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Posted November 11, 2013 by Clayton Richer in American League
 
 

Why The Toronto Blue Jays Need To Sign Masahiro Tanaka

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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.

Reason #1:

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.

Reason #2:

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.

Reason #3

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.

Reason #4

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.

Reason #5

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.

Reason #6

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:

Year Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2007 Rakuten JPPL 11 7 .611 3.82 28 4 1 186.1 183 83 79 17 68 196 1.347 8.8 0.8 3.3 9.5 2.88
2008 Rakuten JPPL 9 7 .563 3.49 25 5 2 172.2 171 71 67 9 54 159 1.303 8.9 0.5 2.8 8.3 2.94
2009 Rakuten JPPL 15 6 .714 2.33 25 6 3 189.2 170 51 49 13 43 171 1.123 8.1 0.6 2.0 8.1 3.98
2010 Rakuten JPPL 11 6 .647 2.50 20 8 1 155.0 159 47 43 9 32 119 1.232 9.2 0.5 1.9 6.9 3.72
2011 Rakuten JPPL 19 5 .792 1.27 27 14 6 226.1 171 35 32 8 27 241 0.875 6.8 0.3 1.1 9.6 8.93
2012 Rakuten JPPL 10 4 .714 1.87 22 8 3 173.0 160 45 36 4 19 169 1.035 8.3 0.2 1.0 8.8 8.89
2013 Rakuten JPPL 24 0 1.000 1.27 28 8 2 212.0 168 35 30 6 32 183 0.943 7.1 0.3 1.4 7.8 5.72
7 Seasons 99 35 .739 2.30 175 53 18 1315.0 1182 367 336 66 275 1238 1.108 8.1 0.5 1.9 8.5 4.50
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/10/2013.

Yu Darvish  Japan League Statistics:

Year Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2005 Nippon Ham JPPL 5 5 .500 3.53 14 2 1 94.1 97 37 37 7 48 52 1.537 9.3 0.7 4.6 5.0 1.08
2006 Nippon Ham JPPL 12 5 .706 2.89 25 3 2 149.2 128 55 48 12 64 115 1.283 7.7 0.7 3.8 6.9 1.80
2007 Nippon Ham JPPL 15 5 .750 1.82 26 12 3 207.2 123 48 42 9 49 210 0.828 5.3 0.4 2.1 9.1 4.29
2008 Nippon Ham JPPL 16 4 .800 1.88 25 10 2 200.2 136 44 42 11 44 208 0.897 6.1 0.5 2.0 9.3 4.73
2009 Nippon Ham JPPL 15 5 .750 1.73 23 8 2 182.0 118 36 35 9 45 167 0.896 5.8 0.4 2.2 8.3 3.71
2010 Nippon Ham JPPL 12 8 .600 1.78 26 10 2 202.0 158 48 40 5 47 222 1.015 7.0 0.2 2.1 9.9 4.72
2011 Nippon Ham JPPL 18 6 .750 1.44 28 10 6 232.0 156 42 37 5 36 276 0.828 6.1 0.2 1.4 10.7 7.67
7 Seasons 93 38 .710 1.99 167 55 18 1268.1 916 310 281 58 333 1250 0.985 6.5 0.4 2.4 8.9 3.75
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/10/2013.

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.


Clayton Richer

 
Clayton Richer
Clayton Richer is the Owner of Baseball Hot Corner and a Toronto Blue Jays enthusiast. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher