Badler: Yankees had scout(s) on hand for Tanaka’s most recent start

Update: Stewart has strained ligaments in foot following hit-by-pitch
9/9-9/12 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Via Ben Balder (subs. req’d): The Yankees were one of five teams with scouts on hand to watch right-hander Masahiro Tanaka make his most recent start for the Rakuten Golden Eagles over the weekend. The Braves, Diamondbacks, Mariners, and Red Sox were also in attendance. We recently heard the Yankees have had assistant GM Billy Eppler and special assignment scout Don Wakamatsu watch the righty.

Tanaka, 24, threw 128 pitches while striking out eleven and allowing two runs in the complete game win. “After lacking the typical crispness on his pitches in his previous outing, Tanaka returned to the mound on Friday with a swing-and-miss fastball and excellent splitter against the Fighters,” wrote Badler, who said Tanaka was sitting 90-94 with his fastball and 84-89 with the splitter. He also threw some sliders, though it is clearly his third pitch. Here are highlights from the game (Andruw Jones sighting!).

The Golden Eagles are expected to post Tanaka this winter and although the Yankees haven’t been all that aggressive on big money international players in recent years, they are clearly doing their homework. They’re going to need pitching this winter one way or the other and Tanaka could be a fit. He is the best pitcher in Japan but is not another Yu Darvish, and in fact there are concerns his fastball is too flat despite good velocity. Tanaka has a 1.24 ERA this year with an excellent walk rate (1.3 BB/9 and 3.9 BB%)) but just an okay strikeout rate (7.7 K/9 and 22.1 K%).

Update: Stewart has strained ligaments in foot following hit-by-pitch
9/9-9/12 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles
  • eric

    7.7 k/9 in Japan?

    Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass.

    • JGYank

      I bet Japanese hitters focus on making contact rather than swinging for the fences. Kinda like Ichiro. Or maybe the guy just pitches to contact. Could be wrong though. Would have to check the K/9 leaders in Japan to see where he stands.

  • Kingslayer

    “He is the best pitcher in Japan but is not another Yu Darvish” Isn’t that what they said about Hideki Irabu??? If they did not go after Yu Darvish why would they waste their time on this guy?? The Yankees need new talent evaluators, period!!

    • Mister D

      I doubt Irabu was being compared to an 11 year old when he was posted.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Thank you.

  • JoeyA

    What are the main differences from NPB to MLB?

    I’ve heard size of ball & umpire strike zones, along with routine/workload as 3 major factors.

    are those the 3 biggest? Are there others to consider?

    • Frank Costanza

      Don’t forget facing hitters not nearly as good.

    • Mister D

      Its a lot more about deception / breaking stuff than overpowering hard stuff too, right?

  • Frank Costanza

    Seriously, pass. This would be classic Yankees to have almost zero interest in Yu Darvish, see his success, and then make a winning bid for a pitcher not nearly as good. A 7.7 k/9 in Japan combined with scouting reports of a “flat” Phil Hughes fastball is not something I’m personally interested in having.

  • JLC 776

    With the rotation question marks for 2014, I think this guy has pinstripes in his future. For better or worse.

  • dkidd

    freaked out by igawa, yankees pass on darvish
    freaked out by missing darvish, yankees go all in on tanaka
    freaked out by tanaka, yankees pass on the next darvish
    and so on…


    • jjkim


  • Mike Myers

    94MPH fastball that runs flat….

    Dont we already have that in Hughes.

  • Logan

    This will not end well


    They may sign Tanaka, they may pass on him. At least they’re looking closely.

    Looking at next year’s currently signed rotation (CC, Nova, Phelps?, Pineda?) and the list of (not very exciting) potential free agents (Garza, Santana), shouldn’t they be doing due diligence at whatever options are available?

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Best part of the highlights is the sign behind home plate that says “go to climax”. Looks like the signs rotate so its not always there.

  • Frank

    If the Yankees bid on him it’ll be based on what they value him at. Assume the winning bid is somewhere around 30MM and figure they’ll bid about 8MM. LOL. And when he flops they’ll be out of the Internaitonal market forever. Darvish was the get, not this guy.

  • mick taylor

    spend the money on the cuban abreu instead

  • Nick

    I don’t want them to chase this guy just because they passed on Darvish, but I also don’t want them to avoid this guy just because they got burned on Igawa. I want them to make the best INFORMED decision they can make and choose to sign him or pass on him based on that.

    People on this board need to calm down. They’re doing EXACTLY what they should be doing right now: scouting him heavily. Hopefully when they’re done scouting him they have a little bit more information than a youtube video and a short blurb on an American blog can provide.

  • MannyGeee

    In fairness, there were a lot of ‘red flags’ mentioned when Darvish, Irabu, Dice K, Ichiro and any other Japanese player that is coming over. I would not read too much into the “coming from Japan” panic button.

    All this said, if he is another version of Phil Hughes, as above mentioned, but can actually get batters out, and is reasonable on the budget… well, shit. Sign me up. You got to get pitching from somewhere.

    I would love to hear some other more data on him, specifically GB%, FB%, HR/9 before we decide he’s going to be another this dude or another that guy.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Scouting this guy, and not recieving the winning bid on Yu Darvish, are in what way related?

    I always question the level of intelligence of some on here. I feel like we flat out need the smaller cheese bus for this one.

    • Electric Nunez ll

      This, and then more of this.

      Gotta love the people who see one metric (K/9) and say he will most obviously suck here. Moreover, that simply doing due diligence and merely scouting the guy therefore means the team needs new talent evaluators- before they even finish their evaluating. Genius, pure genius.

      What was Kuroda’s K/9 in Japan, btw…

      • Joe R

        6.64 k/9

    • Frank Costanza

      Awww okay! I’ll explain it to you and I’ll use very simple words so you don’t waste your massive intellect on such trivial arguments.

      Yankees baseball team very more interested in not good pitcher, Tanaka. Yankees baseball team not interested in much more good pitcher Yu Darvish. Yankees baseball team not make serious bid on Yu Darvish. Make simple Yankees fan not happy and much grumpy. Make little sense to have more interest in Tanaka.

      It’s not exactly Friedrich Nietzsche but I think it gets the point across.

      And PLEASE feel free to to bless us with your endless amount of smug arrogance instead of simply making a point or counterpoint. It’s nothing if not appreciated.

      Also, seriously look into changing your… you know… your personality. You suck so much ass it’s absolutely insufferable.

      • JLC 776

        Your simple explanation must have gone way over my head because I still fail to see the relationship between scouting a player from a different nation and the failure to post the winning bid on a different player, from a different year, from the same foreign nation. Well, other than the fact that the two players are, coincidentally, from the same nation and may join MLB teams through an expensive posting process.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Yanks don’t sign good white guy.

          Yanks pursue other good white guy.

          Cashman failed?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        1. Read something written by an actual person of intelligence.
        2. Have really stupid reaction.
        3. Begin to type out really stupid reaction.
        4. Realize you sound like a complete Neanderthal once thought is half-written out.
        5. Try to cover it up with a completely unearned and undeserved sense of pride.

        It’s worked for politicians for years. Why stop now.

  • All Praise Be To Mo

    My thinking is that part of the appeal with him is that the posting fee isn’t coutned against the luxury tax. Even Darvish’s deal, when everyone knew he was great and would be an ace is only a 6 year $60 million deal.
    Even if they spend $30 million or so posting fee, if you can sign him to a $6-$8 million a year contract over 4 years, very reasonable even if he’s only league average.

  • Mike

    I agree pass on this guy. He’s probably another Daisuke and Igawa.

    • Electric Nunez ll

      Phone BC & the boys and tell them to come on home, their work is done, judgment has been rendered…

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Athletes of Asian descent this guy absolutely is not:

    Yu Darvish
    Hideo Nomo
    Chein-Ming Wang
    Jeremy Lin
    Yao Ming
    Pat Tanaka
    Hines Ward

    I’m sure you can add others.

    • JLC 776

      I can’t wait for the next round of rumors where the Yankees are reportedly scouting someone from Panama, but the fanbase gets unsettled and angry because we didn’t sign some other guy from Panama a few years earlier.

    • JMK

      You forgot Kobayashi.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Cashman failed.

  • JGYank

    Nothing wrong with scouting the guy and knowing all you can about him. You should be scouting him regardless of whether you are trying to acquiring him or not.

    We don’t know whether the Yanks plan on going after him but the excellent splitter report reminds me of Kuroda.

  • JGYank

    Also don’t know why people compare him to Hughes when the report says swing and miss fastball and not meatball with no movement at all.

    BTW does anyone know how good his control is and durable he is?

    • JGYank

      Nevermind missed the last paragraph.

  • CashmanNinja

    I’m actually very interested in this guy. I’m not saying we should go after him, but I’m glad they’re giving him a good, long look. That’s better than what they did with Igawa. If they had scouted Igawa I’m sure they wouldn’t have made nearly as big of an offer — probably like 1/8 of what he wound up getting.

    Tanaka has a lot of potential and good “stuff”. The only bad thing seems to be some saying his fastball is flat, but in some highlights it has some nice run on it (especially inside on lefties). I really hope he pitches lights out and warrants a bid because he is intriguing.