Tag: Masahiro Tanaka

Harper: Gerrit Cole Trade to Yankees “Inevitable”

Despite news that the Houston Astros were checking in on Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, the New York Daily News’ John Harper cites an unnamed rival executive calling a trade of Cole to the Yankees “inevitable”.

Two important quotes:

“I think it’s inevitable they’ll get together on a deal,” a rival exec told me Monday. “The Yankees have the pieces and Pittsburgh needs to tear it down. They’ll find common ground.”

“They’re one of the few organizations that have the depth, at the big-league and minor-league level, to match what the Yankees can offer,” an AL scout said. “But (GM Jeff) Luhnow has shown he doesn’t want to give up top prospects if he can help it, so I’d still favor the Yankees.”

The report from Harper comes as Astros’ owner Jim Crane told reporters that his team is pursuing “a high-end starter”. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported the same day that the Astros checked in with Pittsburgh on Cole. The Astros and Pirates reportedly discussed outfielder Derek Fisher as a return, The Pirates are aiming higher at top prospects Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley.

Reports linking the Yankees to the Pirates have died down in recent weeks, since Brian Cashman told Neil Huntington that top prospect infielder Gleyber Torres is off-limits. The Yankees have also been connected to the Pirates’ versatile utilityman, Josh Harrison. In his column, Harper suggests Cashman would make the deal if it were to be Clint Frazier and someone like Chance Adams for Cole.

Though the Yankees already have five starters on their roster, it would appear as though they would like to add one more quality arm heading into Spring Training. They have been linked to other controllable young pitchers in the trade market like Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and Detroit’s Michael Fulmer. Plus, they have kicked the tires on free agent Yu Darvish.

Since they can field a rotation with their current personnel, Brian Cashman does not need to overpay for pitching. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordon Montgomery already represent an intimidating pitching staff. That said, expect Cashman to pounce if the deal is right.

Yankees Re-Sign CC Sabathia

UPDATE (Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. ET): The Yankees officially announced the signing on the day after Christmas via Twitter.


The Yankees locked up a pivotal part of their 2018 starting rotation Saturday, agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract with veteran lefty CC Sabathia.

“CC feels there’s unfinished business to attend to,” agent Kyle Thousand of Roc Nation Sports told MLB.com. “There were competitive offers that CC was weighing, but in the end, CC wanted to come back and win a championship with the Yankees. He loves his teammates, the clubhouse and the moves the Yankees are making. He wants to bring home another championship to the Yankee fans.”

CC made it clear after the Yankees were eliminated in Game 7 of the ALCS that he wanted to return to the Bronx to finish out his career. He has not commented on his future in baseball beyond the 2018 season.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great,” Sabathia said after Game 7. “This is my home, and I want to see this thing through.”

Sabathia will simply need to pass a physical for the deal to be official. The 37-year-old was a huge part of the Yankees rotation in 2017, pitching to a 14-5 record and 3.69 ERA in the final year of the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season. He won a World Series with the Yankees that year, and has been crucial to the team ever since.

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The veteran brings expertise and consistency to the back of a Yankees rotation in need of a few more arms. With innings limits looming on young starters Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees will have to rely on the veterans like Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray to pitch well consistently.

The Yankees may continue their pursuit of another starting pitcher even with Sabathia back in the fold. The team has been linked in trade talks recently to Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin, Detroit Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer and Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole.

King: Yankees, Pirates Discussing Deal for Gerrit Cole

The Yankees may look to the trade market to fill in a gap in their starting rotation, according to the New York Post’s George A. King III. On their radar: the Pittsburgh Pirates’ RHP Gerrit Cole.

King reports the Yankees are in contact with the Bucs about a deal that could include OF Clint Frazier and potentially more. King mentions that the Pirates would also look for “a pitcher ready to work in the majors,” which would imply someone like Chance Adams. There is no indication that a deal was close to done.

Cole had a down year for the Pirates, pitching to a 4.26 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. The Yankees would likely try to buy low on Cole, who they drafted No. 28 out of high school in 2008. Cole did not sign, instead opting to pitch at UCLA. He became the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

Frazier has become a bit of an odd-man-out in New York. He was ticketed to take over left field once Brett Gardner‘s contract expired, but the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton made that seem less likely since both Stanton and Aaron Judge may see time in left field. He made his MLB debut July 1, and posted a .231/.268/.448 line with four home runs, 17 RBIs and a 30.3% K-rate to a 4.9% BB-rate.

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Adams is seen as one of the most MLB-ready arms in the Yankees system. Many fans clamored for him to be promoted in 2017 when the Yankees needed starting pitching reinforcements. Split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017, Adams pitched to a 2.45 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. His command could use some work, and many think he could profile better as a reliever because he only averaged five innings per outing.

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This deal would allow the Yankees to grab a high quality arm in Cole with hopes that he rebounds toward his All-Star season in 2015. The 27-year-old would not be a free agent until after the 2020 season, like current Yankee RHP Sonny Gray. He would shore up a Yankees rotation that is relying on a big bounce-back season from Masahiro Tanaka, and young arms like Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery.

Shohei Ohtani’s Agent Gives All 30 MLB Teams Quiz to Test Suitability

Teams looking to land Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani have to do a little bit of homework, as his agent distributed a memo to all 30 Major League Baseball clubs asking them to explain why they would be the best fit for the 23-year-old.

From the Associated Press:

The memo from Nez Balelo, co-head of CAA Baseball, was distributed to all 30 teams by the commissioner’s office late Friday along with materials for the Dec. 1 vote on a new posting agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. If the deal is approved, the 23-year-old is expected to be put up for bid later that day or the following day.

Balelo’s memo asks for a team to evaluate Ohtani’s talent as a pitcher and as a hitter; to explain its player development, medical training and player performance philosophies and facilities; to describe its minor league and spring training facilities; to detail resources for Ohtani’s cultural assimilation into the team’s city; to demonstrate a vision for how Ohtani could integrate into the team’s organization; and to tell Ohtani why the team is a desirable place to play.

Each team was asked to provide its answers in both [English and Japanese] as soon as possible. Clubs were told not to include any financial terms of a possible contract.

The Yankees obviously will get this information back to Balelo and Ohtani in short order. They already planned to use former outfielder Hideki Matsui to help recruit Ohtani, as well as current RHP Masahiro Tanaka.

Ohtani has expressed interest in continuing to be a two-way player after he completes his move to the United States. This would, presumably, give an American League team an advantage in signing him since they could give him a proportion of at-bats as the designated hitter. In his five seasons in Japan, Ohtani played 62 games in the outfield, primarily in right field (57 games).

Both corner outfield spots are occupied for the Yankees. Brett Gardner is signed through the end of the 2018 season (with a $12.5 million club option for 2019) in left field. Aaron Judge will be renewed at league minimum, and won’t be eligible for arbitration until the 2020 season in right field, barring an extension. Ohtani has no experience in center field, and Aaron Hicks (who won’t taste free agency until 2020) has already been named the starter there.

That makes Ohtani’s place on the Yankees roster obvious: starting pitcher and designated hitter. If the Yankees are able to get Ohtani, they should continue to pursue a starting pitcher like CC Sabathia. Ohtani is used to pitching once a week in Japan, and a six-man rotation would help ease his transition to pitching once every five days.

The Yankees also do not have an obvious candidate for the everyday designated hitter. Matt Holliday most likely will not return after his .202/.300/.371 line in the second half. Using Ohtani as a DH would be less intensive than playing him in the already-crowded outfield. The team is likely planning to rotate players through the DH spot if Ohtani signs elsewhere.

New York has the second highest amount of available international signing bonus pool money to sign Ohtani at $3.5 million. The Texas Rangers lead them by a slight margin at $3.535 million. Each has had success signing a Japanese player in recent years, with the Rangers signing Yu Darvish and the Yankees inking Tanaka.

Because of his age, Ohtani is considered an amateur and must be signed to a minor league contract. That means he is a cheap commodity with a very high upside. The team that signs him will get control of six major league seasons if they do not agree on an extension.

Across his five seasons in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani is batting .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs. As a pitcher, he has a 42-15 record, 2.52 ERA and 10.3 K/9 rate. He is expected to be posted shortly after the Dec. 1 vote by MLB owners to ratify the new posting agreement between MLB and NPB.

Report: Yankees Can Pay 2nd Highest Bonus to Shohei Ohtani

Get ready for a lot of coverage of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani as free agency starts to heat up. A report from the Associated Press indicates that the Yankees have the second highest bonus pool available to give Ohtani.

Their amount, $3.25 million, comes just $285,000 short of the $3,535,000 that the Texas Rangers could give to arguably this offseason’s most intriguing free agent. The MLB, MLBPA and NPB still must negotiate a new posting system so that Ohtani (a player still under rights to a Japanese team) can be made available to teams in America.

It’s intriguing that the top two teams with bonus money are also teams that recently signed Japanese pitchers. The Rangers paid $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the 2011 offseason just to negotiate with Yu Darvish, who then signed to a 6-year, $60 million deal with the team prior to 2012. Darvish remained in Texas until the trade deadline in 2017, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis. He is now a free agent.

The Yankees made a big splash after the 2013 season by signing Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, a star with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, signed a seven-year contract worth $155 million after the Yankees paid a $20 million negotiation fee. The negotiating fee was much smaller, and his contract much larger, because of the revised posting system that did away with bidding for exclusive negotiating rights. Tanaka had the opportunity to opt out of his contract after the 2017 season, but decided to stay in the Bronx for three more years at $67 million.

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By hiring CAA, an MLBPA-approved agency, to represent him in the United States, it appears as though Ohtani is serious about his move across the Pacific. Joel Sherman of the New York Post also reported that MLB and NPB agreed to grandfather the old posting system for one more year. That would mean the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters would get $20 million from the team that signs Ohtani, rather than 15-20 percent like a new rumored agreement dictated. The MLBPA would have to approve this arrangement, though Sherman notes the union had not been notified as of this afternoon.

Since no team can pay Ohtani more than what their bonus pool allows, this free agency simply comes down to recruiting. There are bound to be more interesting developments as the process drags on. It makes sense, given that Ohtani slashed .332/.403/.540 with 8 homers and 31 RBIs in 65 games as a hitter this season. Oh, yeah, he also has a career 2.52 ERA and 10.9 K/9 rate as a starter in the NPB, too. A potential two-way star signing as an amateur player is bound to draw attention, and rightfully so.

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Masahiro Tanaka Declines Opt-Out, Will Stay in Bronx Until 2020

In a surprising twist, Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka announced that he will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, and will play out the remaining three years from his original contract.

Many thought that Tanaka would ride his stellar second half finish and fantastic postseason run into an opt-out and free agency. However, Tanaka cited that he’s “excited to continue to be a part of this team,” from his statement.

Tanaka got off to an awful start in 2017, posting a 5.47 ERA and allowing 23 home runs in 18 first half starts. The righty, however, figured things out in the second half, where he posted a bounce back ERA of 3.77 and cut his home run total to 12 in 12 starts. Tanaka was a force in the postseason this year, where he went 2-1 with a stingy 0.90 ERA and 18 strikeouts.

The Yankees will pay Tanaka $22 million each year for 2018 and 2019, and he will make $23 million for his age-31 season in 2020. If he can match the 3.12 ERA he posted excluding 2017, then he will certainly be worth the money. Plus, this move also solidifies a rotation that would have question marks without him.

He will join Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery in next year’s rotation. It’s likely that Chance Adams or someone else within the MiLB affiliates will battle for the fifth starter spot with a veteran. If the Yankees are able to land Shohei Ohtani, then their rotation will be one of the best in the league.

Free Agency Begins

It’s Thursday, November 2. The champagne has barely dried from the Houston Astros World Series celebration that Sports Illustrated predicted three years ago. But now, it’s time to fire up the Hot Stove.

That’s right – the offseason, and free agency, gets underway today. The Yankees are not expected to be big spenders due to their well-publicized goal of getting under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. Their big winter will come after the 2018 season.

Here are the 2017 Yankees that are now free agents:

  • Matt Holliday, DH
  • Todd Frazier, 3B/1B
  • Jaime García, SP
  • Michael Pineda, SP
  • CC Sabathia, SP

That group does not include Masahiro Tanaka, who has until Saturday, Nov. 4 to decide whether he will exercise his player option or remain under contract until after the 2020 season.

Of the names listed above, I think CC Sabathia is the most realistic bet to re-sign with the team. Sabathia said after the season that he wanted to finish his career in New York, and could be had on a deal similar to Andy Pettitte‘s in 2013: 1 year, $12 million.

I think the team will also make a run to re-sign Todd Frazier, who really proved to be a fantastic leader during the run to the American League Championship Series. However, I think he will receive multi-year offers elsewhere, and that does not fit into the Yankees long-term plans to hand third base over to either Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres in the near future.

The Yankees have an incredible amount of depth, and will be able to fill holes from within their system. Plus, they are known to be pursuing Japanese SP/DH/OF Shohei Ohtani should he leave NPB to come to the MLB. If Ohtani is not available or signs elsewhere, expect the Yankees to target either Jake Arrieta or Lance Lynn.

A glaring need is a left-handed reliever that is not named Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees used Chasen Shreve to the tune of a 0.2 fWAR season in 2017, but that may not be enough going forward. They may make a run at someone like Mike Minor, who posted a 2.1 fWAR season out of the Kansas City Royals bullpen in 65 appearances.

I’ll do my best to bring the latest Hot Stove info as it comes.

Red Sox 1, Yankees 5: Holliday Brings Labor Day Weekend Fireworks

Matt Holliday certainly made his presence known in his return from the disabled list.

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The veteran hit a crucial three-run home run to put the Yankees ahead for good in the sixth inning of Saturday’s matinee in the Bronx. He went 1-for-4 overall in the game. His homer pushed Masahiro Tanaka to his third consecutive victory on the mound.

“These are big games. I’m excited,” Holliday said. “I want to be part of this. I want to be part of this team. I missed being around the guys. I’m going to try to enjoy it.”

Chase Headley smacked his 10th home run of the year to open the scoring for the Yankees in the second inning. The score became tied when Eduardo Núñez scored on a Tanaka wild pitch in the top of the sixth. Holliday’s homer came next, then the Yankees added their final insurance run in the seventh on an infield single by Gary Sánchez.

The Yankee bullpen came in to pitch the final two innings once the starter was lifted. David Robertson and Dellin Betances cruised through the last six outs to net win No. 11 for Tanaka.

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The win did not come without a negative for the Yankees, however. Center fielder Aaron Hicks was removed from the game in the top of the seventh inning after robbing Hanley Ramírez with an impressive catch. Jacoby Ellsbury replaced him, and the injury was listed as “tightness in his left oblique”. He missed time with a right oblique injury earlier this season.


Box Score

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sep 2, 2017 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston (77-59) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 1
New York (72-63) 0 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 X 5 10 0
W: Masahiro Tanaka (11-10) L: Drew Pomeranz (14-5)
Boston Red Sox
HITTERS AB R H RBI BB SO HR AVG
Eduardo Núñez – SS 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 .309
Andrew Benintendi – LF 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .280
Mookie Betts – RF 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 .262
Mitch Moreland – 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252
Hanley Ramírez – DH 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .244
Rafael Devers – 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .287
Christian Vázquez – C 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 .290
Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 .263
Tzu-Wei Lin – 2B 3 0 1 0 0 2 0 .283
TEAM TOTALS 32 1 6 0 2 7 0
BATTING:
2B: Núñez (32)
BASERUNNING:
CS: Devers (1)
FIELDING:
E: Devers (7, throw)
New York Yankees
HITTERS AB R H RBI BB SO HR AVG
Brett Gardner – LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .261
Aaron Hicks – CF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .265
Jacoby Ellsbury – CF 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .245
Gary Sánchez – C 4 0 3 1 0 0 0 .274
Aaron Judge – RF 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 .276
Didi Gregorius – SS 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 .292
Chase Headley – 3B 4 2 3 1 0 0 1 .278
Todd Frazier – 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .210
Matt Holliday – DH 4 1 1 3 0 0 1 .230
Greg Bird – 1B 4 0 1 0 0 3 0 .155
Ronald Torreyes – 2B 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 .295
TEAM TOTALS 34 5 10 5 2 8 2
BATTING:
3B: Ellsbury (3)
HR: Headley (10), Holliday (17)
RBI: Headley (53), Holliday – 3 (54), Sánchez (78)
Boston Red Sox
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Drew Pomeranz – LHP 5.1 8 4 4 2 5 2 3.36
Brandon Workman – RHP 1.0 2 1 1 0 2 0 2.37
Fernando Abad – LHP 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.82
Austin Maddox – RHP 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
TEAM TOTALS 8.0 10 5 5 2 8 2
PITCHING:
Pitches-Strikes: Pomeranz: 105-64, Workman: 16-11, Abad: 8-4, Maddox: 11-9
New York Yankees
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Masahiro Tanaka – RHP 7.0 5 1 1 2 3 0 4.54
David Robertson – RHP 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.32
Dellin Betances – RHP 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 2.29
TEAM TOTALS 9.0 6 1 1 2 7 0
PITCHING:
WP: Tanaka
Pitches-Strikes: Tanaka: 97-66, Robertson: 13-9, Betances: 12-9

Game 135: Tanaka On The Spot

After Sonny Gray allowed four runs on three dingers last night, Masahiro Tanaka is trusted to be the stopper today against Boston.

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Tanaka has been a completely different pitcher since the All-Star break. After a 5.47 ERA in 18 first-half starts, the Japanese right-hander has pitched to a much-improved 2.96 ERA through seven second-half starts. He looks to build on his impressive August 27 start against Seattle, where he allowed just one earned run over seven innings.

Tanaka’s counterpart will be lefty Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz has not been charged with a loss since June 11. Since that outing, he carries a 2.31 ERA in 14 starts. He is 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.

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The Yankee lineup has been adjusted because of a freak incident with Starlin Castro. The Yankee second baseman had to have an emergency root canal, and cannot start in today’s game. Manager Joe Girardi said he is available off the bench.


Starting Lineups

Boston Red Sox
  1. Eduardo Núñez – SS
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Mookie Betts – RF
  4. Mitch Moreland – 1B
  5. Hanley Ramírez – DH
  6. Rafael Devers – 3B
  7. Christian Vazquez – C
  8. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF
  9. Tzu-Wei Lin – 2B
    Drew Pomeranz – P
New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Aaron Hicks – CF
  3. Gary Sánchez – C
  4. Aaron Judge – RF
  5. Didi Gregorius – SS
  6. Chase Headley – 3B
  7. Matt Holliday – DH
  8. Greg Bird – 1B
  9. Ronald Torreyes – 2B
    Masahiro Tanaka – P

Tigers 2, Yankees 0: Offense Goes Flatter Than Flat

Despite his poor numbers, Tigers’ starter Jordan Zimmermann looked like his old self. He dominated the Yankee offense, scattering six hits over seven innings in a 2-to-0 Yankee loss.

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The Yankees actually out-hit the Tigers, 7-to-6, but the Bombers wasted a quality start from Masahiro Tanaka. Rallies in the second, third and sixth proved to be fruitless for New York. The team was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Tanaka continued to struggle in the first inning, allowing three consecutive hits to start the game. But, he beared down to keep the damage at one run. The Tigers scored again in the fourth inning. Mikie Mahtook walked with two outs, and came around to score on a single and fielding error by Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Yankee offense never got going, stranding eight runners en route to their 0-for-9 line with runners in scoring position. Brett Gardner extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the third inning.

The only other Yankee highlight came in the eighth inning, when Dellin Betances set down Jim Adduci, Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera in an immaculate inning. He is the sixth Yankee to accomplish the feat, joining Brandon McCarthy, Iván Nova, A.J. Burnett, Ron Guidry and Al Downing.

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Next up for the Yankees is a four-game series in Cleveland, where Sonny Gray and Jaime García will make their Yankee debuts.


Aaron Hicks collected a single in three trips to the plate during the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A. Tyler Austin is expected to join him in Scranton shortly.