Tanaka Just Gave Us Another Scoreless Start
Four and a third innings today, 13 and a third all spring and not a single run has been scored on Tanaka. Since he’s come to New York there has been a ton of concern but this Spring should put all of that to rest. Before Tanaka injured his elbow, he was proving that he could be an elite starter in MLB and even after the injury he showed he could still compete. It’s taken a bit of time for Tanaka to get used to pitching with his elbow like this and for all we know he may still need an extra day rest a few times throughout the season, but none of these results should surprise us.
One of the biggest storylines for the Yankees this season will be around if Tanaka will opt-out at the end of the season. With that, we should expect Tanaka to leave it all on the field, to maximize his value heading into an offseason where he likely will opt-out. Skipping starts, or showing signs of an elbow problem will hurt Tanaka on the market so expect him to not only act like an ace, but pitch like one too.
While all of this is great for the Yankees this season, what happens if/when Tanaka does opt out? Personally, I think he signs with the Yankees for an extension right away and we don’t even see him visit with other teams. Making the jump from Japan is always big for these guys and now that Tanaka has been here for a few years, he is settled into life in New York City. Mix in the fact that the Yankees have one of the brightest futures of any team in baseball, and it wouldn’t make sense to go anywhere else.
All this great pitching will cost the Yankees a little bit more over the next few years, but it will be worth it. At just 28 years old, Tanaka has a lot of great baseball ahead of him and we should expect those years to be in pinstripes.