David Shovein

Offseason Lowdown

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Lowdown: Staying in Stripes

Monday, November 6, 2017


Staying in Stripes


Masahiro Tanaka’s 2017 season got off to a brutal start, registering a cringe-inducing 6.34 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 76 ⅔ innings through his first 14 starts.


At that point, it seemed like the 29-year-old right-hander may have an albatross of a contract on their hands, owing him an additional $67 million over the next three seasons. Surely, many Yankees' fans were hoping that he would be able to salvage his season and perhaps decide to do the club a favor by opting out of his contract and exploring free agency.


He did much more than just salvage his season. Tanaka wound up posting a terrific 3.54 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 118/20 K/BB ratio across 101 ⅔ innings in his final 16 starts.


He wasn't finished though. Tanaka then dominated in his three postseason starts, allowing a total of two runs in 20 innings (0.90 ERA) while notching an 18/3 K/BB mark. He was so impressive down the stretch in fact, that most believed he would indeed opt-out of his contract.


Given the current state of the free agent market for starting pitchers, it’s likely that Tanaka could have earned himself a substantial raise on an even longer contract. So it came as a bit of a surprise on Friday when the right-hander announced he would be staying in Pinstripes.


In fact, he called it a “simple decision” to remain with the Yankees, noting that he loves playing there and wants to win a championship with the team. He nearly pitched the club to a World Series appearance in 2017 and should have a legitimate chance at making that dream a reality over the next three seasons.



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Mining for a new Deal


Royals’ left-hander Mike Minor officially declined his mutual option for 2018 on Friday, making him a free agent.


The 29-year-old southpaw was outstanding in his first full season out of the bullpen in 2017, compiling a 2.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 88/22 K/BB ratio across his 77 ⅔ innings of work.


He even finished the season in the closer’s role for the Royals, converting each of his six save chances after assuming the role on September 15.


It’s unclear if Minor will hit the open market looking to capitalize on his success in the late innings, or if he has a desire to return to the starting rotation. Either way though, he’ll earn a substantial raise over the $4 million that he brought home in 2017.


From a fantasy perspective, Minor would be a much more valuable commodity if he remained in the bullpen and was able to land a ninth-inning gig someplace. He has never has sustained success in the starting rotation and there are still question marks about his ability to remain healthy while shouldering the substantial workload that would come as a starter.

 

The Royals remain interested in bringing him back, and given his comfort level with the team, there could definitely be a fit here between the two sides, so long as the normally fiscally-responsible Royals are willing to open up their pocket books.





Quick Hits: Greg Holland declined his $15 million mutual option for 2018, making him a free agent. He led the National League with 41 saves in 2017 in an impressive comeback season following Tommy John surgery… Matt Wieters is expected to pick up his $10.5 million mutual option for 2018. He hit an extremely disappointing .225/.288/.344 with 10 homers and 52 RBI in his first season with the Nationals… The Mets have decided to pick up Asdrubal Cabrera’s $8.25 million option for 2018… The Marlins declined Ichiro Suzuki’s $2 million option for next season, meaning the 45-year-old will have to explore other opportunities if he wants to continue his big league career… The Indians picked up Michael Brantley’s $12 million option for 2018 despite him being limited to just 101 games over the past two seasons due to a wide array of injuries… The Orioles cut some dead weight and salary from their roster by not picking up their 2018 options on J.J. Hardy and Wade Miley… The Tigers’ hired Chris Bosio (formerly of the Cubs) as their new pitching coach while the Giants tabbed Curt Young (who was fired by the Athletics’ in June) for the same position… Alex Cora continued filling out his fist coaching staff, naming Tim Hyers as his hitting coach and Andy Barkett as his assistant hitting coach… Gary DiSarcina has joined the Mets’ coaching staff as new manager Mickey Callaway’s bench coach…  Ian Kennedy announced that he will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract with the Royals. He’ll earn $49 million over the next three seasons… The Blue Jays declined their $18 million option on Jose Bautista for 2018… Johnny Cueto announced that he will not opt out of his contract with the Giants. He’s set to earn $84 million over the final four seasons of his contract… Wei-Yin Chen informed the Marlins that he won’t opt out of his deal, leaving the club on the hook for $60 million over the next three seasons… The Dodgers declined Andre Ethier’s $17.5 million option for 2018, paying him a $2.5 million buyout instead… Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Roger Bernadina, 33, is interested in a return to the MLB after a monster 2017 season in the Korean Baseball Organization where he hit .320 with 27 homers, 111 RBI and 32 stolen bases.




Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.
Email :David Shovein



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