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Just in time: Tanaka being introduced at Yankee Stadium

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 11, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Masahiro TanakaThe timing of today’s guest post worked out pretty well. The Pinch Hitter schedule was set weeks ago, and Pete’s about moving on from Robinson Cano just happened to run on the very day that the Yankees are officially introducing Masahiro Tanaka.

If this day isn’t about moving forward, I don’t know what is.

For the most part, I agree with Pete’s four keys to the Yankees making a serious playoff run without Cano. They need their returning players to have much better seasons than they had last year. They need their inexperienced pitchers to perform well. They will eventually need a minor leaguer to plug a hole (and actually perform). And a repeat of last year’s injuries would, of course, be catastrophic.

Mostly, though, I think the key here is that no one player is going to replace Cano. The Yankees certainly don’t have a second baseman who’s at Cano’s level, and as you sort through this revamped lineup, there’s no longer a clear-cut, no-argument, best hitter on the team. Even the rotation might not have a definite No. 1. CC Sabathia is still the ace — he still carries that label, still seems a lock for Opening Day — but it seems possible that any one of the Yankees top four starters could have the team’s best year on the mound (top five if you’re incredibly optimistic about Michael Pineda).

Tanaka is going to get a lot of attention, beginning with today’s fourth introductory press conference of the offseason. There’s going to be a ton of focus on Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira as spring training opens. All of the new guys are carrying extremely high expectations. Dave Robertson is being asked to fill a set of unfillable shoes. Even guys like Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts — bottom-of-the-order role players on this roster — carry importance because of who they’re replacing.

I’m reminded of something David Cone said at last week’s Munson Awards Dinner.

“It’s going to be a much more interesting lineup, a much more dynamic lineup,” Cone said. “… Certainly a much more interesting team. Better is going to be up for grabs.”

Associated Press photo

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20 Responses to “Just in time: Tanaka being introduced at Yankee Stadium”

  1. yankeefeminista February 11th, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Go Tanaka-san!

    http://insider.espn.go.com/blo.....st?id=4840

  2. blake February 11th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    @JonHeymanCBS: at this rate, tanaka’s $155M will be gone by july. @EyeOnBaseball http://t.co/EX2DxxfIOd

    I like how this cat rolls

  3. yankeefeminista February 11th, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Erik Boland ?@eboland11 2h
    This Tanaka airplane story indeed is shocking: an already well-off guy who just came into $155 million apparently lives a life of luxury

    Careful, Masahiro! Joe and Jane Average may not like this.

  4. Cashmoney February 11th, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Mostly, though, I think the key here is that no one player is going to replace Cano. The Yankees certainly don’t have a second baseman who’s at Cano’s level, and as you sort through this revamped lineup, there’s no longer a clear-cut, no-argument, best hitter on the team.
    —–
    That is very true. Lawrie would be good candidate to off set part of Cano’s lost at the expense of Nova. But fantasy aside, Diaz is a someone they should look at. When dealing with the loss of Cano, the only way you can compensate that is hoping that the offense lost will be made up by other positions (preferably 1 or 2) and find yourself an average or above average 2b going forward. but There is no clear cut best hitter on this team right now.

  5. Tackelberry February 11th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Erik Boland ?@eboland11 2h
    This Tanaka airplane story indeed is shocking: an already well-off guy who just came into $155 million apparently lives a life of luxury

    ___________________________________________________
    BOy, the media is already smelling blood with Tanaka. Hope he can handle the ‘mountain out of a mole” approach by the NY media

  6. Cashmoney February 11th, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I like how this cat rolls

    Heyman has the bankroll to reserve an afternoon delight in Arby by himself.

  7. J. Alfred Prufrock February 11th, 2014 at 11:35 am

    FWIW, Badler on Miguel Andujar (GCL):

    “…After hitting .232/.288/.299 in 50 GCL games last year, Andujar did a better job recognizing breaking pitches and taking a better hitting approach to use the whole field and not give away as many at-bats. He has good bat speed and above-average power, which sometimes he tries too hard to show off. He has a sound swing, so if he can become a more selective hitter, he has a chance to hit for both average and power.

    Andujar has above-average range and a good arm at third base, though he committed 11 errors in 26 games. He still has work to do defensively but projects as an average to perhaps slightly above-average defender at the position.”

    2013 GCL LINE (34 G) 133 AB: .323 .368 .496 (11 2B, 4 HR)

    Abiatal Avelino SS:

    “promising combination of athleticism and game awareness”

    “…Avelino tied for the GCL lead in stolen bases (26) despite a mid-August promotion to short-season Staten Island.

    Avelino has a mature hitting approach for his age, with good barrel awareness that allows him to use the whole field and the discipline to not expand his strike zone. He’s a line-drive hitter who doesn’t have much power, giving some scouts pause as to how much his bat will play at higher levels, but he has a fairly simple swing and makes plenty of contact.

    Avelino is a tick-above-average runner with good instincts on the bases, which is why he’s 48-for-54 (89 percent) in his career stealing bags. At shortstop he has a good internal clock, shows smooth hands and footwork along with an above-average arm.”

  8. Howler February 11th, 2014 at 11:43 am

    One of the better pinch hitter pieces today…I’m another one not thrilled with the idea of trading Nova. Just when he’s starting to come into his own people want to drop him for a question mark like Ubaldo. I haven’t seen much that is available on the trade market despite the calls for what people are wishing for…what you’d like and what is really available are two different things.

  9. Tackelberry February 11th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Good Stuff J. Alfred.
    Also anxious to see if Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada can build off their impressive pro debuts last season. Looking for big comeback seasons from Angelo Gumbs and Anderson Feliz

  10. Giuseppe Franco February 11th, 2014 at 11:49 am

    yankeefeminista February 11th, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Erik Boland ?@eboland11 2h
    This Tanaka airplane story indeed is shocking: an already well-off guy who just came into $155 million apparently lives a life of luxury

    Careful, Masahiro! Joe and Jane Average may not like this.

    ——-

    Yeah, the class warfare stuff is just stupid. He’s a millionaire because he’s earned it and he can spend it anyway he chooses.

  11. J. Alfred Prufrock February 11th, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Tackel, it would be nice if just one of these guys can stick at SS.

    We may get Estrada in June short season if AA winds up in Charleston.

    There’s also Mateo at the position to go along with Wade/AA/Estrada in lower levels, and some other guys too coming over.

    Saw Gumbs only once; he and Culver were very in tune/smooth on the diamond, worked well together.

    Feliz I got to see 3X in a weekend series (never again after that). It’s great to see consecutive games of a player. He seems to have everything but health, although Teale has complained he’s too timid as a basestealer. Since he was stroking doubles into the gap, I didn’t get to see him try to steal or avoid trying to steal.

    Seems like he’s been hurt ever since, but if Newman is right, and the hip surgery corrected the cause of all these leg injuries, that would be huge for the Yankees.

  12. Mottsx February 11th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    After watching Tanaka’s start last night… Albeit just one start, I was not terribly impressed. He seems extremely hittable and was afraid to pitch to Abe who is a power hitter in their slap hitter friendly league. What is he going to do against David Ortiz? I hope that was just one start. The good news is he didn’t seem to scared when the bases were loaded, he made his pitch and got the double play.

    Topping out at 93 he better hit his spots or he’s going to get CRUSHED.

  13. DONNYBROOK February 11th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I would suggest Yankee fans Trash the speed gun for now. Watch the reaction of legitimate MLB Hitters when they face Tanaka in a Real MLB Game, and then watch the Same Again as Tanaka makes his 2nd and 3rd trips around the League. To me, the speed gun comes into play when you Know a Chucker’s avg velocity. If the speed gun displays a consistent drop in the velocity, then there is the need to check for an injury. Other than that, the speed gun tells you extremely little.

  14. Deal With It February 11th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    5 people on a ’787 Dreamliner’ including his wife and her poodle, $ 200 K LOL !

  15. Poetkiosk February 11th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    “After watching Tanaka’s start last night… Albeit just one start, I was not terribly impressed. ”
    ———-

    I had a similar feeling and it was pretty much the opposite of the hype – which has painted him as agressive. In the first inning at least he nibbled the corners, pitching very slowly and methodically and at a snail’s pace. The analogy was made between Abe and Ortiz and if that’s the case I was hoping for someone that had strike out stuff instead of a careful nibbler.

  16. austinmac February 11th, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I hope the Yankees give Andujar a shot at Charleston. After two years in US, he should be ready.

  17. exiledintampa February 11th, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Tanaka presser on YES sponsored by ANA “Japan’s leading Airline” Yes profiting from him already.

  18. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 11th, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Harold Reynolds loves Tanaka. I love Harold Reynolds.

    Watching the press conference on MLB TV.

  19. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 11th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Yankees weren’t the only team chasing Tanaka. I doubt that all the scouts misjudged his stuff.

    I wouldn’t worry.

  20. Hankflorida February 11th, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Mostly, though, I think the key here is that no one player is going to replace Cano. The Yankees certainly don’t have a second baseman who’s at Cano’s level, and as you sort through this revamped lineup, there’s no longer a clear-cut, no-argument, best hitter on the team.

    Cash, you are right as the Yankees gave up their best hitter and defensive player, and no one will replace him. Ellsbury and Gardener can turn walks into doubles but someone has to get that clutch hit to get them in. Keep the line moving in order to score isn’t what the Yankee fans have been conditioned to as last year proved its failure. Playing for the three run homer gave our ground ball pitchers a cushion that put wins on the board. Power was always the mark of The Bronx Bombers and not manufacturing runs. When the Yankees lost their power second basemen Joe Gordon, they eventually replaced his numbers with a center fielder who almost doubled Gordon’s home runs not one who was lucky to hit less then half of Cano’s total.

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