The New York Yankees have landed the last big fish of free agency, signing Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year, $155 million contract.
Tanaka, 25, has been nothing short of dominant in the NPB. His 2.30 ERA is actually deceptively high, with Tanaka having come in under a 2.00 in his last three seasons. If there is a level of uncertainty associated with any players imported from foreign leagues, there's very much a reason that his market demanded so much from New York. The Yankees have added quite the piece to their roster.
That being said, the difference between the Yankees and a top baseball team is likely more than just one star pitcher. They've tried their best to revisit the 2008 offseason that saw them sign three big-name free agents in A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira. The difference is that those Yankees weren't coming off a season with a negative run differential and a pythagorean record of 72-90. They did not lose a player like Robinson Cano, and had a lineup with Melky Cabrera as the only questionable piece.
Maybe I'm crazy, but this Yankees team just doesn't seem like a strong contender. Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, and Bryan Roberts are their 2B/3B unit, with The Corpse Formerly Known As Derek Jeter manning short. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano are ancient, Mark Teixeira injured and middling these past four years, and their rotation is relying on a lot of guys who could be very hit or very miss.
This, of course, completely ends any ideas New York may have had about getting under the CBT threshold at $189 million, even with Alex Rodriguez facing a year-long suspension. Given that, they may just go all-out and add Stephen Drew to the mix and anyone else who can play and is even a slight upgrade. And that may put them over the top. For now, though, I just don't see it.