Masahiro Tanaka to remain with Yankees for next three years after declining opt-out

Perhaps the biggest roster question of the New York Yankees offseason has been answered.

Friday night, Masahiro Tanaka announced he will not opt out of the final three years and $67 million remaining on his contract. Here's the statement he released through the team:

"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."

While $67 million is no small chunk of change, the expectation was Tanaka could fetch $100 million or more as a free agent this offseason. Pitching is always in demand, and he's had four very good seasons in New York, throwing 668 1/3 innings with a 3.56 ERA (118 ERA+). This postseason Tanaka allowed two runs in 20 innings across three starts.

Tanaka, 29, originally signed with the Yankees during the 2013-14 offseason. He received a seven-year contract worth $155 million -- the Yankees also paid a $20 million release fee to his former club in Japan, the Rakuten Golden Eagles -- that included the opt-out following this season. The deal does not include any more opt-outs, so he's tied to the Yankees through 2020.

The Yankees now know they'll build their 2018 rotation around Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. CC Sabathia is a free agent and the expectation is the Yankees will look to bring him back on a short-term deal. They are trying to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, so spending big on a free agent like Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta is unlikely.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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