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Masahiro Tanaka declines to opt out of contract, remains with Yankees

The right-hander is staying in pinstripes for now!

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at New York Yankees
Yeah, we all feel this way
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The hot stove is sizzling early for the Yankees this offseason, as Masahiro Tanaka announced today he is not exercising the opt-out clause in his contract. He will honor the three remaining years on his contract for a guaranteed $67 million.

We’re all familiar with the Jekyll and Hyde season Tanaka had in 2017, but there’s no denying he’s been a stud over the course of his Yankees career. After all, he owns a career 3.56 ERA with a 3.75 FIP. He’s accumulated 12.7 fWAR over that period as well. With today’s news, we can expect even more of the same for the next three years.

No information is yet available as to why Tanaka is not exercising the opt-out. It’s possible his agent has market insights that we don’t; perhaps he doesn’t see a path to a better deal for his client. It’s also possible this is one of those rare times a player feels legitimately attached to a city or team. Whatever his reasoning, I think we can all agree on our excitement for more Masahiro.

The Tanaka opt-out discussion is the first major hurdle for the Yankees to clear this offseason, and his presence in 2018 now frees the front office to focus on the rest of the winter to-do list.

Tanaka himself issued this statement immediately after news broke:

“I have decided to stay with the Yankees for the next three seasons. 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.

“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.”

Love you, Masahiro.