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Tanaka makes “simple decision” to stay with Yankees

Veteran right-hander has three years and $67 million left on his deal with New York.

Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka had until Saturday night to decide whether or not to execute an opt-out clause in his contract with the New York Yankees. On Friday, Tanaka said via a statement through the team that he would remain a member of the Yankees and not enter free agency.

“I have decided to stay with the Yankees for the next three seasons. It was a simple decision for me as I have truly enjoyed the past four years playing for this organization and for the wonderful fans of New York,” Tanaka said in the statement.

He has three years and $67 million left on his deal.

The return of Tanaka provides the Yankees some stability in the starting rotation. Despite a tough regular season, the right-hander performed exceptionally in the postseason. Tanaka allowed just two runs in 20 innings through three postseason starts. Overall, he was 13-12 with a career-worst 4.74 ERA.

Despite the career high ERA, Tanaka still ranked eighth in the American League with 194 strikeouts, seventh in K/9 IP ratio (9.79), fourth in K/BB ratio (4.73) and third in BB/9 IP ratio (2.07).

Where does he fit in rotation?

Tanaka will slid into a rotation that likely consists of ace Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and the potential return of free agent CC Sabathia. If the Yankees do not resign Sabathia, they know they at least have a consistent figure in Tanaka to be a solid mid-rotation pitcher. Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams are potential internal options for the rotation as well. Even if the Yankees pursue a free agent pitcher, figure Tanaka to be in the middle area of the rotation.

Of course, it’s still not known who will manage Tanaka and the Yankees this season. The organization has not yet named a replacement for Joe Girardi who did not have his contract renewed.



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