Masahiro Tanaka had a heck of a game against the Marlins on Friday

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman signed Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract in January, then spent some time deflating expectations for the right-hander. His spring performance, including his final outing Friday afternoon against the Marlins, may have reinflated those expectations.

Hiroki Kuroda started and tossed three scoreless innings before Tanaka entered the game to start the fourth. Tanaka went six innings, allowed zero runs on three hits (all singles), walked none, and struck out ten. To put that in perspective, there were only eight games pitched in all of 2013’s regular season that matched Tanaka’s outing: six or fewer innings pitched, ten or more strikeouts, and zero runs allowed.

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO
Justin Verlander 2013-09-29 DET MIA L 0-1 6.0 3 0 0 1 10
Justin Verlander 2013-09-23 DET MIN L 3-4 6.0 6 0 0 3 12
Scott Kazmir 2013-09-06 CLE NYM W 8-1 6.0 4 0 0 0 12
Max Scherzer 2013-08-24 DET NYM W 3-0 6.0 3 0 0 4 11
Gio Gonzalez 2013-07-20 WSN LAD L 1-3 6.0 4 0 0 2 11
Julio Teheran 2013-06-28 ATL ARI W 3-0 6.0 4 0 0 1 10
Tony Cingrani 2013-04-28 CIN WSN W 5-2 6.0 2 0 0 1 11
Yu Darvish 2013-04-24 TEX LAA W 11-3 6.0 3 0 0 2 11
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/28/2014.

The Yankees’ only regret is that Tanaka didn’t turn in that impressive performance during a game that counts, but they hope he has more than one of those up his sleeve.

MLB rejected Players’ 114-game season proposal, will not send a counter

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”

This should be understood as a game of chicken.

The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.

The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.

Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”

In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.