Why The Toronto Blue Jays Need To Sign Masahiro Tanaka
The Toronto Blue Jays need to desperately upgrade their starting rotation this off-season and fill in some of the question marks left by the departed Josh Johnson and the implosion of Ricky Romero to mention a few of the rotation concerns. The Jays did not have a starter with an earned run average under 4.00 last season which solidifies why the Jays need to send a big fat cheque to Japan and entice Masahiro Tanaka north of the border.
The Jays were all in last season after selling the farm to acquire the likes of Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey. No point in penny pinching now, the Jays are pot committed and must continue to forge forward and put their money where their mouth is by finally signing a big free agent.
The Jays fan base were heart broken the last time a high profile Japanese pitcher made the trek to North America. The social media world had Yu Darvish signed, sealed and delivered to Toronto when news finally broke that the winning post was the Texas Rangers. Darvish looks like a steal so far in his MLB career dominating nearly every-time he takes the bump.
The Jays need to ensure the New York Yankees don’t get their evil talons on Tanaka. It is rumored that the Yankees will be very aggressive in their pursuit of Tanaka, a signing that the Jays cannot stand pat and let them accomplish. The Jays cannot afford Tanaka to join an American League East team.
The free agent pitching market is not that impressive with speculation that Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco could fetch in the neighbourhood of $80-100 million by the time it is all said and done. I would prefer to take my chances on Tanaka then donate a ridiculous sum of money to Santana.
The Jays scouted Tanaka earlier in the year which is par for the course in the Jays due diligence however they have missed out on Aroldis Chapman and Yu Darvish, so maybe just maybe a third time is a charm. The Jays freed up nearly $14 million by not offering Johnson a qualifying offer so now they just need to check the sofa cushions for the remaining $86 million to get the job done.
Below are the Japan League numbers for both Tanaka and Darvish and they are eerily similar in comparison. Tanaka appears to have come into his own after breaking into the league as an 18-year old rookie. He has had an earned run average under 2.00 the last 3 seasons including a staggering 24-0 record last season with a minuscule 1.27 era. He also threw 160 pitches in a playoff game and then came out of the bullpen the following day to throw an additional 15 pitches in relief. The kid is a work horse.
Masahiro Tanaka Japan League Statistics:
Yu Darvish Japan League Statistics:
Time will tell where Tanaka finally ends up but one thing is guaranteed, the 25-year old hurler is going to receive a hefty pay-day to pursue his baseball exploits in North America, here is hoping the venture finds himself north of the 49th parallel.