The only other three shortstops below him were (Alcides) Escobar, Hechavarria and Kozma.
Escobar was just coming off of a year where he was close to being a league average hitter, Hechavarria was a rookie on a team that had no other options and Kozma has since been replaced after the Cardinals realized his offense wouldn't cut it, no matter how good his defense is.
Didn't there used to be a thread about Tanaka somewhere?
I wonder what the consensus will be if his numbers in Yankee Stadium resemble Phil Hughes.
Those calling for Drew *now* aren't off base in seeing the need for an improvement.
THT article on why teams agree to opt-out clauses.
These opt outs acknowledge that the player is being underpaid despite the massive payroll commitment. By offering non-monetary pay, the clubs get to keep their payroll commitments lower. In the cases of the Dodgers and Yankees, that means fewer dollars being taxed. It's still a risky tactic, any player can go from star to broken in a single play and that's especially true of pitchers.
We can view Tanaka's contract another way. The Yankees think Tanaka is worth closer to $40 million dollars per season over four years ($155 million divided by four).* They're probably very unwilling to set that precedent, as are all other teams, which is why we've seen so many very long contracts. The opt out guarantees Tanaka that money. If he opts out and the Yankees don't re-sign him, then the club actually saves money.
*That's just a first order estimate. Luxury taxes, other taxes, the time value of money, and a whole slew of other factors affect the actual total. The point is, the Yankees think he's worth a lot more than $22 million per season.