While it's not definite that Masahiro Tanaka will or will not be posted to the Major Leagues in the next couple of months, there is still an outside chance that it could happen and Tanaka could still land into the awaiting laps of the New York Yankees.
Tanaka is the pitcher the Yankees want, as they are passing on current free agent options like Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana and it's been rumored that if Tanaka doesn't come to the United States, which Tanaka's current team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles are trying to prevent from happening, the Yankees may just look to internal options like Michael Pineda, Manny Banuelos, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren to fill out the rotation.
But if Tanaka gets posted, there's a very good chance that the Yankees will spend, and spend big for him, and the reason they would do so would be the impending news on Alex Rodriguez's suspension decision from federal arbitrator Frederic Horowitz, who will likely decide A-Rod's fate within the next few weeks.
If A-Rod gets suspended for only 50 games, or even if he doesn't serve a single game of the 211-game ban; whether it be that Horowitz overturns the entire suspension or the suspension is held up due to Rodriguez's lawyers serving an injunction, which will force the case into federal court and allow A-Rod to play, then most or all of his $27.5 million salary for 2014 is on the payroll, which would put the Yankees payroll for this season right around the $210 million mark.
If the Yankees are at the $210 million mark, then there's no sense to stay at the $189 million mark and then the Yankees can spend like crazy on someone like Tanaka, or if needed, on a free agent pitcher and maybe even on a closer too just incase they still don't trust David Robertson.
If Rodriguez's salary was to get wiped off the books for the Yankees, then their payroll goes from $210 down to $181.5 million, and then the Yankees can simply keep to their mandated $189 million payroll goal, but if A-Rod's salary is on the payroll, then there's no sense in sticking to the mandate, especially when the team still has obvious holes in the pitching department.
So if anything, the Yankees may want to hope for A-Rod to be playing in 2014 so they can be the free-spending Yankees of the past and can give them the opportunity to land Tanaka if he comes to the United States or any other player the Yankees choose to pursue.
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