Although the Yankees lost Masahiro Tanaka in free agency, the Bronx Bombers should be just fine with their current rotation.
The first Spring Training games are just 13 days away, and the Yankees are wrapping up a very active offseason. It is rumored that the Bombers will be bringing in another reliever in Justin Wilson to support the bullpen, but beyond that, the Yanks retained star second baseman DJ LeMahieu and added arms like Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Darren O’Day. However, the Pinstripers did lose one of their more consistent starters over the past seven years when Masahiro Tanaka signed a two-year contract worth roughly $8.6 million per year.
Yes, Tanaka had a very solid Yankee career, and yes, the loss of him does indeed hurt, the Bombers should be just fine without him.
Yankees add Rotation Reinforcements
The Yankees came into the offseason knowing they had work to do in the starting pitching department with both Tanaka and James Paxton (who reportedly inked a deal with the Seattle Mariners) hitting the open market. It was wondered across the fanbase if the Bombers would retain their two free-agent arms, go outside the organization, or a combination of both. As it turns out now, the Yankees decided to turn to the trade and free-agent market to fill their rotation holes.
The Yankees signed Corey Kluber to a one-year deal shortly after re-signing DJ LeMahieu, and then went out and acquired Pittsburgh Pirates arm, Jameson Taillon, for a package of four prospects. Furthermore, the Yanks also improved their rotation depth, signing Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league deal, who would probably be one of the first arms up if anyone in the Opening Day rotation goes down with an injury.
Young Arms to Fill In?
Luckily for the Yankees, they do have a few young arms that will probably get some starts at some point this year. Both Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt got a taste of big-league action in 2020, and I expect that to increase in 2021. Among Schmidt and Garcia, arms like Nick Nelson and Michael King are also pieces that can make a few starts over the course of the season. Although these players aren’t stretched-out starters that can go seven-plus innings, they’re pieces that can start a ballgame and maybe go four innings or so before passing the ball off to the bullpen.
So yes, losing Tanaka does hurt. He was everything you would want in a baseball player, and I, as well as many other Yankees fans, will miss seeing him get the ball every five days. But from a baseball perspective, the Yanks should be able to survive given their current rotation