Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tanaka Introductory Presser Wrap-Up

This was it.  The one we've been waiting for.  The introductory press conference we all secretly hoped would happen this offseason, even if we didn't have the guts to say it out loud.  Masahiro Tanaka was introduced to the NY media at Yankee Stadium today and the spectacle did not disappoint.  Tanaka kicked things off by dropping 195 thou to charter a 787 for himself, his wife, a few buddies, and his pet poodle, which is the best possible thing he could have done to make me a bigger fan of his.  If you missed any of today's festivities, here are the highlights:

Looking Good, Ma-kun

Is it me or does everybody just look sharper in a Yankee uniform?  Tanaka burning up the podium right now during his introductory presser.  Can't wait to see him on a mound.

P.S.- Yanks reportedly handed out 200+ press passes for this, more than double what they gave out for McCann, Ellsbury, or Beltran.  PR man said this was their biggest press conference since Hideki Matsui's introductory one in '03.  Crazy.

Don't Sleep On The Importance Of Ivan Nova

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Before January 22nd, Ivan Nova was a, perhaps THE, critical part of the starting rotation for 2014.  The Yankees' top 2 starters were older and both coming off varying degrees of tough seasons.  CC Sabathia was downright bad for most of 2013 and Hiroki Kuroda stumbled to the finish line after another heavy workload.  With a bunch of unproven back end guys behind him, Nova was going to be expected to carry a much bigger portion of the rotation load if one of the top 2 faltered again or got hurt, and he was going to have to pitch really well if the Yankees were going to have any chance of making it back to the postseason.

After January 22nd, and the addition of Masahiro Tanaka to the rotation, it's almost as if Nova has become an afterthought.  Tanaka has cast a much brighter glow over the entire rotation, turning Sabathia into a fit, trim former ace ready to bounce back and reclaim his title, Kuroda back into the reliable #2 he's really always been, and making the 5th starter competition much less important than it was on January 21st.  And sitting there penciled into the 4th rotation slot is Nova, the now 27-year-old right-hander coming off a career year whose importance to the Yankees' success is no longer as crucial as it was 3 weeks ago.

Report: Yanks Still Connected To Ervin Santana

I expected the Yankees' interest in guys like Garza, Jimenez, and Santana to die off once the Tanaka deal became official, but a few days away from pitchers and catchers reporting here they are, still reportedly "inquiring" about Santana.  Is there anything to this?

Doubt it.  Santana,  good 2013 aside, hasn't been much since 2008.  He's very flyball prone, very very homer prone, and definitely not a good fit for pitching in YS3.  He's also not worth giving up another draft pick for, especially with Tanaka in the fold and the Yanks having plenty of org depth.  I'd say they're just keeping their name attached to him to try to drive up the price at this point, but in looking at the clubs that are still interested, should they even be doing that?  Just let it go, guys.  You don't want Ervin Santana, we don't want Ervin Santana.  Let somebody else have him and sign Stephen Drew.