Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has the option to opt-out of his current deal, but some MLB executives and scouts think it would be an unwise decision.
Tanaka has until midnight Saturday to make his decision to test the open market, or stay put and earn $67 million with the Yankees over the next three years. He had a mediocre regular season, posting a 13-12 record and 4.74 ERA in 30 starts. However, he was lights out in the postseason with a 0.69 ERA in three starts.
He made a case to opt-out, but there is still his lingering right ulnar collateral ligament tear that is a turn-off to other ballclubs. Tanaka decided to rehab his injury rather than opt for Tommy John surgery. This decision is the main reason why teams are nervous to sign him.
"It always comes back to the medical," an AL talent evaluator told The Post. "If he is examined by a top-flight specialist, the doctor is going to red flag it. Look, we all know what kind of a competitor he is and have a lot of respect for him. But stricly from a medical standpoint, doctors are very conservative."
But what about his 15-strikeout performace in his last regular season start against the Blue Jays, and how he dominated two of the best offenses in baseball in the Indians and World Series-champion Astros? According to one AL execuitve, his medical history should keep him in pinstripes.
"Considering medical history and concerns moving forward it is hard to imagine he opts out," the executive said.
After the Yankees' loss in Game 7 of the ALCS, Tanaka didn't have any comment on his contract situation.
"Just disappointed in how things unfolded for us. I haven't had a chance to think about my contract," he said. "From a player's standpoint, you don't truly understand how you are perceived by other teams, so I can't give you a good answer. First time for me (with the contract), so I don't know how it is going to work out."
At the end of the day, it will be up to Tanaka whether or not he believes a team can top the $22.3 million he will make over the next three seasons. According to one AL East scout, he can't see another team taking a chance with that kind of money.
"I'd be shocked if anyone tops that. He performed down the stretch but that isnot representative of what he'll give you for the next three or four years during the regular season," the scout said. "I think he is making a mistake if he opts out."