Japan's pitcher Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the WBC second round game in Tokyo

It was always going to be the Yankees, wasn’t it? The Yankees or the Dodgers were the only two real choices.

There were just too many things working in favor of the richest teams in baseball when it came down to a bidding war for a pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka. It is less of an indictment of the sport than a perfect storm that only the biggest supertankers could navigate.

25-year old pitchers simply don’t become free agents. A 25-year old with electric stuff hits the market just as the bidding process for such a player changes, bringing down the upfront costs and allowing pure payroll spending power to be the determining factor. A scenario tailor-made for the New York Yankees, who didn’t flinch when it came time to get the deal done.

The Yankees have the money, the Yankees have the need, and now the Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka. Two years of carefully tiptoeing under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, the Yankees blew through that number with gusto. Not because they wanted to, because they needed to. Too many opportunities to improve their team with straight cash. Too much strength up the middle out there on the open market. Too much time pinching pennies and not enough time swaggering around as only the Yankees can.

The Yankees signed a number two starter, a frontline catcher, and a very good center fielder this winter for the low, low price of a $438 million. Muscles? Flexed. Big Bad Yankees? Back. Which is just fine by me. Baseball needs its villain and the Dodgers never really seemed up to the task. Welcome back, you bastards.