Yankees starter RHP Masahiro Tanaka has decided not to opt-out of the remaining three years on his contract with the team.
Tanaka had an opt-out clause in his contract following the 2017 season, and he made a case to do so after a strong postseason performance. After consideration, he believes New York has been his home and he doesn't want to change that anytime soon.
"I have decided to stay with the Yankees for the next three seasons. It was a simple decision for me as I have truly enjoyed the past four years playing for this organization and for the wonderful fans of New York," Tanaka wrote in a statement.
"I'm excited to continue to be a part of this team, and I'm committed to our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization, and the great fans of New York."
Tanaka will make $22.3 million over the next three seasons with the Yankees.
He finished the regular season with a 13-12 record and 3.96 ERA while posting a 2-1 record and 0.69 ERA in three starts this postseason.
The 28-year-old signed with the Yankees back in 2014.
I have to admit, I'm a bit surprised.
Not to suggest that we shouldn't take Tanaka's statement to heart, but we should also assume that Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, was not getting a good vibe from those in the marketplace where it concerned exercising the right-handers opt-out clause. The trepidation among teams would be two-fold; a terrible first-half performance and the lingering worry about the partial UCL tear in his pitching arm becoming a full blown one, which would necessitate surgery and at least a full year off.
Personally, I figured Tanaka could increase his guarantee to the $80-84 million mark, by adding a fourth year. However, the risk of ending up with less than the $67 million he'll get across the next three seasons was obviously not worth it to him. Further, if Tanaka is fortunate enough to stay healthy and perform as a No. 1/2 starter during the next three years, he would be entering free agency before his age-32 season and could net a sizable deal at that time.
Getting Tanaka back ensures the Yankees of a very strong top three in the rotation along with Sonny Gray and Luis Severino. The price, of course, is the Yankees will continue to be the club worrying about Tanaka's elbow. The contract was a risk in the first place with Tanaka coming from Japan, but it has paid off nicely and assuming health, He should continue to produce well enough to support the contract cost.