“Stoking The Fire Segment” – Tanaka Will Miss Over A Years Worth Of Work In 7 Year Deal From ‘TJS’ Avoidance
Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) Follow @stokes_Hunter21
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What is better: 5 Years and an average of 200 Innings Thrown, or 6 years of throwing 150 – 165 IP?
The diagnosis of Masahiro Tanaka‘s slightly torn elbow was first disclosed in July of 2014. Had he gone for Tommy John Surgery there for repair, he could be back at full strength right about now in time.
Instead of going ahead with a procedure (that is operating at about an 86% rate of full return for pitchers,) the Japanese born Tanaka has been nursing the injury since the start of the 2015 season.
Having signed a 7 year deal worth $155 MIL – that also included a $20 MIL posting fee, the Yankees were hoping to land an ace that could pivot their rotation from 2014 – 2020.
While it is amazing the man can even throw with this lingering issue, Tanaka authored a great WHIP of 0.994 and a respectable ERA of 3.51 in 24 Game Starts during 2015. Here is the problem though, he missed 2 months of the season when his elbow flared up.
Rarely does Joe Girardi ever let him throw more than 100 pitches in a contest either, as the Yankees ace only registered that many in 9 of 24 Game Starts last season.
As good as Tanaka was in 2015, his Homer Rate went up, His SO rate went down, and he authored an ERA that was three quarters of a run higher than his Rookie Year, where he was more durable and effective – with 14 of his starts eclipsing 100 pitches or more.
The Yankees have compensated for the lack of innings that the entire Starting Rotation seems to lack, with ever pressing injury issues to Michael Pineda, high pitch count of Nathan Eovaldi, the Innings limit the club will set forth for Luis Severino, and of course Tanaka – with a dominant Bullpen.
The brass has also traded away many depth SP like David Phelps, Adam Warren and Shane Greene (also had Chase Whitley was claimed off of waivers following his own TJ surgery) – and only brought back Nathan Eovaldi in those transactions as a Starter.
The idea is that they did not address the depth with any Free Agents or trades in the winter, so if there are a few injuries to the Yankees rotation, this could get ugly.
Luis Severino has also added his arm to the Major League Level since the middle of last year. Honestly, are they going to throw him for any more Innings than Tanaka in 2016? Probably not.
I will always think they did not do the right thing here in avoiding the TJ procedure right then and there during 2014.
We have already stated the best case scenario for Tanaka. It is almost a guarantee that he will be shut down for 6 – 8 starts every year based on his health concerns. Over the course of the next 5 campaigns that equates to a full season worth of starts.
Maybe the Yankees will win the World Series in this time frame, and that would be a way to justify the decision back then.
2016 would represent the franchise’s best chance with having late inning anchors Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances shortening the game to 6 or 7 innings before they lock the contests down.
If New York does win a title in the next 5 years I will eat my words here. Whatever ends up happening in 2016, the management had better have a model plan to add plenty of Starters to the fold for the next several seasons.
The worst case scenario is that Tanaka will eventually tear his UCL clean anyway – ultimately to be sidelined 12 – 18 months. Hopefully this is no occur this season where the depth is razor thin.
Another thing that comes into play is his salary. Should he play the entire duration of his deal without needing the surgery, and author his 24 – 26 Game Starts, the Yankees would not get a full return on their dollars invested. At least if he were to do TJS, than the club could collect insurance.
This will continue to intrigue me something fierce. What is Tanaka’s exact percentage of health right now: 85 – 90%? Until this arm finally blows, the Yanks fans will hold their collective breath each time he takes the mound.
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A big thanks goes out to our ‘Chief Writer/Part Owner’ Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured post.
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Posted on April 15, 2016, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged adam warren, AL East, andrew miller, aroldis chapman, brian cashman, cc sabathia, Chase Whitley, david phelps, dellin betances, didi gregorius, ivan nova, joe blanton, luis severino, masahiro tanaka, michael pineda, nathan eovaldi, new york yankees, shane greene, starlin castro, Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Pitching Staff 2016. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.