'98 Yanks rally to tie All-Time Yankee series with '51 team

Series tied: 2-2
Knobby, Jeet, sparkplugs!
Gil takes El Duque downtown!
In dramatic appearance, Joe D ignites stadium!
Mo flubs lead, then comes through!
Billy fails!
Next up: Vic Raschi v David Cone!
REMATCH!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Masahiro Tanaka deserves more from the Yankees than a staring contest

Yesterday, as the winter slogged - (get this: Syracuse is nearly 40 inches behind Bingotown in the Golden Snowball race) - I found myself pondering the infamous Yankee rotation of 2020, and how, right now, I'd take it in a heartbeat over what we currently face. 

Of course, this will soon change. Any day now, the Prime Domino - D.J. LeMahieu - will choose to stay or go, unleashing an avalanche of trades in which Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman seeks to cobble together a pitching staff from prospects and excess corner outfielders. But what if the Yankees simply kept what they had: 

Gerrit Cole
Big Maple Paxton
Masahiro Tanaka
Old Man Happ
Whomever has a pulse

Of the group, J.A. Happ is certainly the most likely to not reappear. Next year, he'll be 38, old enough to run for President. Paxton and Tanaka will be 32 - too old for animal control officer, but maybe town aldermen? Or should we look at ages? Last year, nobody threw more than 73 innings - that from Iron Man Cole. If we're talking arm stress, note that Happ threw just 49 innings, Tanaka 48 and Paxton checked in with a measly 20. It's as if they took the year off and did 'ludes. Could such a year extend their careers? And how do we gauge their performance over such a brief period? At the end, Paxton had healed, and even Happ pitched well down the stretch. 

Listen: The Yankiverse doesn't want a repeat of 2020. Changes are coming. Happ and Paxton look like two of the ever-changing faces who wear the cap and move on. But Tanaka, he's a different story. 

This will be his eighth year in MLB. Thus far, they've all been with the Yankees. He's pitched the last six with a slightly torn ligament - the kind that often sends pitchers on an 18-month hiatus. His innings count in the four previous years - 199, 178, 156, 182 - shows a guy who simply takes the ball when handed to him. He is nearly a great Yankee, along the lines of Piniella, O'Neill, Tino or Gardner. If the Yankees let him go, it would be hard not to think his language and heritage had something to do with it. 

(Wait a minute: I'm not accusing anybody of racism, but simply saying the language barrier has always hindered Tanaka's ability to engage the fanbase. He can't speak to fans without an interpreter. So maybe the fans have to speak for him, right? So that's what I'm going to do...)  

Last week, a rumor surfaced that Tanaka will either pitch for the Yankees or return to Japan. His agent quickly debunked it - why be hobbled in contract negotiations? - but, frankly, it shouldn't even get to such a cheesy level. Masahiro Tanaka has earned not only his pinstripes, but the opportunity to pitch his entire MLB career as a Yankee. The Yankees say they won't make any moves until LeMahiue issues his decision. Okay, I get that. But signing Tanaka would hardly affect those talks. If anything, I think it would show LeMahieu that the Yankees do notice loyalty - and that they're not afraid to show some, themselves.

JEEZE, YANKEES, SIGN THE GUY! IF HE GOES ELSEWHERE, TRUST ME, THE MINUTE HE SIGNS WITH ANOTHER TEAM, YOU'LL WONDER WHAT YOU WERE THINKING, AND YOU'LL WISH YOU HAD HIM BACK. HE'LL BE 32. HE'S GOT THREE TO FIVE YEARS. HE'S ALREADY TRANSITIONING TO A "GUILE" PITCHER, THE GUY WHO FIGURES OUT WHAT HE'S GOT AND THEN MAKES THE BEST OF IT. WTF ARE YOU WAITING FOR. SIGN HIM!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts...

1) 714 Used To Mean Something Else

"It's as if they took the year off and did 'ludes. Could such a year extend their careers"

Maybe. Didn't help me much.

2) A Tanaka Tanaka Joke

Tanaka. Tanaka.
Who's there?
Tanaka.
Tanaka who?
Seriously? Now you don't know me? This is how you treat me after all I've given you?

Ok... let's try this again

Tanaka. Tanaka.
Who's there?
Tanaka.
Tanaka who?
Some one needs to knocka you stupid heads together and get me a contract.

That was a lot of work there.

Doug K.


JM said...

Sign the Professor. And see if Mr. Fuji is still available.

Doug, you're working too hard. Take a couple ludes and relax.

By the way, my ludes record was four in one go, although I have to point out they were Mexican ludes and I don't know if they were legit from a pharmaceutical point of view.

Got a lot of sleep that night.

Kevin said...

Tanaka must stay. But what I think the real issue that's bound to come up soon is collusion. I knows it when I sees it. The older I get the more disgusted with pro sports I become. Ok, which one of you guys has a line on 'ludes? I neeeed a cheep of one. ;0