The New York Yankees Land Japanese Star Starting Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka
The New York Yankees have won the “Tanaka sweepstakes” as they landed the 25 year old Japanese pitcher from the Rakuten Golden Eagles, his professional team in Japan. Tanaka and the Yankees agreed to a a seven-year, $155 million deal that does include a opt-out clause after the fourth year. The other teams that were in serious negotiations with Japanese star were the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In his seven-year career in Nippon Professional Baseball, Tanaka (pictured on the left) was 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Last season he was as impressive as any prospect that was scouted as he finished the 2013 season going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 183 strikeouts in 212 innings. Tanaka earned that record with three plus pitches, according to the scouts. His fastball is reported to run around the mid-90s, along with a devastating splitter that sits in the 85-90 range and a slider that is reported to be in the low-80s.
As part of the new posting system, New York owes the Golden Eagles a $20 million posting fee. Not only that, but the Yankees have now surpassed the $189 million luxury tax threshold, so that just shows how serious they were about signing Tanaka.