BREAKING: Masahiro Tanaka Reportedly Agrees to Deal with Yankees

new-york-yankees-logoWe may be at the end of the Obsessive Tanaka Watch …

Ken Rosenthal reports this morning that Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka has agreed to a seven-year, $155 million deal with the New York Yankees. The deal includes an opt-out after the fourth year. Throw in the $20 million posting fee, and it’s a $25 million per-year commitment over seven years. That was rumored to be the top of what the Cubs could come up with. It’s a huge, huge deal (with a nasty opt-out) for a guy who has never pitched in the big leagues, isn’t an ace-caliber talent, and has some workload concerns. But that’s the price for a 25-year-old, front-front-of-the-rotation talent these days.

If that’s the final deal, you can bet that the Yankees lingered around the six-year, $120 million mark for a long time before something – read: the Cubs’ offer? – pushed them to move upward considerably. And if that’s how things played out (I’m just speculating), it’s a pretty fair guess that Tanaka always wanted to go to New York (or L.A.), and was simply waiting for one of them to blink on the price.

As I’ve said for a while, Tanaka made too much sense for the Yankees, and the Yankees had too strong of a need (and too much money) for this not to happen. Their two-year quest to get under the $189 million luxury tax cap is obliterated, and they’ll be back to their spend-happy ways from here on out.

In the coming days, we’ll more fully flesh out the implications of Tanaka’s decision (what does it mean for the Cubs? for the free agent market? for the future?), but, for now, I’m just going to let this soak in. It’s an enormous deal for an unproven and risky arm, but the Yankees have the money (and the need) to take that risk. I can’t fault them for it.

I’m not as bummed as I thought I’d be – though I’m still a little bummed. Like I said this morning, I still really like the free agent crop of starters this next offseason. And now we’ve got quite a bit more confidence that the Cubs do, in fact, have the money to make some big moves if and when they’re inclined. It’s little comfort right now, but it’s something.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

336 responses to “BREAKING: Masahiro Tanaka Reportedly Agrees to Deal with Yankees”

  1. ssckelley

    Finally, a merciful end to all of this!

  2. BlameHendry

    Seriously? The cubs couldn’t top that?

    Well… there goes any excitement I had for 2014, and any incentive to watch any games. See y’all again next offseason I guess?

    1. ari gold

      Hendry, are you being serious because my sarcasm detector is off today. I really hope you’re kidding.

    2. BT

      What, exactly, was the amount of money needed that you weren’t going to make the “Cubs couldn’t top that” comment?

      1. BlameHendry

        The rumor was that the Cubs were willing to go up to $25M per year, not including posting fee. Over 25, yeah that’s too much, but 25M per is fairly reasonable.

        1. Cheese Chad

          The definition of a fare weather fan. Ya know what? When the Cubs are contending we don’t want ya back.

          1. JB88

            Jesus, are the Cubs that hard up that they are charging money to be a fan these days? ;)

        2. BT

          25 million per year on a guy who has never thrown a pitch for a major league team is “fairly reasonable”. With an opt out.

          Dear lord in heaven you weren’t being sarcastic.

    3. JadeBos

      Even if the Cubs could top it, with the posting fee its 7/175 = 25 per for the Yanks.

      How much more would the CUbs had to pay to sway him? 2.5 per? 200 mil?

      I’m OK they Cubs didn’t get him at that price.

  3. Elden14

    I know it was foolish to get my hopes up, but my heart sank when I saw that…

  4. BlameHendry

    Anyone seen “TanakaWillBeACub” lately? lol

  5. Diehardthefirst

    Mazel Tov- may he and the pitching coach have a long relationship of towel drills- he will want to opt out earlier-

  6. CubFanBob

    Good luck Tanaka. You are going to need it in that circus.

  7. V23

    And now we can proclaim:
    Complete waste.

    1. BlameHendry

      In all seriousness, it really is.

      1. mr. mac

        And you can actually Blame Hendry this time because he works for the Yankees.

    2. ssckelley

      I blame that Blackhawks guy.

  8. AlbDaKID

    Yay!! Now, I finally feel like a Cub fan again!!

  9. TulaneCubs

    Hopefully we hear something like,”I’ve always wanted to be a Yankee” at his press conference.

    Wish we could find out what the Cubs’ offer was.

    1. Elden14

      Maybe he can still pull off an Anibal?!

  10. iowastate89

    It will be interesting to see if he lives up to it (in that pressure cooker). Isn’t the pitching FA market supposed to be stronger next off season (hopefully Cubs will be have more options then vs competing against everyone on one key player like this played out)

    1. BenW

      Only if those guys hit FA. If you really believe guys like Scherzer and Lester are hitting FA, then it will be strong. Otherwise people will be fighting over a 33 year old James Shields.

  11. Justin

    The Yankees still suck, but at least now have passed the Blue Jays for 3rd place in the AL East. Congrats to your shitty contract situations playing out over the next few years Yankees…

    1. blublud

      The Red Sox, Orioles and Rays are all better than the Blue Jays. The Yankees have just secured the 4th spot. Playing in that division, their record could be around the same as the Cubs.

      1. Justin

        RIght… I wanted to say they would be 4th in the AL East. And, I really don’t think they’re much better than the Blue Jays at all either.. They’re roster is just so annoying/old/overpaid..

  12. Soda Popinski

    Now it’s time to sign Nelly Cruz to a one-year deal.

  13. JCubs79

    Sweet, looks like we have to wait until 2017 for anything worthwhile now.

    1. BT

      Did you know who Tanaka was a year ago?

      1. JCubs79

        Yes. I follow top international guys pretty regularly.

        1. BT

          So you are certain there won’t be any more available for 3 years.

          1. Evolution


  14. BenW

    Well, at least we can move on.

    Gotta say, 22+ per year, with an opt out. That’s a huge deal.

    Not sure what’s next on the pitching front for us. Better start hoping teams don’t resign their impending FA starters, or we may be in huge trouble.

  15. smackafilieyo

    Let’s trade SHARK, haha

  16. Rebuilding

    I really hope we hear that the Cubs had the best offer, but he wanted NYY or LA. Otherwise, I think the heat rely needs to get turned up on Ricketts and Theo

  17. jadebuddha

    I imagine the Cubs couldn’t top that because of the opt out after 4 years. Paying him top dollar for 2 non-competitive years then 2 hopefully competitive years then letting him walk would be a waste. Tanaka will be a FA again in 4 years time, it’s another ALL club risk, NO player risk just like Kershaw’s deal.

    Play like crap, oh well pay me for 7. Play reasonably well, opt out at 4 and get another huge pay day. Bad contract for a club.

    1. TulaneCubs

      Yep, I agree with everything you said here. I do wonder what the Cubs offered and if they were willing to include the opt out and/or what else they included because they weren’t willing to do the opt out.

  18. CubFan Paul

    At that price/AAV and opt out, they can have him

  19. mdavis

    only positive is yankees werent a team in on shark. so maybe that market heats up again….blue jays feel pressure to respond, include sanchez and stroman, orioles feel pressure, gausman and rodgriguez, bundy, hunter, wright combo….

    idk, trying to look for something to hold on to here..

  20. Cizzle

    So with the $20M, it’s exactly $25/year. Can’t blame Thed for not going above that.

  21. ari gold

    This comment section is going to be filled with whiny bitching today.

  22. Austin8466

    On to the backup options.

    J Santana?

    Sign one of them!

    1. Bret Epic

      Is Kenta Maeda an option?

      1. Austin8466

        I think he’ll be available to sign next offseason.

        1. Bret Epic

          Double damn. Well…I can’t say I’m overly surprised, just very disappointed. I get the whole “plan,” but you gotta throw us fans a bone once in a while and I thought Tanaka might be enough to alleviate the frustration from the first two horrendous seasons Theo/Hoyer duo. Just wanna see a bright spot at the major league level. I’m a Chicago Cubs fan first, not a Cougars or Smokies fan. Gimme something new to be excited about this year.

          1. Austin8466

            I’m with you 100% man.

  23. Bret Epic

    Theo and Hoyer better be prepared for the backlash. If people thought the Clark backlash was bad…they will be in for a surprise.

  24. CubChymyst

    Well darn. With the number of rumors of Tanaka preferring L.A. or New York I guess it shouldn’t be a big surprise. I know the supposedly had no impact on Samardzija, but I wonder what the impact this has on the Samardzija front? I still don’t think he gets traded till at least midseason if at all. I’m still hoping for an extension.

  25. AdamAE24

    At least the bastards really had to pay. At the beginning of this I thought 6 years 90 million was a serious big time investment in this dude.

  26. NorthSideIrish

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman 56s
    7/155. Cubs were reportedly runner up. Dodgers did not go to that level. Cubs not ready to win ended shot. @Ken_Rosenthal broke story

    Ugh…I would almost rather have the Cubs finish 3rd just so we don’t have to hear the “runner up” thing again.

    1. Soda Popinski

      Cespedes, Darvish, Tanaka… sheesh.

      1. CubChymyst

        forgot about Ryu

    2. BlameHendry

      And that all Theo will ever be, “runner up.” He will never go above and beyond and do what it takes to make a real splash, because he’s too scared to take a big risk once in a while.

      1. Soda Popinski

        Just… lol.

      2. Austin8466

        Yeah, I mean aside from the two World Series rings he has. I don’t think anyone refers to Theo as “runner up” lol.

      3. RoscoeVillageFan

        I know that many of you are trying to process the recent news but please take a deep breath. The Cubs from top to bottom have never been managed better than Theo/Epstein era. Why would there be a backlash? Because Tanaka chose the Yankees and made them pay for it because the Cubs were actually serious about landing him?

        I’m never going to blame Theo/Jed for not repeating the mistakes of Cubs past. We didn’t get Tanaka but things have a funny way of working out…we’ll see how well he really does. I say Cy Young this year and then Tommy John the next.

    3. JB88

      I can understand the appeal of NYY, but why does the media consistently perpetuate this idea that the Yankees are “ready to win”? That is a myth these days.

      1. mr. mac

        Because the world revolves around New York, don’t you know? I find the constant attention to NY sports teams very annoying.

  27. smackafilieyo

    Why sign any free agents if we are gonna lose 100+ games?! Let the kids play…why waste money

  28. JB88

    That’s tough. Tanaka would have filled a lot of holes for the Cubs in the short and long term. Only thing to hope for now is that Shields and/or Masterson makes it to FA.

  29. Required

    Not surprised. Bet it was the opt out that got him. Next….

  30. Jon

    And what free agents are going to sign here next year, coming off another 95+ loss season?

    Can we please stop tanking seasons?

    1. RoscoeVillageFan

      Tanking is a NBA term. thank you

      1. Jon

        And the Cubs have adopted the model nicely…..

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