It is hardly a surprise that Masahiro Tanaka will not be a Detroit Tiger, and it’s also not a surprise that he ended up a member of the New York Yankees.
Still many Tigers’ fans had hopes that Tanaka would come to Detroit and that the Tigers were the oft-rumored “mystery” team vying for the Japanese export’s services, much like how they came out of nowhere to knock the socks off Prince Fielder in a surprise deal in 2012.
Alas, it was perhaps THE front-runner, the Yankees, who gobbled him up. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs were also among the strong candidates to sign Tanaka, with rumors swirling late last week that the Cubs were the first team to offer him a contract.
The contract is reported to be seven years and $155 million. This is in addition to the $20 million fee the Yankees will have to pay to Tanaka’s former team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
After a few years off at big spending, the Yankees have also lassoed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. According to USA Today, the Yankees have spent $438 million in a bid to return to the postseason after sitting it out in 2013.
While the Tigers were likely not serious contenders in the Tanaka sweepstakes, it may affect them in the short-term. Tanaka, extensively a rookie in Major League Baseball, will now be the fifth highest paid pitcher in the game. This, coupled with Clayton Kershaw‘s monster extension, likely means Max Scherzer‘s price tag continues to rise.