continue building an already strong farm system. They let the prospects stay in the organization and try to build the young prospects. Then, in 2018 they have extra money to spend and they sign an extra arm if no one works out.
- The Yankees know that Tanaka is going to opt out, but have a good feeling that they could sign him in the off season like they did with Chapman. The Yankees trade Tanaka in return for prospects; however, this could go an opposite direction too. The Yankees could know what kind of contract Tanaka wants, and with his arm trouble they may want to avoid throwing more money at him for that reason. They could decide that they would flip those prospects for another top of the line starter who may be cheaper and hasn’t had any arm troubles.
- Lastly, the most conservative option and that is that the Yankees hold onto Tanaka. He is after all a fan favorite and he’s become an ace with the Yankees. The Yankees decide to build their rotation around Tanaka and either sign him to an extension or he doesn’t opt out.
Regardless of what happens the Yankees have a lot of great routes they can go with Tanaka. They can choose to hold onto their ace, or trade him for an enormous prospect package. The main reason for this speculation is Tanaka’s UCL scare. The Yankees may have cold feet about resigning a pitcher with UCL problems. Especially since it would be a lucrative deal.
My Take: The Yankees will have to see where they are this season around the trade deadline. I don’t have access to all of their information, but if they have word Tanaka is going to opt out and they find themselves in a similar position to last year I think the Yankees will at least listen to offers on Tanaka and if one comes up that makes sense then the Yankees may move on it. If the Yankees feel that the prospects could either help them in the short term, or feel they could flip those prospects for another top of the rotation guy; such as, Jose Quintana then they may do it.
The Yankees have flexibility now and they still have time to figure out who will be a part of their next super team in 2018, and who won’t. It should be interesting to see how the Yankees can capitalize on their young farm system and potential trade chips in 2017 is to go awry. Make no mistake that the Yankees want to win now, but their ultimate goal is reconstruct this team to compete year after year. The Yankee re build has been going on for some time now and we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.