Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka



Wednesday: The posting period officially begins tomorrow morning and ends at 5pm ET on January 24th, reports Anthony McCarron. The contract must be signed and made official within the 30 days, not just agreed to. Tanaka will reportedly be represented by Casey Close, who also represents Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira.

Tuesday: After weeks of conflicting rumors, there is finally resolution to the Masahiro Tanaka posting saga. The Rakuten Golden Eagles have indeed decided to post their ace right-hander and make him available to MLB clubs this winter, team president Yozo Tachibana announced on Tuesday. Tanaka is widely considered to be the offseason’s best available pitcher, it just wasn’t clear if he would actually be made available.

“After evaluating Tanaka’s contributions in the seven years since joining the franchise, owner Hiroshi Mikitani accepted his wish to challenge himself in the Major Leagues and decided to petition for him to be posted,” said Tachibana in a statement. “As a team which has valuable players, there’s no change in our view that this is an extremely unfair system.”

Now, just to be clear, there is no bidding under the new posting agreement. Tanaka is essentially a free agent with a $20M surcharge. He can negotiate with any team for a 30-day period — I’m not sure when that period begins, it might not be immediately due to the holiday — and whoever signs him has to pay an addition $20M “release fee” to the Golden Eagles. In the highly unlikely case that Tanaka fails to agree to a contract within the 30 days, he’ll return to Rakuten and have to wait until next winter to be posted again.

Tanaka, 25, has been one of the best pitchers in Japan for several seasons now and the best pitcher since Yu Darvish left two years ago. It hasn’t been particularly close either. His gaudy 24-0 record garnered a ton of attention this year — his 30-start unbeaten streak, which came to an end during Rakuten’s postseason run to the Japan Series title, is a professional baseball record — but his appeal extends far beyond win-loss record. Here are the obligatory stats:

’07 18 Rakuten 11 7 3.82 28 4 186.1 183 83 79 17 68 196 1.347 0.8 3.3 9.5 2.88
’08 19 Rakuten 9 7 3.49 24 5 172.2 171 71 67 9 54 159 1.303 0.5 2.8 8.3 2.94
’09 20 Rakuten 15 6 2.33 24 6 189.2 170 51 49 13 43 171 1.123 0.6 2.0 8.1 3.98
’10 21 Rakuten 11 6 2.50 20 8 155.0 159 47 43 9 32 119 1.232 0.5 1.9 6.9 3.72
’11 22 Rakuten 19 5 1.27 27 14 226.1 171 35 32 8 27 241 0.875 0.3 1.1 9.6 8.93
’12 23 Rakuten 10 4 1.87 22 8 173.0 160 45 36 4 19 169 1.035 0.2 1.0 8.8 8.89
’13 24 Rakuten 24 0 1.27 27 8 212.0 168 35 30 6 32 183 0.943 0.3 1.4 7.8 5.72
7 Seasons 99 35 2.30 172 53 1315.0 1182 367 336 66 275 1238 1.108 0.5 1.9 8.5 4.50
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/24/2013.

According to Ben Badler (subs. req’d), Tanaka boasts a four-seam fastball thats sits anywhere from 88-96 on a given day. He locates his heater well but tends to pitch up in the zone with it, which gives some scouts pause. His 6-foot-2, 200 lb. frame makes it tough to drive the ball downhill as well. Tanaka’s mid-80s splitter is a legitimate out pitch that falls right off the table, and his low-80s slider is a quality third offering. He also throws a soft low-70s curveball. Badler says scouts project Tanaka to be a number two starter in a Major League rotation pretty much right away. Here is the obligatory video:

The Yankees, who need another starter, are expected to be very much involved in the bidding for Tanaka. The Cubs, Dodgers, and Mariners are viewed as their primary competition while clubs like the Rangers, Giants, and Angels could get seriously involved as well. Pretty much every team will at least check in since it costs nothing to talk. The $20M release fee will not count against the luxury tax but Tanaka’s eventual contract, which could top six years and $100M, will. That hurts every big market team but especially the Yankees and Dodgers, who figure to be over the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014.

The pitching market has been handcuffed in recent weeks due to the Tanaka indecision. Interest in guys like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana has been minimal as clubs waited to see if Rakuten will post their ace simply because they want to do their due diligence and look at all available options. The pitching market as a whole should pick up now but the Yankees are expected to focus primarily on Tanaka. If they don’t land him, I don’t think it will be because they made a low-ball contract offer. They’re going to be serious players for him.


  1. Thomas says:

    It’s a Christmas miracle!

  2. Leg-End says:

    Release the Cashman!

  3. Cuso says:

    Cue Ted DiBiase’s theme!

  4. Anthony says:

    I’m excited and very nervous. I think the Yankees really, really need Tanaka but I could see the Cubs or even the Mariners make him an outrageous offer.

    David Kaplan (via Twitter) tweeted this:

    “I just spoke w/an MLB source who believes Cubs will not be outbid on Tanaka. He also said convincing Tanaka to come to Chgo will be hard.”

    “This is exactly type deal that Theo/Jed will be all in on. However, will Tanaka say no to Yanks/Dodgers etc? Not sure he will”

    This is going to be really crazy

  5. Sexton11 says:

    Ill be surprised if the Yanks get outbid here.

    • Adam says:

      I could not agree more. The Yankees tend to be really straightforward in their offseason dealings. They have stated multiple times that if posted, Tanaka is their number one priority. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go 7/130-140 for Tanaka if need be. I do not think they will be outbid for him. If he goes to another team it will be for choice, not money.

  6. Brian says:

    Cue the acid reflux

  7. Cool Lester Smooth says:


  8. dc1874 says:

    Yes Virginia…there is a Sant Claus!!!

  9. Anthony says:

    Now there’s a report Tanaka won’t be posted:

    It’s in Japanese but Dylan Hernandez says the article dictates Tanaka won’t be posted.

  10. King George says:

    Hey King George, I was the original one…but thanks for taking my screen name.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      That was a different person than the person previously using the name, right? I had a feeling.

    • King George says:

      I am the real King George, not this fool above me. Anyway, me want Tanaka under my tree an in my bedroom.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

        Well, whoever it is, I hope this nonsense gets resolved without Mike having to get involved.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          That’s the first (real) King George.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

            That’s what I figured. The second just seems to be the shortened handle of the guy telling the other day….who I’m sure trolled under other screen names before because that’s what happens.

            Folks with VPNs must drive you nuts if you’re looking at steady IPs when identifying who’s who. I apologize in advance there. :)

  11. Pseudoyanks says:

    I’m happy…no wait actually I’m Merry…yes Merry that’s what I am.

  12. Brian says:

    Can’t dwell on it. It was a different posting system. Texas blew everyone out of the water. This new system should allow them to get a deal done if they want him bad enough.

  13. nycsportzfan says:

    2014 WS Champs if we get Tanaka.

  14. CashmanNinja says:

    Now they’re saying he’s not going, but nothing is official. One side says he is coming to the U.S., others say no. I really hope they just let him come over. I’d hate to miss out on him and have to go after someone like Garza. I liked Garza a lot, but he’s too injury prone — plus I feel he’s better suited for the NL.

    • qwerty says:

      The yankees are not going to get hit with a 50% luxury penalty for Garza, Jimenez or Santana. It’s either Tanaka or nothing, and I suspect it’s not even going to be Tanaka either.

  15. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Come to papa.

  16. Oops I Crapped My Pants says:

    If we don’t land Tanaka, I just may crap my pants, then again if we don’t it’s a good possibility as well.

    Hal, make it happen captain!,


  17. Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

    Hasta la vista, Plan 189

    • Dick M says:

      I hope so. This is the litmus test that’s for sure. We’ll know if Hal’s bluffing by what he does here cause he’s really painted himself into a corner.

      Off of what they put us through last year, I’ll believe it when I see it though.

  18. Ron says:

    Prediction: we sign him a day after arod’s suspension decision is announced.

  19. Yankeefan91 says:

    JballAllen: Source saying an announcement on Tanaka posting decision will be made at 11 am Japan time.” (11 pm EST)

    • Yanktime says:

      If it’s scheduled for 11:00 am JST, that would actually be at 9:00 p.m. EST, or in about a half hour. 6:00 pm PST for those of us on the leftist coast.

  20. forensic says:

    Yes, please, please post him. And Yankees, please, please go in big for him!

  21. CashmanNinja says:

    Now another Japanese outlet is saying he WILL be posted. Ugh, I just want the official word to come out! I wonder if this could be his agent’s doing. Think about it from a business perspective and all this teasing could very well wind up with him getting even more $$ from a bidding war. I don’t even care if we go $160 mil for him. I want him in Pinstripes.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      Make that 2 more. So it’s 3 that says he will be posted and 1 that says he won’t. Come on 9 pm…

      • Yanktime says:

        The ones that he will be posted seems to have drowned out the other one(s) that he won’t.

        Since Dylan Hernandez is mentioned both times, it is interesting to note that he says the reports should all be taken with a grain of salt since the only direct quote so far from the team owner is that “a decision has been made,” but no quote on the decision.

        I also haven’t seen anywhere where an 11:00 am JST announcement will be made beyond what is noted above.

  22. EndlessJose says:

    Have to get Tanaka. It would be a A+ offseason.

  23. I'm a looser and a trader baby so why don't you kill me? says:

    Boo yah! Back up the fucking truck beeyotches!! $20mm posting plus 8/120 FTmotherfuckingWIN!!!!!!

    Merry Tanaka to all, and to all a good Tanaka!!

  24. Tanaka Kaka says:

    Couldn’t resist. Sorry.

  25. Betty Lizard says:

    Please Mr Cashman, look and see
    If there’s a pitcher in the bag for me
    Please please Mr Cashman
    Why’s it takin’ such a long time?

    There must be some word today
    From my pitcher so far away
    Please Mr Cashman look and see
    If there’s a pitcher, a pitcher for me

  26. YankeeBaseball says:

    If he is indeed posted, the Yankees will sign him, period. We NEED him. He is the difference between making the playoffs (& potentially winning the World Series) and not. We will not be outbid! And having Kuroda certainly can’t hurt…

  27. cashjr says:

    Does anyone really know how the posting process will work?

    Will it be “any team that posts the $20M can negotiate with him, and it will pretty much be like any other free agent situation” OR “out of all the teams that post the $20M, he decides who he negotiates with, and then it’s only that single team and all the others are out” If it’s the latter, which I am seeing on some sites, then he could simply pick the Dodgers (or whoever) and it wouldn’t matter what the Yanks may or may not offer. Of course that could be good if he picks the Yanks.

    • forensic says:

      He can negotiate with any teams willing to pay the release (posting) fee. He doesn’t have to pick one and only talk to that team. So, it’s basically like any other free agent situation (at least for the teams willing to pay the fee).

      • CashmanNinja says:

        ^This. If you pay the $20 mil you get the ability to negotiate with him. If you don’t land him then you get the money back. So basically every team will be in on it because it’s not much to pay.

        • forensic says:

          They actually don’t have to pay it to be able to negotiate, they only have to say they’re willing to pay it. Once a team agrees to a contract with him, only that team has to pay the fee (in installments).

          • CashmanNinja says:

            Yeah, that’s what I technically meant. :P

            Either way it’s a very, very, very small risk to take. You never know if there’s a particular team/place he’d want to play for and would be willing to take a team friendly deal. It’s a very small chance, but it’s one that’s worth risking the chance at losing $20 mil. I’m guessing he could get something like what CC got, although not quite the salary. CC’s extension was 5/122. I’m thinking Tanaka could get something like 6/120. It’s a ton to pay an unproven (MLB) player, but it’s a bidding war. If you want him you’ll have to pony up the money. I wouldn’t even be shocked if it reached CC’s original deal (7/161).

          • Yanktime says:

            Yes, although they have to go one step more than say they will pay it. They actually have to submit a bid. While it’s “easy” in Tanaka’s case since any interested team will submit the maximum $20M bid. It’s more complicated with most of the players who will be posted since they will be lesser players and the posting bids will reflect that. In many cases there will only be one winner, which eliminates any type of free agent bidding war that can happen with the really good players who will receive multiple bids. In Tanaka’s case, why wouldn’t every team committ to the bid, even if they have zero chance of winning. If nothing else, it’s good PR to the team’s fanbase.

            I do think we’ll see some more funky bids for the good but lesser players. 10,000,001.1. An extra dollar and a penny? I wonder if the new system has a minimum level of dollar increases. That would make sense so a player doesn’t lose out on multiple teams who are truly interested in his services just because one team addes a penny, or two!

            • forensic says:

              That’s not actually how it works. The Japanese team tells MLB how much the release fee must be when they post the player. Then the MLB teams must be willing to pay that much if they want to negotiate and sign the player. There’s no bidding by MLB teams for the release fee, it’s just whatever the Japanese team chooses to set it at (up to $20 million) and then it’s that much or nothing for the MLB teams.

              • Rick says:

                The system would make very little sense if this were true. Every player would cost $20M. You have to submit the bid then you can negotiate.

                • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

                  No, not players who couldn’t realistically get $20 million bids,. Take the case of Hiroyuki Nakajima. If his team had posted him for $20 million, nobody would have paid it. The Yanks won with a $2 million bid. Under the new system, his team would have had to estimate his value and then set a price accordingly. If they set a $1.5 million fee, maybe more than the Yanks make that offer and someone actually signs him. But under the old system, only the Yanks could negotiate with him, they didn’t come to terms, and the Japanese team got nothing.

              • Yanktime says:

                Forensic, thanks. I clearly didn’t read the fine print on the new system!

                Basically, this puts the pressure on the Japanese team to figure out what would be the highest acceptable price to post a player. For a Tanaka it’s easy, for other players perhaps a bit more complicated.

    • Angelo says:

      I believe it’s the first one. I haven’t heard anything relating to the latter. What sites were saying that he would have to choose one team to talk to?

  28. yankeesfan says:

    Dylan Hernandez @ dylanohernandez
    Golden Eagles announce Tanaka will be posted, according to
    Sankei Sports. RT @sankeisports

  29. Dicka24 says:

    As much as I want the Yankees to sign him, I worry that the new system, and bidding war that comes with it, will result in a massive overpay the team could one day regret. Remember, the contract will count against the tax.

    Over/Under at $100 million deal. I bet it goes over. How about you guys?

    • forensic says:

      It will almost certainly be an overpay, and the team that wins may end up regretting it.

      But, pitchers of his age and potential NEVER become available anymore in the league, and despite the risk I think the Yankees have to go in really big to try to get him (especially considering the state of their rotation and farm system).

      • Dicka24 says:

        Totally agree on all counts.

        The lack of available high end pitching on the market (be it via trade or in free agency), the mediocre options from the farm system, and the need in the rotation…


        the fact that the one resource the Yankees have a lot of is cash…


        they have to go after Tanaka hard.

        • CashmanNinja says:

          And we wouldn’t lose a draft pick that we would if we signed someone like Jimenez or Santana. Garza wouldn’t cost a pick, but I also feel he has the least remaining upside of the bunch. When you add everything into the equation then Tanaka is hands down the best of the bunch in terms of age and potential. And like you said…the Yankees’ #1 asset is money and they should use it.

      • Dick M says:

        Key words their are state of the rotation and farm system. We have to overpay. It’s all we do. It’s all we know.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      It will definitely go over. Guys like Ervin Santana want over $100 mil. Tanaka is young (I believe he hasn’t even turned 25 yet), he can throw hard, and he has good off-speed stuff. Plus he has the kind of pitching mentality that actually does well in New York. Remember how Chien-Ming Wang would pitch like he had ice water in his veins? Tanaka is of the same mold. He attacks batters, he teases them, and he isn’t afraid to be a little unorthodox. I saw some clips where he was ahead of the batter 0-2 and went high fastball on 3 straight pitches to strike him out. He’ll also run a fastball in on lefties and I’m sorry, but I absolutely hate when pitchers get all pussified and refuse to brush batters off the plate. Clemens may have been King asshole, but he would never let a guy crowd the plate and the hitters knew that. Our guys never seemed to go inside to jam the hitters or even warn them that they need to stop crowding the plate. Tanaka is a risk, but if you’re ever going to take a risk then it’s on a pitcher like him.

      6 years, $120 mil is my best reasonable guess. He’ll definitely hit $100 and I think the 6th year (and $20 mil) is what will entice him to come.

    • BFDeal says:

      Over. Everyone was “predicting” a posting fee of $60-75M and a contract around 5/$50-60. So you were looking at a total investment as high as $125M+. I think it still ends up in that ballpark…just more years.

      • CashmanNinja says:

        The thing about that though was it would only be a handful of teams that would be willing to even try to spend that much with a blind bid. The predictions were high because there were a few teams that *really* wanted him and if they were to get him would have to submit a really high bid. Now a lot of teams can jump into the mix and that alone will push the price tag up even more. Instead of a huge posting fee it’ll basically be a huge salary. That sucks with the payroll ramifications, but oh well. C’est la vie.

      • Dicka24 says:

        I just hope that if the Yankees do sign him, he’s more Yu Darvish than he is Dice-K Matsazaka. I live in Boston and remember first hand how Dice-K was the Japanese Cy Young. The term “ace” was used a lot here, and it was repeated over and over that he had 4 or 5 plus pitches, which he could all throw for strikes, with a 95-96 mph heater. A lot of what they said about Dice-K, they said about Darvish, and they’re saying it now about Tanaka. I only mention that cuz it seems Japanese starters are like Forrest Gump’s Box’o’choclates, you never know whatchu gonna get.

      • Yanktime says:

        Over. I’m actually seeing predictions of 6/100, and that doesn’t include the posting fee. And if that’s the prediction, then it will be over that. It always is.

        There may be as many as 30 teams submitting the $20M posting fee, if for no other reason to show fans they’re interested, or on the small chance Tanaka might have an interest in their market, or just to drive up his price if a division competitor is in on him.

  30. TopChuckie says:

    Who is his agent?

    • CashmanNinja says:

      3 guys he was deciding between were Casey Close (Jeter/Teixeira), Arn Tellem (Jason Giambi/Kei Igawa/Yu Darvish), and Mark Pieper (Koji Uehara/Daisku Matsuzaka).

      I personally think Close would be the best since the Yankees know him fairly well, but I know this may sound weird…but it may not be a bad thing if he chose Scott Boras because the Yankees actually seem to have a very good relationship with him.

      • Yanktime says:

        If I’m in Tanaka’s situation, I’m totally picking Boras. Yet I haven’t heard them connected, at least yet. I suppose Jay Z can step in and do his recruiting magic before turning negotiations over to the real pros, yet as the player I have no idea what Jay Z’s value add is. Did Cano have to pay him an additional fee? If so, it’s lost money since he’s gotten at minimum the same deal with Boras, and watching Boras over the years, he might have pulled even another team in eventually, or simply convinved the Yankees they really needed Cano, who would have gotten his money and remained with the Yankees.

        • CashmanNinja says:

          I think the 3 (Close, Tellem, and Pieper) are the finalists. It isn’t that bad of news for the Yankees. I personally think the winner will be Arn Tellem because of his recent ties with foreign players. He was also Matsui’s agent. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but it’s probably better than George isn’t here anymore because I remember reading some things on how George didn’t like the way he did business. But then again I doubt any owner will ever truly like how an agent does business.

    • forensic says:

      According to this article from a couple of days ago, he’s working on narrowing it down. All three of the agents mentioned have had pretty strong ties to several Yankees, for what it’s worth.

  31. George says:

    Hi, I read and write Japanese. Born there. Can confirm NHK (national news channel in Japan) has just posted the official announcement from Rakuten that they are giving Tanaka the OK to go to the majors this year.

  32. Dicka24 says:

    $20 million per over 6 guaranteed years, for a guy whose never thrown one pitch in the majors. That’s so crazy. Add in the tax ramifications, and that figure probably grows by about $20 million or so. I sure hope the guy is as good as advertised. He has to pitch like a #2 at least to earn that money. 200 innings of sub 3.50 era at least. Kuroda like numbers, if not a touch better maybe. What if he’s Phil Hughes 2.0?

    • CashmanNinja says:

      Phil Hughes if Hughes could strike guys out and not go from an 0-2 count to a 2-2 count, with several fouled off balls, and then give up a home run.

      I think a sub 3.50 ERA is do-able, but I don’t think it’ll be Darvish territory. Tanaka is very good, but Darvish is definitely better. If Darvish had a posting system like this he probably would have gotten $180 mil.

  33. Farewell Mo says:

    Signing Tanaka and having him pitch like a #2 or 3 starter could be the difference between the Yanks starting the season with a team no better if not worse than what they started last year with vs starting the season with a team that has a legitimate chance of making the playoffs.

    • stuckey says:

      If the Yanks start out 2014 with a similar team that the one they started 2013 with, and they don’t lose Beltran twice like they did Granderson, and they don’t lose Texeira for the season like they lost Texeira for the season, and they don’t lose Jeter for the season like they lost Jeter for the season, and Sabathia shaves a run off his ERA… that wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world.

      THAT team would have a legit chance of making the postseason.

      • nycsportzfan says:

        People seem to forget we were in the hunt for postseason with all those injuries you speak of and then some. Now we got a team that has Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kelly Johnson, Matt Thornton, and Carlos Beltran. We got Tex and Jeets back, and were not even done adding yet(possibly tanaka and garza?). The team the yanks have now are legit WS contenders if they add Tanaka. As they sit, they are playoff team. You always gotta assume your roster stays healthy of course, as no one can perdict injuries.

        • forensic says:

          They were barely in the postseason hunt, and they were only that close because they were extremely lucky in one-run games. They were outscored on the season and thus had a sub-.500 pythag.

          They also lost Cano, Pettitte, and Rivera, and there is a ton of uncertainty as to what the returning injured and older players will be able to do.

          There’s also no way they’re signing both Tanaka and Garza.

        • Farewell Mo says:

          They lost Cano, Granderson, Pettitte and Rivera so at this point, they’re probably still overall net in the negative.

          They have by a wide margin the oldest team in the majors so expect injuries.

      • Farewell Mo says:

        Even before the injuries, most projections had them as an 87-88 win non playoff team. They actually outperformed heir Pythagorean record by quite a bit.

        • Yanktime says:

          Pythag projections before the start before the start of the season? That’s not how it works. Not trying to pick, but do you mean expert guesses at the start of the year? Many of them also had the Yankees in the low 90s win wise.

          No matter. We know what they did, injuries and all. Lots of work to be done. Tanaka would be an excellent addition if he matches the billing.

          • Farewell Mo says:

            Not sure what you’re talking about.

            ZiPS had the Yankees as an 86-87 win team last year BEFORE the season missing the playoffs. They won what, 85-86 games though they were really a lot worse than their record reflected as they outperformed their Pythagorean record by 7-8 games which was likely a fluke. The fact that they were in the playoff race as long as they were was more good fortune than good baseball.

            • Yanktime says:

              Yes, although that’s a fairly high win total for a projection system, which by their nature compress wins. In 2013, if I remember correctly, only four teams in the AL were projected to win more than 90 games by ZiPS, and only one in the AL East (Toronto). The best record was supposed to go to the Angels. The Red Sox were projected a tick over .500, too. They had Oakland below .500.

              Under a ZiPS system, a team in the mid-85 win range would be a playoff contender.

              Projection systems are fun this time of year. I look at them for trends. The get some right, they miss horribly like other straight out of LF guesses from ESPN!

      • Dick M says:

        I don’t see it. Not with the staff as currently constituted. With no 4 and 5 starter. Oh and you lost me with “and Sabathia shaves a run off his ERA”.

  34. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    I think they’re going big on him, and I think they’ve got a pretty good shot at getting him.

    I know we normally laugh at this sort of thing, but the Yankees could assemble quite the recruitment team to make a big impression with three of the biggest Japanese MLB stars either under contract or certifiable Yankee greats. Want to know what wearing pinstripes is like, sir? Have a talk with Ichiro, Kuroda, and Godzilla.

    If they don’t get him, it won’t be out of lack of effort. Whoever does get him, though, with the kind gf money he’ll get, this could be franchise-altering, one way or another. Front office careers will be made or sunk off this guy.

    It’s a chance worth taking. Go get him, Cash.

    • Yanktime says:

      I hope they are serious on him, too. There is risk since he’s never thrown a pitch in MLB and his stuff ranks below Darvish according to the experts, but it’s not my money. They need a starter and he seems to be the best out there.

    • CashmanNinja says:

      I really do think Kuroda will be the dark horse for landing Tanaka. Coming here and getting to pitch behind him could really help with the transition from Japan to America. Let’s not forget that it is not an easy jump and players take time to get used to everything. Many guys just don’t make it, but Tanaka is talented enough where I expect him to succeed. The Yankees have scouted this guy like CRAZY. They’ve sent their entire legion of scouts to watch him pitch in several games. They screwed up with Igawa because it was a panic move. Cashman didn’t even know a single pitch he threw and was honest about that. Tanaka is a whole different animal. I believe he’ll be what the Yankees prayed Igawa would be — except this time they’re actually doing some research and not pulling a random prediction out of their ass. It’s definitely a risk, but it’s the kind of risk the Yankees can afford — so to speak.

      • forensic says:

        The whole Igawa thing was just baffling. $46 million for someone that you don’t even know what pitches he throws???

        • mustang says:

          Don’t tell that to Mike and Ben who at the time thought it was a better deal then paying Ted Lilly plus a tax hit. Hands down the dumbest move of Cashman’s tenured.
          Hopefully we all learn what happens when the Yankees try and go cheap.

      • vicki says:

        haven’t i read that ichiro is his idol? if that helps us land tanaka we’ll be able to say we got back a little something for that contract.

      • qwerty says:

        This is not even remotely true. Cashman had his eye on Igawa for years from viewing him on video, and then he finally got him all to himself when he won the bid for him.

  35. Yanktime says:

    Exactly a 1.27 ERA in two of the last three seasons. Odd in a freakisly good way.

  36. forensic says:

    Thanks for the added video, Mike. It cool seeing some emotion and energy from him too. Sometimes you think of Japanese players as all stoic and bland, but maybe he’s got some fire inside him (as I’m sure they all do, they just don’t necessarily show it).

    • RetroRob says:

      I read something the other day about him. He is the opposite of the stoic Japanese pitcher. Can be quite passionate. Even, dare I say, fist pumping on the mound!

      • forensic says:

        Cool, good news. I like when guys show some emotion, though hate it when they reach Puig-level. Hopefully he’s in that happy medium. I certainly can’t see a Japanese player reaching that Puig-level anyway, which is good.

  37. mustang says:

    “According to Yahoo! Japan, Tanaka is deciding between Casey Close, Arn Tellem and Mark Pieper”

    Close is Jeter’s agent and Tellem is Tex’s so hopefully Tanaka picks one of those guys. Not sure if it will help but at least there will be some familiarity there.

  38. vicki says:

    how ’bout that bb/9.

    • forensic says:

      The homeruns too, but that’s part of what makes it so difficult to really know what you’re getting with Japanese pitchers. Their hitters are so aggressive and not powerful compared to MLB hitters.

  39. RetroRob says:

    Well this is all good news for a Christmas Eve.

    Hard to guess what his contract will be, but no doubt more than most of us will guess! The top players coming from Japan prior had the posting fee and were restricted to negotiating with one team.

    Be funny if MLB once again, in its attempt to control costs, actually increases their costs.

  40. Yankeefan91 says:

    I Can See It Now #17 Masahiro Tanaka Pitching In Pinstripes At Yankee Stadium.

  41. There She Goes says:

    This is no sure thing. Two things to be nervous about.

    1. Will the Yankees go big enough to land him?

    2. Tanaka is in essence a free agent; does he want to go to the Yankees? (Remember Cliff Lee)

    • Mike says:

      If you compare all three clubs. Cubs, Dodgers, and Yankees.

      - Which one has the better team?
      - Which one has the money to pay him?
      - Which one can make him feel comfortable?

      Obviously he will choose NY. We can offer all 3.

      • forensic says:

        Well, if we’re going by your questions, I don’t see how that means he’ll obviously choose NY. The answer to the first question is most likely the Dodgers and the answer to the second question is all of the teams. As for the third one, I bet they could all make him comfortable when they’re paying him $100+ million.

  42. forensic says:

    Imagine what an amazing day it would be if Tanaka signed with the Yankees on the same day that A-Rod’s suspension was completely nullified. Talk about a battle for the headlines.

  43. Kluang Yankee says:

    If you compare all three clubs. Cubs, Dodgers, and Yankees.
    - Which one has the better team?
    - Which one has the money to pay him?
    - Which one can make him feel comfortable?
    Obviously he will choose NY. We can offer all 3.
    You can add these questions?
    Which team is in a league that does not have a DH? Do you think that he wants to have 95mph fastballs thrown at him? I think that he probably does want to bat.
    Which team has other Japanese players on their team that he can hang with?
    Of course, the big answer is the one to number two — Hal has to show him the money and he is ours.

  44. Fat Kitty Toad says:

    Sad that the Yankees are in this position:
    a) Not developing their own pitchers
    b) About to break 189 after punting last year and Darvish the year before
    c) Tanaka will be overpaid and likely underperform, like many Japanese pitchers before him

    I’m old and still remember how Irabu was a sure fire frontline starter and how Sox fans tracked Dice-Ks airplane across the country.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Your handle is all about Irabu, and I’m thinking you changed it because of the Tanaka posting making some big headlines.

      The theme you seem to post is that they can’t develop & the ownership/GM must change…dude this isn’t the Knicks or Mets here, these guys are proven winners and yes they make some stupid decisions but no one here that is mentally functioning well can change that.

      I’ll root for them and every once and awhile they make a good decision like smiling & letting Cano/Z go to Siberia and claim disrespect while taking the money only which proves why whores get no respect. Will miss the swing and glove but not the lack of hustle and 3 pitch PA’s.

      Odds dictate that Tanaka won’t be a NYY, but hopefully he pulls some honorable (Japanese type thing) 3/60 deal to test his MLB capability and dealing with living abroad.

  45. fred robbins says:

    Yankees getting Tanaka would be like putting lipstick on a pig. This is not a team going anywhere, and all this would do is give the idiotic fan base a young star to root for. How will Tanaka feel when he sees his potential infield of no shortstop no third baseman and a 1st baseman who has been declining in OPS the last 5 years. This along with a pitching staff that has a used up CC, a used up Kuroda and no one else of any worth to go out to the mound every 5 days. It’s ridiculous. People here mention Warren and Phelpsie– but I guess your memories of those minor league pitchers is being blinded by the signings of more aging players.

    I think the only way there will be another Yankee championship is when Cashman and the owners are gone- as there is no proof that they have a clue about what it takes to win– they can watch Tampa and Oakland do it right– and I guess they have no desire to do what it takes to build a team that can compete for years at a time.

    I really don’t understand all the supposedly smart fans here who think this team has a chance at anything other than 3rd place or worse until major changes are made at the top

    • Fat Kitty Toad says:

      Sadly, I agree. The tone here is way too enthusiastic for:
      a) a guy who has never pitched in MLB
      b) an organization and club that has far bigger concerns

      If they are going all in on Tanaka, why didn’t they do so for Darvish? He was the better prospect.

      Moreover, if they are blowing past 189, the the XMas wish list is a lot longer.

    • CS Yankee says:

      How many flags do these recent great ” do it the right way” teams (Oakland & Tampa) have flying?

      Oakland was last a powerhouse in the late-80′s with the bash-n-road bros. Tampa went to the WS once and Philly sent them home fairly quickly. Both are bargain bin dumpster divers that have a solid farm program that develops MLB caliber pitchers and that seems to be fading fairly quickly now that they are picking like Houston every year.

      This team is 1-3 players from being in the postseason & if those 1-3 players are healthy studs, another flag is in the cards…28 baby!

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      “I think the only way there will be another Yankee championship is when Cashman and the owners are gone- as there is no proof that they have a clue about what it takes to win– they can watch Tampa and Oakland do it right– and I guess they have no desire to do what it takes to build a team that can compete for years at a time.”

      I guess 2009 never happened.

      I guess the Yanks didn’t make the post-season every year of Cashman’s GM tenure except for two.

      Look, is there probably a bit of over-exuberance about Tanaka? Of course. But your negativism is no less ridiculous. You have taken the worst-case scenario and painted it as what will happen.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      What have you got against pigs?

    • grouchonyy says:

      and how many WS rings have TB and Oakland amassed?

  46. Fat Kitty Toad says:

    Personally, I’m really hoping the Mariners go all out again.

    I’d rather wait for Kershaw and hope he makes it to free agency. The Yankees aren’t one player away from a championship.

  47. Dicka24 says:

    In watching that video, Tanaka kinda looks a lot like Kuroda. Anyone else think that?

    I will say that my amateur eye thinks his motion doesn’t change much, regardless of the pitch he’s throwing. He seems to repeat his delivery real well. His off speed stuff comes out like a fastball would, and vice versa. I’m obviously no scout, so who knows for sure.

  48. Mike HC says:

    Gotta say that I like the new posting system. I’m also kind of expecting the Yanks to land Tanaka. Hope I’m not disappointed.

  49. Fat Kitty Toad says:

    I don’t. $20M means only the best will be posted. That leaves out a lot of good, not great, prospects. Instead they should have just agreed on a percentage take from the first contract.

  50. pinch hitter says:

    Yeah, even if you agreed the Yankees are bad you wouldn’t want to add a young star to give the fans something to root for. That would make no sense at all.

  51. trr says:

    I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

  52. CS Yankee says:


    Levine states at the announcement that because he is 25, and not 31, a ten year contract made sense.

    :::you’re mind blown:::

  53. fred robbins says:

    Pinch hitter— your sarcasm is well placed and noted, and it would be great to have a young star on this team— I just feel it would be like going to a Lousy Movie because there is ONE good actor in it…. I find it hard to root for a team I have followed for 50 years, when the owners want me to accept these excuses for no infield, no bull pen, and really a whole pitching staff that is a question mark. Where were Yankees on Doug Pfister? Scott Kazmir—Infante—etc…How do you sell a team with a 40 year old broken ankle shortstop with no range to begin with and a 1st baseman who is fragile also seems to have his best years far behind him.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      How do you know the Tigers were interested in trading Pfister to the Yanks? You think Cashman turned down Pfister? You are just making idiotic statements.

      And if you want to back up a truck for Kazmir and Infante after one good outlier season, I’m quite glad you are not making the decisions for the Yanks.

    • stuckey says:

      As always, hyperbole is the enemy of trying to make a point.

      As a fan of 50 years, are you counting 1965 through 1975? That means for `12 of YOUR own self-described 50 years of fandom the NY Yankees were arguably their their lowest ebb ever.

      How about ’83 through ’93? Do those years count?

      This means your first 30 YEARS of fandom YOU saw the Yankees finish first exactly 5 times.

      Let me repeat that – during the first 30 YEARS of your self-described 50 years of Yankee fandom YOU saw the Yankees finish first exactly 5 times.

      You want to have a rational discussion about the Yankees offseason (doesn’t seem that way, but I too am making a point), okay… but given the facts, understanding the team may struggle occasionally would be appropriate, given your VAST experiences in your formative fan years watching them do exactly that.

      There is plenty of discussion to be had about the state of the franchise, just leave the ludicrous levels of bitterness behind. It undermines your credibility.

      Merry Christmas.

      • Fat Kitty Toad says:

        It’s not the fact that they struggle. It’s how they struggle.

        Those old teams had ownership issues and so management issues. CBS was plenty greedy too.

        No one here talks about how for all the power Cashman got, he’s squandered immense talent too. And we also don’t discuss how Levine has re-emerged exactly because of the mistakes Cashman has made.

        Fred’s original post was about management and he’s exactly right. The ship is rudderless. You can talk about how much they’ve won versus in the past, but there were no divisions or wild cards then.

        Spending $200 million a year is easy in the wild card era. It’s how they spend it that’s the problem. And the results of even last year and even 2012 bear that out.

    • Joseph says:

      Ha..Fred. He’s funny. Severe case of diarrhea of the mouth.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner says:

      Pfister? Is he a pharmaceutical company?

      We lost Billy Martin on Christmas, yet got to keep you. Bah Humbug.

    • pinch hitter says:

      I’ve been following the Yanks for 45 yrs — started watching when they had a broken down former star 1B named Mantle and a SS who never had any great days behind him to maybe leave behind — and I’m going to be rooting for this team too good or bad because, well, because it’s the Yankees. Sure, I’d love for them to have young stars, but I’m not going to stop rooting for Jeter because he’s 40. And not having Kazmir or Infante, or even Pfister (esp. without evidence they could have got him) is not going to stop me.

  54. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    Anyone trolling on Christmas deserves a lump of coal……that I pooped on first.

  55. mustang says:

    Fred Robbins is really Fred Claus he is pissed at his brother again and he taken out here.

    Lets give old Fred a break.

  56. Medical Quackery says:
  57. cooolbreez says:

    If only they had gone all out to sign Hugh Dervish…

  58. Joseph says:

    Hmmmm. Wonder if Tanaka will simply go to the highest bidder/most years, or if other factors will come into play?

    • Mike HC says:

      I don’t see why he would want to come all this way to play for a losing team, or a “second city.” And if is he smart, he should set himself up to receive two mega contracts, and not try to push for anything more than 7 years, maybe not even more than 5-6, on this first deal.

  59. qwerty says:

    Why do I keep on hearing that Tanaka likes to throw fastballs up in the zone? Didn’t Igawa have a similar issue? If the yankees actually get this guy this could turn out to be an enormous disaster.

    • Mike HC says:

      It would be more on par with an Irabu, Dice K level disaster than Igawa, in my opinion. But lets hope it doesn’t come to that and he settles in as a number 2 like predicted (for the Yanks, of course). Unless he does turn out to be a disaster, then I hope the Sox land him, ha.

  60. Mike HC says:

    Giving Jeter that unnecessary raise all of sudden makes more sense now that we know Tanaka is going with Close. Close got some extra walking around money, Jeter is happy, and now he can nudge, nudge, wink, wink Tanaka into signing with the Yanks. Done deal.

  61. Stanislaw says:

    Cashman’s ‘squandered talent’? Please tell me all the great talent Cashman has ‘squandered’? What players has he let get away that have gone on to made them regret trading or getting rid of them?

    I bet you come up with zero players and/or another straw man argument about how “Ca$hmin is teh suxxor!!!11uno”

    It’s idiots like you who make Yankee fans the fans I hate the most. Stop with the stupid and get a fucking clue already.

    • Duke Silver says:

      my only real qualm with Cashman has been not dealing any combination of Hughes, Joba or Kennedy for Miggy Cabrera when he had the chance. That’s it and it’s not even using the classic hindsight is 20/20 either. At that time, I felt the same way.

  62. greatbambino says:

    I know that there were several factors that went into the Yankees passing a couple years ago, but the money that the Yankees are about to spend on Tanaka would have been much better served if they spent it on YU DARVISH.

    I know the Yanks got burned before on Irabu and Igawa, but Darvish is simply from another planet and has the upside to be the best pitcher on the planet. Darvish is a 6’5″ Pedro Martinez who is only getting better.

    Tanaka will be very good, but he’s not on the same level as Darvish.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Yu are overstating things quite a bit.

      Other than K/9 rates, I’m not finding much of a difference between the two. Texas went beyond crazy in the posting beating the next post by what 25M$ or thereabouts… when they had Nolan Ryan teaching kids to toughen up and throw more innings, jerking their closer around as a SP, MRP, SP and 7th inning guy. Let’s not believe they know exactly which way is up in the pitching arena.

      In fact lets stop judging any team, let alone our own, for not going crazy in a blind post system and save that scorn if they don’t come around with the best offer for a kid that is projected to be a #2 SP when most things will be on the table.

      And this kid might develop into something greater than Yu (imagined).

      • qwerty says:

        You are correct. If all you look at in IP, H, BB and ERA there’s not much of difference. As for as stuff goes that’s a different story.

      • greatbambino says:

        Like I said, Tanaka will be very good, but Darvish is a once in a generation talent. The size, the athleticism, the pure stuff.

        Forget Tanaka’s superficial 24-0, 1.27 ERA stats. His body size and pitching style will not translate as well as Darvish has. His straight fastball will be more hittable in MLB.

        But again, Tanaka will be good, but Darvish has everything it takes to not only be an ace, but also be the best pitcher in baseball.

        I almost think it’s a travesty that Tanaka will command a bigger annual contract than Darvish will.. (I’ve been following Darvish since 2008)

        Yu Darvish = Pedro Martinez. Tanaka = Kuroda/Dan Haren

  63. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    As of right before this comment, there were exactly 189 comments on this thread.


  64. mustang says:

    Close choice seems like a good sign. I think when the dust clears Tanaka, Balfour, and Drew will all be Yankees. That’s 4 out of the top 10 and 7 out of the top 25 from MLBTR’s free agent list. There still will be a few more Fred Claus’ out there….SMH… but I guess that’s life.

    • forensic says:

      Well, that’s also a misleading way of looking at it. Without even discussing some of the overpays (IMO), you’re giving them credit for doing things that they haven’t done yet and haven’t mentioned anything they lost. I just don’t see them signing Drew anyway, though Tanaka and Balfour are certainly possibilities. But, you haven’t mentioned that they lost the by-far #1 free agent, the #13 free agent, and two guys who would’ve certainly been near the top part of the list if they hadn’t retired instead. Also, one of the guys you’re counting is someone who was already on the team last season, so it’s not like that’s a difference.

      Yeah, they signed some good players who can help upgrade a couple of spots, but they also lost some good players who will lead to a downgrade in some spots.

      • Travis L. says:

        But I think that the upgrades they made will be greater than the downgrades they are facing. If they sign Tanaka and Balfour, that will help. I don’t think signing Drew is the answer, as I’m not sold on what he brings to the table being what the Yankees necessarily need. There are other lower cost signings to be had that will help.

        • Fat Kitty Toad says:

          On Drew – Um, a legit 2b, SS, or 3b? They have none of those now.

          • Chris says:

            No they don’t, but that gives you even more of a logjam in the infield. We still don’t know if A-Rod will play, then we have Roberts, Nunez, Ryan, Jeter, Kelley and you want to add Drew to that? If they had wanted to sign Drew, they would have done that instead of grabbing Roberts and Kelley. I read somewhere that they have about 10MM left before they hit 189. At this point they need to ask themselves, “what do I need more?” a legit infielder or a hopefully a solid #2-3 SP who is 25. They probably will choose the SP. You can pay him 10MM next year and then 15MM the next 6 years, if he agrees to it of course. Tanaka IMO has much more of a chance to be an impact player for them at this stage than Drew. Of course if the 189MM is truly out the window, then I say go for it. But judging by their actions, I don’t think it is.

    • mustang says:

      Thinking about it probably more realistic if they sign Tanaka end up with 200mm payroll and 22 mm tax hit a bit less then last year. Yankees are spending but they been conservative in their choices.

    • Steinbrenner's Ghost says:

      Not necessarily as Close also reps Greinke and Kershaw.

  65. Up and In says:

    That weak outside breaking ball escape pitch is worth $100m?

    That might work in Japan against what equates to AA-AAA guys but good luck dropping a cash bomb on this guy hoping that pitch holds up.

    Why is it Yankees fans always get sold the new phenom pitcher is on the way…every year…Pineda…Killer Bs…Kennedy…Joba…Kei Igawa..

    and you’re STILL surprised when it doesn’t work out every year?

    and STILL not angry at your front office for selling you this crap?

  66. Brian says:

    That sales pitch is coming from the media and the blogs, not the front office.

    Tanaka is worth whatever teams are willing to pay him. He’s a 25 year old #2 or #3 starter. These guys don’t become available via free agency, so it’s not ridiculous to expect a big contract. While it’s usually overstated, Tanaka brings additional value via the Japanese media markets.

    Those “phenoms” (I wouldn’t include Igawa in the list) were also valued by other teams and asked for in trades, so it’s a little ridiculous to downplay the hype. It’s not a matter of the guys not being talented, it’s a matter of the Yankees inability to develop minor league SP talent above the AA level.

  67. Yankenstein says:

    Kuroda, Ichiro and Matsui should be making recruiting calls.

  68. Newman says:

    Does having Matsui on team help the cause?

    • Chris says:

      Not sure, but Matsui still lives in NY and is involved in the organization. Ichiro is only on the team for one more year at most though and same with Kuroda. Kuroda though should be a huge asset as he has a similar approach and can act as a great mentor to help Tanaka make that successful transition from NPB to MLB NY.

      Also, Trey Hillman is with the team now and he managed the Fighters in the NPB to a Japan Series title. He will have played against Tanaka a bunch of times and should be a great resource for not just him, but most incoming Japanese players.

  69. fred robbins says:

    good morning after XMAS.
    Thanks to all who replied to my comments!!!
    I agree with some-not all… I am not bitter—just frustrated. Game has changed much in last 10 yrs and seems Yanks behind many teams in player development. I hate that management is more concerned with Jeter’s ego than finding a ss or telling him he’s batting 7th.
    It sucks seeing players choose other teams over Yanks for same or less money. Never used to happen. Happy New Year

  70. Bravo says:

    What is going on??? How come they haven’t signed Tanaka yet?? What is Cashman doing???

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