Masahiro Tanaka staying with Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka

Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka said Friday he will remain with the New York Yankees instead of opting out of the last three years of his contract.

Tanaka, who celebrated his 29 birthday Wednesday, said the decision was simple for him as he has enjoyed playing for the last four years for the organization and the wonderful NY fans.

"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 NY".

By opting in for the next three seasons, he secures himself a $67 million payday, with $22 million due each of the next two years, followed by $23 in 2020.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches during the first inning against the Houston Astros in game five of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka first arrived in NY prior to the 2014 year, inking a seven-year, $155 million deal.

His final start in the regular season was positive as he had a ideal game through four and two-thirds innings while striking out 15 to set a new career high. He went 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in his three postseason starts and was a big reason why the Yankees almost reached the World Series.

He put up a 3.77 ERA over 12 starts and 76+ innings pitched, and opponent batting averages decreased more than 40 points from 2.76 to 2.30 against him.

Tanaka, who turned 29 Wednesday, is 52-28 with a 3.56 ERA in four years with the Yankees.

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