New York Yankees Expected To Be Serious Players For Masahiro Tanaka

by Gavin Ewbank | Posted on Friday, October 11th, 2013
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The New York Post is reporting that the New York Yankees are expected to aggressively pursue Japanese pitching prospect Masahiro Tanaka when he becomes eligible to posting in November.

Tanaka has been highly praised by scouts for the past year as one of the best pitchers to possibly be coming out of Japan, and some scouts even say that he could be better than Yu Darvish, who if you didn’t know is very good.

[quote]“He is better than Darvish because he is a strike thrower,’’ the scout George A. King III of The Post. “Overall, Darvish’s stuff might be a little bit better, but this guy knows how to pitch. He is like Kuroda, he has a lot of guts. He throws four pitches but when it gets to [stone]-cutting time, it’s fastball and splitter.’’[/quote]

Several MLB executives told King that the posting fee on Tanaka could go as high as $60 million — which would not go against a team payroll, meaning it would effect the Yankees’ plans to reduce the team’s salary under $189 million — and after winning the bidding war between the other teams involved — expected to be the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and a few others — would likely give Tanaka a contract in the range of five-years for $50-$60 million.

Tanaka, who went 22-0 with a 1.23 ERA in the regular season for the Pacific League Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, won’t eligible to go through the posting process before Nov. 1 — Tanaka’s 25th birthday — or if the Japanese series goes seven games, it will end Nov. 3.

With Andy Pettitte retiring this offseason, and Hiroki Kuroda‘s future in the majors uncertain, acquiring Tanaka would be a great move for the Yanks, who will certainly looking to make upgrades in the rotation this winter.

Yankees managing owning Hal Steinbrenner said on a conference call earlier this week that the Bombers would need guys like Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos to step up in the big league rotation next season in order to help get the payroll under $189 million.

The Yankees have been watching a lot this season, having sent assistant general manager Billy Eppler and respected pro scout and former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to watch Tanaka pitch.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the Yankees would be taking a chance on Japanese pitching. They once spent $46 million left-handed Kei Igawa after a $26 million to posting fee, then signing him to a five-year, $20 million deal. But he failed miserably, going 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 games from 2007-08.

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter for any news on this story.

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Gavin Ewbank
About the Author

Living in always-too-hot Florida, Gavin an MLB Columnist for BHC. Apart from that, he occasionally covers high school sports for the Palm Coast Observer. You can follow Gavin on Twitter @GavinEwbank.

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