Projected 2014 Rotation w/ Tanaka
|No. 1 CC Sabathia, LHP
|No. 2 Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
|No. 3 Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
|No. 4 Ivan Nova, RHP
|No. 5 David Phelps, RHP/Michael Pineda, RHP
Why the Yankees are No. 1
Of course the Yankees top the list of suitors for Tanaka. Why wouldn't they? Because they want to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold? Please. They've already spent over $280 million on Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran; how much money do they have left? Stop lying to yourself.
If ever there was a time for the Yankees to try and rebuild, it would have been during the disaster that was 2013. Instead, they have spent money to sign three of the best free agents available and re-signed Hiroki Kuroda.
Oh yeah, the Yankees will also save more than $20 million if Alex Rodriguez's suspension holds up after his appeal.
It's a dangerous combination, taking a desperate team with money to spend and a 25-year-old pitcher who earns rave reviews for his present stuff and upside in some circles.
There's no way the Yankees can't be No. 1, even if the Cubs are reportedly making a strong push.
What Tanaka offers Yankees
Much like the Cubs, there isn't a lot to for the Yankees to be excited about when it comes to long-term pitching prospects. CC Sabathia had his worst season in professional baseball last year and isn't getting any younger. Kuroda had a 5.44 ERA in August and September.
Michael Pineda—remember him?—is on track to pitch in the big leagues this season, but does anyone trust him to do anything? Given how long he's been out with arm problems, is he going to throw more than 100-120 innings?
Unlike the Cubs, the Yankees don't have much in the position-player pipeline to look forward to. Even their best prospects, like catcher Gary Sanchez, have serious question marks. That's one big reason they had to spend so much money on Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran.
The point being, no team needs Tanaka more than the Yankees. They are built to win now, but all of the star players they had under contract last season who return in 2014 are on the wrong side of 30.
Tanaka may not be the piece that pushes New York past Boston in the American League East, but he certainly closes the talent gap that exists between the two powerhouse franchises.
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