"It was a simple decision," Tanaka stated in an announcement early Friday evening.
In a somewhat surprising announcement Friday night—one that will definitely have ripple effects through the free agent market—Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka decided not to opt out of his contract with the team and play out the remaining three years.
The righthander dubbed his contractual choice a "simple decision" and he'll now collect the remaining $67 million he's owed through the next three seasons.
Tanaka endured a miserable year and at times appeared to be one of the worst starters in baseball. He finished his fourth major league campaign this year with a 13-12 record, which is nothing more than a facade for his 4.74 ERA, 1.239 WHIP, and 35 home runs allowed (tied for fourth-most in baseball). He did, however, figure something out about pitching at Yankee Stadium in the season's final stretch.
Lowest Home ERA 2nd Half 2017 Reg. Season (min. 35 IP):— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) November 3, 2017
Corey Kluber 0.99
Masahiro Tanaka 1.29
Justin Verlander 1.30
A surprise postseason turnaround also complicated Tanaka's situation. He allowed only two runs across 20 innings (three starts), headlined by the seven shutout innings thrown in ALDS Game 3 that spearheaded the Yankees' furious comeback against the Indians. Did Tanaka wield enough leverage from his clutch performances to squeeze more money and/or years out of the Yankees? Evidently, no.
Tanaka's decision to stay simplifies New York's offseason, as it prepared to watch both Tanaka and CC Sabathia enter free agency. Now the Yankees enter 2018 with a formidable rotation led by Luis Severino, Tanaka and Sonny Gray.
Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta remain as the two best starting pitchers available on the market.