The 25-year-old Tanaka filed for international free agency and was “extensively” watched in 2013 by Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and scout Don Wakamatsu.
A five-time NPB All-Star who earned the 2011 Eiji Sawamura Award, the 6-foot-2, 205 pound Tanaka would command a posting fee in excess of $75 million and a contract worth roughly $50 million.
However, with Andy Pettitte retiring, Hiroki Kuroda likely returning to the Far East and unreliable arms Michael Pineda and Manuel Banuelos in the mix, Tanaka makes sense and won’t count against the luxury tax.
Primarily using a slider, splitter and a fastball that reaches 97 mph, the 2007 Pacific League Rookie of the Year has amassed 95 wins, against 35 losses, with a 2.32 ERA.
Tanaka’s also whiffed 1,210 batters over 1284.0 innings.
New York went 85-77 last season and failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time in the wild-card era.
The Yankees need drastic upgrades and must “be bold” to remain contenders.
Recalling past busts Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu, many analysts justifiably think the Bombers should avoid Tanaka like herpes.
After all, there are far more examples of Daisuke Matsuzaka than Yu Darvish.
There’s no question that Tanaka, who struggles throwing out of the stretch and lacks a vast array of pitches, has great room for improvement.
Nevertheless, seemingly decades removed from capturing their 27th World Series championship, the Yankees should “spend more money than any team” to ensure Masahiro Tanaka relocates to One East 161st Street.by