Excellent news for the Yankees and their fans here, as right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw two perfect innings this evening in his Grapefruit League debut against the Braves.
Tanaka struck out two batters and induced four weak groundballs. He topped out at 94 mph and threw 15 out of 19 pitches for strikes while exhibiting good control of his splitter. It’s worth noting that Tanaka got through his two innings so quickly that he finished his night by throwing some more pitches in the bullpen. You really couldn’t ask for much better.
Tanaka was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow last July, but he decided to rehab the elbow on the advice of doctors rather than have Tommy John surgery. He made it back for two starts in September and had a normal offseason, so the Yankees are planning on him being a part of their rotation this year. Who knows if his elbow will hold up, but tonight we can emphasize the positive. If healthy, Tanaka and Michael Pineda could really be something at the top of that rotation.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.
Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.
This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.
With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.