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SBD/January 22, 2014/Franchises
Yankees Win Tanaka Sweepstakes, Agree To $155M Contract With Japanese Star
Published January 22, 2014
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HIGH PRICE TAG: ESPN.com reports Tanaka will receive the "highest contract for an international free agent and the fifth-largest deal for a pitcher, trailing only those" of Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Felix Hernandez (Mariners) and CC Sabathia (Yankees) (ESPN.com, 1/22). ESPN's Buster Olney said, "To put that number in perspective, that's what Zack Greinke got, in that range, after winning a Cy Young Award." Olney noted he did not "necessarily think that the Alex Rodriguez suspension and the fact that they won't necessarily have to pay him in 2014 was a big factor because I think the Yankees were going to be aggressive either way" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/22). SI.com's Albert Chen writes Tanaka's $155M deal "might seem insane, but given the market, the new economics of the game, New York's need for quality starting pitching and Tanaka's talent, it might not be insane at all" (SI.com, 1/22).
FAR EAST MOVEMENT: Tanaka becomes the third Japanese player on the Yankees' roster, joining RF Ichiro Suzuki and P Hiroki Kuroda, causing MLB Network's Harold Reynolds to say the club has "just taken in a whole country in Japan." Reynolds: "If I live in Japan, I'm watching the Yankees. They're on all the time (in Japan), and you've got to look at the financial repercusions of that." The Post's Sherman noted the Yankees are "always looking to globalize this brand" ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 1/22).