Monday, July 14, 2014

Sport for Thought: What exactly Tanaka's injury means...

Another day of baseball has past, and yet another MLB pitcher receives the news of an unfortunate and dreaded elbow injury. However, in the case of Masahiro Tanaka (the brand new $155 million Yankees acquisition and ace of the staff), is hoping to avoid the unavoidable...the now infamous Tommy John surgery. This season has been plagued with pitching injuries, but this instance has to be the most crucial. No team has more invested (money and on-field success) in a pitcher than the Yankees do with Japanese superstar Tanaka.

In their captains final season of his illustrious career, the pitching woes of the New York Yankees look as if they will prevent Derek Jeter the opportunity of winning his sixth World Series title. With their pitching rotation already in shambles, Tanaka's loss for any extended period of time will surely be detrimental to any hope for the Yankees success late in the 2014 season.

2014 New York Yankees Starting Pitching Staff from Opening Day Roster:

C.C. Sabathia - 60 day DL (most likely done for season with knee injury)
Ivan Nova - 60 day DL (done for season following Tommy John surgery)
Michael Pineda - 60 day DL (multiple ailments this season resulting with a best case scenario return date of the middle of August)
Masahiro Tanaka - 15 day DL (ligament tear in elbow that will require season ending Tommy John surgery if it does not improve following PRP treatment, rest, and rehab recommended by three doctors)
Hiroki Kuroda - Healthy

Through the first half of the season, Tanaka has proven himself that he is capable of producing similar results in the MLB as he did during his perfect season of 24-0 just one year ago in Japan. Had he continued to pitch the way he has through the entire season, Tanaka most likely would have been a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award. Leading the league in wins with a record of 12-4 and an ERA of 2.51, he was making Brian Cashman look like a genius for not being
afraid of dishing out a tremendous amount of cash on an unproven MLB talent. This was extremely risky for Cashman and the Yankees after not having a successful international player from Asia perform well in the big leagues since Hideki Matsui. It is usually difficult for athletes to be able to live up to expectations and perform under the bright lights of a New York sports teams, especially the Yankees.

Tanaka's injury pretty much sets the Yankees season outcome in stone if he is indeed required to undergo Tommy John surgery. Although they are the Yankees and can spend almost any amount of money imaginable for players to put on the pinstripes, nothing can undermine the pressures of playing for a ruthless New York crowd after signing an outrageous contract, preventing injury's, and helping players hit. Even with a healthy starting rotation, the Yankees bats have not been producing at the plate, resulting in their pitchers having to take a loss following a quality start because they can not find a way to have runners cross home plate. To make matters worse, they do not have any young talent in their farm system to even attempt to trade for a quality pitcher to replace any of the four starting pitchers injured from their Opening Day roster.

What do you think Tanaka's injury means for the Yankees? Will they try to acquire players to help their beloved captain reach the promise land one final time? Yes being a Yankees fan has its perks, but it is times like this when you feel the struggle that fans of other teams continuously go through that make you feel slightly better. When your team is willing to pay record salaries, you never know what the next season might bring you. Or for that matter, what the trade deadline might bring.


Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets. 

Follow Alexa on Twitter @Lexa_Font4 and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

1 comment:

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