January 22

MLB: Yankees, Tanaka agree to contract

Pitcher signs on for $155M over 7 years

(Continued from page 1)

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FILE - In this March 11, 2009, file photo, Japan's Masahiro Tanaka throws a warm up pitch before facing the San Francisco Giants in an exhibition baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz. The New York Yankees and Tanaka agreed on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, to a $155 million, seven-year contract. In addition to the deal with the pitcher, the Yankees must pay a $20 million fee to the Japanese team of the 25-year-old right-hander, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner had been saying for two years that getting below the tax threshold in 2014 was a goal but wouldn’t get in the way of fielding a contending team. Along with losing tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing annually, the Yankees have paid $252.7 million in luxury tax over the last 11 years.

“There has been criticism of myself and my brother the last couple years that, gee, if our dad was still in charge, we’d be spending this and spending that and doing whatever it takes to win,” Hank Steinbrenner said, referring to late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“He didn’t have revenue sharing, at least for most of his time,” Hank Steinbrenner added. “That’s what these people in the sports media don’t seem to get. If it wasn’t for revenue sharing, we’d have a payroll of $300 million a year if we wanted to. So we’re doing this despite having to pay all that revenue sharing.”

Tanaka was the first player available under the new agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball, which caps posting fees at $20 million and allows multiple big league teams to negotiate. Under the previous system, in place from December 1998 through last offseason, there was no limit on the bid for negotiating rights and only the team with the top bid could try to sign the player.

Under that system, Boston obtained pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Seibu Lions before the 2007 season for $51,111,111.11 and agreed to a $52 million, six-year contract. Texas got pitcher Yu Darvish from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before the 2012 season for $51,703,411 and gave him a $56 million, six-year deal.

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