Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Following a masterful performance in a must-win Game 3 on Sunday, Masahiro Tanaka may have re-opened his case to opt-out of his contract after the season.
Tanaka shut out the Indians as everything in his arsenal was working, especially his splitter. He struck out seven while only allowing three scattered hits in seven innings.
It was the start the Yankees needed to stay alive, and according to manager Joe Girardi, it was the best he's seen from Tanaka.
"I know he had 15 strikeouts the other day," Girardi told the NY Daily News' John Harper, "but for me this is his best performance I've seen from him the whole time he's been here."
It may also have been the start Tanaka needed to opt-out of his seven-year, $155 million contract after the season. It has been an up-and-down season for the 27-year-old, and during the regular season, many speculated that Tanaka would not opt out of his deal due to his inconsistency.
However, Tanaka showed that he can perform in pressure situations, and this one start could change his mind.
If he is debating opting out, he must first see if he can get better than the $67 million the Yankees will give him over the next three years. As mentioned before, Tanaka has been inconsistent. Though postseason success deems pitchers more worthy of signing, this is only Tanaka's second start in October.
As for teams that may have the opportunity to bid for Tanaka, they must consider his partially torn elbow which will likely be a concern going forward.
"You can't take the elbow issue out of it completely," a rival GM said. "And when you add that in to the way he pitched this season, very up and down, it becomes too much of a risk if you're talking about $80 to $100 million. I'd be surprised if he opts out."
Tanaka will likely give an opt-out from thought. He may have had his bad moments, but he came to the MLB to do one thing: Win big games. And that is exactly what he showed Sunday night.
"I came here to pitch in these types of games," Tanaka said through an interpreter, "and be able to help the team win them."
He won. And now the Yankees sit on the edge of their seat waiting to see if he cashes in on the best performance of his career.