Reports out of Japan this morning (per The New York Times) are that Rakuten won't let Masahiro Tanaka come to the U.S. It's hard to say whether that's a final decision or part of negotiations as the team's ownership looks to extract more dollars out of the situation.
But in the eyes of some rival evaluators, it would be a body blow to the Yankees if Tanaka doesn't become available because of what they have and what they need.
As one National League official noted, the Yankees have improved their lineup even in a winter in which they lost Robinson Cano because of the additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Their pitching, however ...
"That's not pitching you can win with," said the official, noting the current state of the Yankees staff.
As it stands, the New York rotation would look like this:
CC Sabathia, the 33-year-old left-hander who posted a 4.78 ERA in 32 starts in 2013, easily the worst statistical season of his career.
Hiroki Kuroda, who turns 39 in February; he was excellent in the first four months of last season before running out of gas in August and September.
Ivan Nova. He figured some stuff out during the season, posting a 3.10 ERA in 23 games.
David Phelps. He was limited by injury to 22 games, and in those, he had a 4.98 ERA.
Michael Pineda. He is a complete wild card at this point for the Yankees in an offseason he will turn 25.