What Masahiro Tanaka’s Injury Means For The Yankees In 2014 + 2015

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL - with their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013.  The club is barely at .500, and must realize their is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks.  The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least 6 weeks with a UCL tear, the Yankees are dealing with 4/5ths of their opening day rotation now on the DL – and their 5th starter (Kuroda) having struggled in the 2nd half of 2013. The club is barely at .500, and must realize there is an opportunity to reset the 50% Luxury Tax Threshold to 0, by slashing some payroll via trades in the next 3 weeks. The worst thing this organization could do would try to salvage this year, like they did in 2013, by adding payroll, flipping prospects, for an ill-advised playoff run that the odds are stacked up against.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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I have talked at length about the Yankees precarious position of defining whether or not they are contenders or not, and whether they should seek selling off some assets, to fall below the $189 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold – or if the franchise should run at a postseason berth in Derek Jeter‘s last season.

Seeing that Masahiro Tanaka will be out for at least 6 weeks with a partially torn UCL on his pitching arm, and possibly be out with Tommy John Surgery afterwards, this season outlook is becoming bleak.

Even with the Japanese superstar throwing at a premium level, the club would have a longshot chance to make the playoffs – and do some damage.

Cashman and his management team, plus scouts have brutalized the Minor League System to the point where they can never turn to it in a time of need,  The club must get under the luxury tax threshold of $189 in 2014, so they can reset their penalty. so that they can even field a competitive squad in 2015.  The current CBA, (expiring at the end of 2016) allows a team to reset their tax by going under the limit just once.  The roster for 2015 and 2016 depends on the ability of the Yankees GM to clear about $10 - $13 MIL off the books in the next 20 days.

Cashman and his management team, plus scouts have brutalized the Minor League System to the point where they can never turn to it in a time of need, The club must get under the luxury tax threshold of $189 in 2014, so they can reset their penalty. so that they can even field a competitive squad in 2015. The current CBA, (expiring at the end of 2016) allows a team to reset their tax by going under the limit just once. The roster for 2015 and 2016 depends on the ability of the Yankees GM to clear about $10 – $13 MIL off the books in the next 20 days.

By the numbers, you would think they may have a shot.  Even with a 46 – 46 record, they are just 5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles, and are 3.5 Games Behind the Mariners for the last WildCard Spot.

But with Tanaka being out, he joins Ivan Nova (TJ Surgery), CC Sabathia (knee,) and Michael Pineda (Shoulder) as 4 of the opening day roster starters on the DL List.

CC Sabathia  needed to revert back to his former ace like status for the Yankees to have competed for the AL East Division in 2014.  At $23 MIL per year, he is paid based on his totals from mid 2008 - 2011 when he was one of the best pitchers in the game.  In 5 years with the NYY, he is still 88 - 52, with a 3.52 ERA - despite a poor 2013 campaign, where he went 14 - 13, with a 4.78 ERA - and an AL leading 112 ER against.  He is signed though 2017.

CC Sabathia needed to revert back to his former ace like status for the Yankees to have competed for the AL East Division in 2014. At $23 MIL per year, he is paid based on his totals from mid 2008 – 2011 when he was one of the best pitchers in the game. In 5 years with the NYY, he is still 88 – 52, with a 3.52 ERA – despite a poor 2013 campaign, where he went 14 – 13, with a 4.78 ERA – and an AL leading 112 ER against.  His year is likely over with his bum knee, and there has to be questions whether or not he can ever pitch well again.  He is signed though 2017.  This season he held a 5.28 ERA, and had a 3 – 4 record in 8 Game Starts.  The team must also worry about Pineda.  If the club resets their payroll, they can go after ace pitchers, and not have to pay a 50% penalty on Luxury Taxes to replace these guys.

The only survivor of the club’s rotation is Hiroki Kuroda, and the team had to talk him out of retirement in 2014, following a brutal last 6 weeks of pitching in the 2013 campaign.

Carlos Beltran is hurt (Knee inflammation, concussion).. Brian McCann is playing up to his 2012 standards, and not the contract he signed for, based on a decent 2013 season.  

The club also has already DFA’d Alfonso Soriano for bad play.

Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Brian Roberts have played about as well as you could as experts might have predicted, with Jacoby Ellsbury just falling out of the realm of where he should be.

But honestly, with the Starters all being out, there is not much optimism for a deep playoff run, even if they were to somehow squeeze into the playoffs.

Trading for Jeff Francis yesterday los isn’t going to cut it, but helps a little for depth.

There is no way the club is catching Los Angeles for the 1st Wild Card Slot, so that would leave the 2nd spot up for grabs.

Seattle, Toronto, Cleveland, New York, Kansas City, with maybe the White Sox, or the Rays/Red Sox may come back into the picture, will be fighting for the last spot.

With the offense struggling as it is, with the starters now going down, it simply doesn’t look realistic for the ‘Bronx Bombers’ to do it this year.

I originally has said if New York was in contention, they could add several players to their trade candidates, however that all goes by the wayside with what has transpired in the last few weeks.  The Yankees fans should not stand for a bad team for the next 3 - 4 years, and it is bad business for this franchise to proceed with stating their is a chance for the 2014 year in terms of a World Series.

I originally has said if New York was in contention, they could add several players to their trade candidates, however that all goes by the wayside with what has transpired in the last few weeks. The Yankees fans should not stand for a bad team for the next 3 – 4 years, and it is bad business for this franchise to proceed with stating there is a chance for the 2014 year in terms of a postseason berth – and World Series.  More importantly, trading more prospects, and adding payroll at a 50% surcharge, is not a  good business practice when the team sits where it does currently.

So what do they do?

Right now, the payroll is hovering around the $200 MIL mark for AAV listed.  The team is paying Brandon McCarthy only about $3 MIL of his 2014 salary.

I would see what happens in Baltimore first this weekend.  If the club can win the series (by winning the next 2), than maybe you could prolong the talk about trading veterans for a week or so.

The only reason why I would entertain those thoughts – are because the Yanks will be hitting the break having tackled 53 road games, as opposed to just 41 games at Yankee Stadium.

The club could knock down their division deficit to 3 with a sweep of the last two games.

Anything less than that will result in a 5 game deficit or higher (7 with a sweep), considering they are playing the O’s in a 3 game set at Camden Yards Friday through Sunday.

If the squad can’t win this series it is definitely time to start dealing.

The club must find a way to clear about $10 MIL off of the payroll for the last 2 months plus of the year, to go under $189 MIL.

Given if the club could trade these players away for the last third of the year, the easiest way to accomplish this mark, would be to trade Hiroki Kuroda ($5.3) MIL, David Robertson ($1.7 MIL), Ichiro Suzuki ($2.1 MIL), Brian Roberts (700 K) + Kelly Johnson ($1 MIL) all by the 31st of July.

Those totals could save on the AAV a little more if they are dealt even before that.

You could actually also trade McCarthy yet again ($3 MIL) and finalize a way to get under the cap.)

The team is at a 50% Luxury Tax penalty for every dollar spent over the $189 MIL, so if they were to add payroll via trades right now, essentially you would add 50% more to every guy you brought into the fold

Alex Rodriguez's suspension for the 2014 season for PED's is the luckiest break the team could have received.  While the club ultimately renegotiated their stance on spending more the Luxury Tax Threshold for this campaign, with bringing in 10 Free Agent prior to the 2014 season.  The good news is that the club didn't go so far over the limit - that they couldn't fall under it by trading off a few players.

Alex Rodriguez’s suspension for the 2014 season for PED’s is the luckiest break the team could have received. While the club ultimately renegotiated their stance on spending more the Luxury Tax Threshold for this campaign, with bringing in 10 Free Agent prior to the 2014 season. The good news is that the club didn’t go so far over the limit – that they couldn’t fall under it by trading off a few players.  You also have his bonuses for reaching milestones cutting into the yearly AAV going forward.

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In 2015, the Yankees will have suspended PED user Alex Rodriguez back on the team’s budget ($27 MIL AAV), and the squad is already at $161 MIL, and that is despite having many of the veterans leaving the club after this year.

Derek Jeter is retiring, David Robertson is without a deal past 2014, Hiroki Kuroda’s contract is also up.

This means if Masahiro Tanaka has to go under the knife, all 5 starters at the beginning of the year will be in question to start the 2015 season.

You can’t count on Michael Pineda, with only a handful of starts in his Yankees regime. Sabathia may have a tough time ever pitching again.

So here in lies another dilemma for the organization.

This team needs to spend money in this offseason to bolster the chances for the team going forward.

The bottom line is that New York should want to fall underneath the Luxury Tax Threshold in either 2014 or 2015 to reset their penalty on team salary.

Once they do comply with the rules for one year, the 1st year penalty now will reset to a 17.5% penalty on their 1st season going over the limit again.

That is a 32.5% savings on what the club would spend this year for every dollar spent past $189 MIL.

If the brass does this move, they could run rampant on the Free Agency Market yet again in the fall once the 2014 World Series is over..

Max Scherzer is a Free Agent after this season, and will command in the ballpark of a 6 - 7 Years deal approaching the $25 - $28 MIL a year contract  The Yankees could be the frontrunner for the RHP if they reset their spending tax.  With Tanaka potentially being out for the majority of the 2015 campaign with a possible TJ surgery. signing Scherzer would give the club the ace they need.

Max Scherzer is a Free Agent after this season, and will command in the ballpark of a 6 – 7 Years deal approaching the $25 – $28 MIL a year contract The Yankees could be the frontrunner for the RHP if they reset their spending tax. With Tanaka potentially being out for the majority of the 2015 campaign with a possible TJ surgery. signing Scherzer would give the club the ace they need.

The likes of Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Ian Kennedy, Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval could all be brought in, and all the better with a cascading price of draft picks downward for compensation ( from 1st RD to 6th RD).

If the team stays at status quo, or adds to the payroll, the will remain in the 50% bracket, and risk paying more money for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Again with the pitching status of the staff looking so bleak for next campaign, they will easily blow the $189 MIL mark out of the water.

Besides, there is not many game changers for the club to land, that would put the team up the totem poles of favorites.

Not only that, the Yanks do have a decent Minor League System, but they hardly could win a bargaining battle with many other teams competing for the so called ‘pivotal guys’ left on the trade table.

Hiroki Kuroda has thrown better over the last few weeks - after a slow start to the 2014 year.  Before the season, the 39 Year Old RHP inked a deal for 1 YR/$16 MIL.  Perhaps the Dodgers would come calling for a trade for this man considering Josh Beckett has been plagued with injuries the last few years.  The Pinstripers could take back a player OF like Scott Van Slyke or maybe a Stephen Fife to add to the Starting Rotation,

Hiroki Kuroda has thrown better over the last few weeks – after a slow start to the 2014 year. Before the season, the 39 Year Old RHP inked a deal for 1 YR/$16 MIL. Perhaps the Dodgers would come calling for a trade for this man considering Josh Beckett has been plagued with injuries the last few years. The Pinstripers could take back a player OF like Scott Van Slyke or maybe a Stephen Fife to add to the Starting Rotation,

There would be several teams vying for the veterans the team has.  Kuroda would be a nice fit in Los Angeles, and maybe New York could receive a 4th OF in return like Scott Van Slyke for his services.

Ichiro Suzuki was almost traded to the Astros before the year. and the Yanks are lucky the 40 year old OF is still with the club.  At a .306/.357/.347 Slash Line, he has earned his keep.  With many playoff contenders needing OF help, someone certainly wouldn't balk at picking up his prorated contract of $6.5 MIL for the rest of the year.  Again, it is another expiring contract to the mix.

Ichiro Suzuki was almost traded to the Astros before the year. and the Yanks are lucky the 40 year old OF is still with the club. At a .306/.357/.347 Slash Line, he has earned his keep. With many playoff contenders needing OF help, someone certainly wouldn’t balk at picking up his prorated contract of $6.5 MIL for the rest of the year. Again, it is another expiring contract to the mix.

The Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners and several other clubs could use an extra OF like Suzuki.

David Robertson would command a nice return on the trade market.  This Yankees team could easily give the reigns to Dellin Betances for 2015 as a replacement.  D-Rob will likely be due a big raise from the 2014 salary of $5.2 MIL.  The team could benefit from some assets back in the deal.

David Robertson would command a nice return on the trade market. This Yankees team could easily give the reigns to Dellin Betances for 2015 as a replacement. D-Rob will likely be due a big raise from the 2014 salary of $5.2 MIL. The team could benefit from some assets back in the deal.

Could you imagine the haul for a David Robertson in this market, with Tigers, Giants or Dodgers trade as clubs that need a late inning arm to add to the arsenal?

Kelly Johnson or Brian Roberts would help shore up the Giants/A’s at 2B – or especially the Reds – who just lost Brandon Phillips – who down with a thumb injury and is out 8- 12 weeks.

Brandon McCarthy may help all of the playoff teams that are left on the table except for the Tigers, Dodgers, A’s, Giants and Nationals.

You best believe the Angels, Mariners, Braves, Pirates or Cardinals with their recent health would be interested in acquiring the RHP.

Derek Jeter is leaving a legacy of greatness that would not be curtailed by the teams 1st losing season in over 20 years.  Yes, that would be what would probably happen if they dealt some more veterans away.  But he has 5 World Series Rings in 7 appearances, and he would know the team is setting themselves up for future seasons by doing the move.

Derek Jeter is leaving a legacy of greatness that would not be curtailed by the teams 1st losing season in over 20 years. Yes, that would be what would probably happen if they dealt some more veterans away. But he has 5 World Series Rings in 7 appearances, and he would know the team is setting themselves up for future seasons by doing the move.

Yes, the Pinstripers might have a tough 2nd half negotiation enough warm bodies to fill departing guys, but you could still start with Chase Whitley, David Phelps, and of course you may add young starters back in the deal that are on Entry Level Contracts.

David Huff and Adam Warren both have also started in the past.

I wouldn’t worry about constructing a Bullpen for 2015 either, as the ability to spend money once the year ends, will net you several Free Agent opportunities like Casey Janssen, Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher  just to name a few.

Whatever the scenario, it will not be pretty.  But it may take 2 months of hell to kickstart 3 or 4 years of good squads going forward.

The Yankees are in serious trouble for the rest of this year to make the playoffs.  If they had Tanaka still, and many of the offensive players were pulling their weight, I would say they could make a run it for Jeter's final year.  ESPN has them at a 9.7% chance to make the playoffs as of today, and I think that is mighty generous.  Do the wise thing by selling off some wanted commodities on your roster, and set the franchise up for the next 3 to 4 year by resetting all the penalties.  Once they do this, the club could spend nearly $300 MIL on payroll next year, and they would pay $20 MIL only in penalties as a 1st time offender (17.5%).

The Yankees are in serious trouble for the rest of this year to make the playoffs. If they had Tanaka still, and many of the offensive players were pulling their weight, I would say they could make a run it for Jeter’s final year. ESPN has them at a 9.7% chance to make the playoffs as of today, and I think that is mighty generous. Do the wise thing by selling off some wanted commodities on your roster, and set the franchise up for the next 3 to 4 year by resetting all the penalties. Once they do this, the club could spend nearly $300 MIL on payroll next year, and they would pay $20 MIL only in penalties as a 1st time offender (17.5%).  Not saying they would spend that much, just illustrating they could spend less than the $25 MIL they doled out last year for a $236 MIL team payroll.  At 50% this season, and at $200 MIL right now, the penalty would be just $5.5 MIL.  If they trade for big contracts, it comes at the penalty rate as an add on to whatever salary a new guy would bring in.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker

Posted on July 12, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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