Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Yankees have landed
Japanese hurler Masahiro Tanaka.
Multiple sources reported on Wednesday that the Yankees had won the
sweepstakes for Tanaka with a 7-year, $155 million deal that also includes an
opt-out clause after the fourth year. The Yankees will also pay a $20 million
posting fee to Tanaka's former team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, under the
terms of baseball's revised posting system with Nippon Professional Baseball
"I felt we needed another starter. We were not where we needed to be, in my
opinion," managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told the New York Post.
"So this should not be a surprise because (Tanaka) was the best free-agent
pitcher available. He is one of the greatest players Japan has ever produced.
He is tough. He has thrived under pressure. He will fit in well to New York."
The 25-year-old right-hander finished an astonishing 24-0 with a 1.27 earned
run average and 183 strikeouts against 32 walks in 212 innings over 28 games
(27 starts) for Rakuten of Japan's Pacific League.
Over the past three seasons Tanka has gone 53-9 with a 1.44 ERA and 593
strikeouts over 611 1/3 innings. he's also won two Sawamura Awards, an honor
given to the top starting pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball.
In seven professional seasons, all with the Golden Eagles, Tanaka has posted a
99-35 mark and 2.30 ERA in 175 games -- all but three as a starter -- while
fanning 1,238 batters in 1,315 innings.
The total value of Tanaka's contract is the fifth-highest for a pitcher in
Major League history, falling in line behind those of the Dodgers' Clayton
Kershaw ($215 million), the Tigers' Justin Verlander ($180 million), the
Mariners' Felix Hernandez ($175 million) and the Yankees' CC Sabathia ($161
Reportedly, the Yankees weren't even the highest bidder for Tanaka.
Tanaka, who also drew serious interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los
Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros and Arizona
Diamondbacks, joins a starting rotation that also includes Sabathia, Hiroki
Kuroda and Ivan Nova, with Tanaka likely slotting in as the No. 2 or No. 3
To make room for him on the 40-man roster the Yankees designated lefty David
Huff for assignment.
The Sports Network