Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t exercise opt-out clause in contract

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Yankees’ right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will not exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, he told reporters Friday. He inked a seven-year, $155 million deal with the club prior to the 2014 season and will remain under contract through 2020.

Tanaka, 29, went 13-12 in 30 starts for the Yankees this season, turning in a 4.74 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through 178 1/3 innings. In August, he pushed through a minor bout of inflammation in his right shoulder and was able to rejoin the team for their big playoff push, propelling the Yankees through the ALDS with seven shutout innings in Game 3 and returning in the ALCS with two solid starts against the red-hot Astros.

“It was a simple decision for me as I have truly enjoyed the past four years playing for this organization and for the wonderful fans of New York,” Tanaka’s statement read. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of this team, and I’m committed to our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization, and the great fans of New York.”

Per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Tanaka’s decision to stay in New York will have a drastic effect on the team’s offseason pursuits. With the righty still due $67 million over the next three years, the Yankees are no longer expected to make a play for top-rated free agents like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. While they could still pursue two-way star and Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that Major League Baseball has yet to reach a deal with the Players’ Association and Nippon Professional Baseball regarding a new posting system, which will stall any potential deal with Otani.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.