Jan
27

Unlike Igawa, Yankees did their homework before going all in on Tanaka

By
(J. Meric/Getty)

(J. Meric/Getty)

By any measure, Kei Igawa was one of the biggest busts in Yankees history. The team spent a total of $46M to acquire him ($26M posting fee and then a five-year, $20M contract) during the 2006-07 offseason, and in return they received a 68 ERA+ in 71.2 big league innings. Igawa made his final appearance in pinstripes in June 2008 and spent most of those five years in the minors.

“It was a disaster. We failed,” said Brian Cashman to Bill Pennington in July 2011 when asked to evaluated the southpaw’s tenure with the team. According to NPB Tracker, Igawa told the Japanese version of the Wall Street Journal that Cashman and the team’s coaching staff had to ask him what his best pitch was during their first meeting. It became clear then and is obvious now the Yankees didn’t do their homework before investing $46M in the lefty. Failed might be an understatement.

For the first time since the Igawa fiasco, the Yankees finally dipped back into the Japanese talent pool last week, signing right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year contract worth $155M. The $20M release fee means the total investment is $175M, or nearly four times what they put into Igawa. Tanaka is younger and has been statistically better than Igawa was when the team signed him, but, more importantly, the Yankees made sure not to repeat their mistake and actually did their homework this time.

“We started evaluating [Tanaka] back in 2007,” said Cashman to reporters (including Andy McCullough) during a conference call last week. “So clearly we’ve been scouting over in Japan for quite some time. The evaluations on him started on him back in 2007. Certainly paid attention to him back in the 2009 WBC, when we were first able to evaluate him with a Major League baseball, against Major League hitters. This year we were at 15 of his games, including the WBC, and we sent a Major League scout from the U.S. to evaluate him in the playoffs as well.”

Tanaka was an 18-year-old rookie with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2007, so the Yankees have essentially watched him grow from a just-graduated high schooler into the best pitcher in the world who wasn’t employed by a Major League team. “By 2009, the Yankees were drooling over Tanaka and imagining what it would be like to have him in their rotation,” wrote Jack Curry following the deal. Here’s some more from his post:

Across the last few seasons, the Yankees have studied Tanaka’s impressive exploits on the mound and have seen a fierce competitor, someone that reminds them of CC Sabathia. The Yankees interviewed Andruw Jones, Casey McGehee and Darrell Rasner, former Yankees who all were teammates with Tanaka, and heard superb reports about his demeanor and toughness. By the time the Yankees made their offer to Tanaka, they had 11 different scouting evaluations from members of their organization.

When that many people evaluate a player, there are bound to be differences of opinion. It’s no surprise then that we heard one unnamed team official recently say: “Just because he had great success over there doesn’t mean he’s going to be lights out here. We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s not like he’s a sure-fire thing. I’d like to think so, but I’m not convinced.” Those differences of opinion are a good thing. There should always be someone challenging the popular opinion and forcing them to look deeper, especially when talking about a deal of this magnitude.

(AP/Kyodo News)

(AP/Kyodo News)

“We made a determined effort to put ourselves in the position to know as much as we possibly could, in the event that he was ever posted,” added Cashman. “So this has been a long, drawn-out process, not just from the financial negotiating standpoint that’s taken since he was posted. But obviously making sure that we were in a position that in the event a talent such as his became available that we were able to make recommendations accordingly, based on the scouting assessments.”

Based on various reports, several other clubs had interest in Tanaka and were offering contracts in excess of $100M, including the pitching-wise Dodgers, White Sox and Diamondbacks. The Cubs supposedly made an offer similar to the Yankees’ but refused to include the opt-out clause after the fourth year, which is why they lost out. They aren’t ready to contend immediately and didn’t want to lose him right as their window opened. Those teams all spent time scouting Tanaka and thought enough of him to make significant offers, so the Yankees aren’t the only team to consider him an impact starter. (Just FYI: The next highest bid for Igawa was $15M by the Mets.)

It’s entirely possible Tanaka will be a bust like Igawa, just way more expensive. No one can truly know how he will handle the big leagues until he gets up on a mound in games that mean something. If Tanaka does flame out or merely settles in as a number four or five starter rather than the number two he is widely considered, it won’t be because the Yankees didn’t do their homework. They’ve been on him for years and were one of several teams to think highly of his combination or age, ability, and stuff. Igawa was a disaster, no doubt about it, but the Yankees seem to have learned from that experience. They won’t be caught with too little information again.

Categories : Pitching

93 Comments»

  1. Jerkface says:

    I love the diligence and the effort clearly put out by the front office and baseball group on scouting/acquiring Tanaka.

    All these quotes do of course beg the question: Where were these guys when Darvish was posted? I know the answer will end up being Tanaka was only signed out of desperation, but part of me wants to believe they just like the guy and rated him as a top tier free agent and would have acquired him regardless. If I believe that though, then I gotta question why they bid 14 million on Darvish who was clearly the superior MLB prospect. Watching Darvish in the seasons leading up to his posting I couldn’t imagine a better fit for the Yankees.

    Regardless, looking forward to Tanaka’s first pitch with the Yankees. Was fun to watch him in the NPB and the WBC, but doing it for my favorite team is next level.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Click the McCullough link in the post. Cashman talked about Darvish too.

      • JCK says:

        Yeah, but it’s a typical Cashman non-answer. Complete with double negatives and everything.

        It seems plausible (likely?) that they punted on Darvish because of the $189m plan, which is frustrating as a fan.

        Unless they honestly believe Tanaka would be the better MLB pitcher (and that belief would put them in the minority), it seems odd they’d not go all in on Darvish, but would on Tanaka when the total investment under the old system would have been the same. (They obviously couldn’t have seen the new system coming.)

        • Now Batting says:

          Darvish would have been more conducive for $189 because the posting fee doesn’t count towards the tax.

          • qwerty says:

            Correctomundo.

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

              Yes but in the grand scheme of things it does feel – even moreso in hindsight – that the decision not to pursue Darvish more aggressively was somehow related to plan 189, even if logically it would’ve been a better move than Tanaka.

              Cashman’s comments re Darvish were Jeteresque in their lack of content. Seems to me that the org whiffed on him as much as they did Igawa. Maybe even moreso.

      • Jerkface says:

        Seems like the organization was just super shortsighted there. Didn’t want to front the cost of Darvish when he could clearly have helped them get under 189 later and probably recoup that upfront cost.

        Though again, I have real trouble when Cashman says their scouting reports were correct on Darvish (Ace like pitcher I’m assuming?) but the posting fee was a turn off? “We had this guy pegged as a #1 but we didn’t want to pay 100 million, 50% of which is untaxable by the luxury tax to acquire him, btw we are going to spend 175 million 2 years later with an 80% tax hit.”

        • RetroRob says:

          Agree, there is something missing here. For all we know, most of the Yankees front office wanted to go after Darvish, but one key person didn’t. Levine? Hal? Perhaps the success of Darvish silenced that voice.

          All I know is it’s important for Tanaka to do well. Not just for the obvious, but out of fear that a failure will turn the Yankees away from this market for another decade!

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

            Completely agreed. My money is on Levine for this type of shit. Always.

    • Delbert Grady says:

      For me, I think it’s clear what went on when Darvish and the other top Intl. free agents hit the market in seasons past. The team was under orders to shed payroll to hit 189. There’s no other explanation for a team that needed young impact SP and OF’ers to ignore that market like the plague for several seasons. Once the Yankees front office realized that playing the budget game was going to lose them major dollars they reversed course and got Tanaka.

      I’m thrilled the Yankees are back in the business of building a strong team and are less concerned about how to game the financial system which does nothing for the fans who support this team year in year out.

      I also think the failure of the minor leagues was never more apparent than last year and this off season when the mere thought of penciling in young players is laughable with this current crop. Cashman had sold Hal on the prospects and Hal wised up finally.

      • TWTR says:

        I think you’re right that the looming but illusory goal of bringing the payroll to $189m prevented them from going all out on Darvish, Puig, etc.

        Hal seems most willing to use his financial advantage when the team is desperate, i.e., missing the playoffs coupled with a seemingly belated realization that they minor league system wouldn’t likely be able to offer any potential impact players in the short-term, at least.

        That doesn’t explain, however, why they absolutely wasted over $30m on Wells, Youkilis, Ichiro and Hafner, which could have been invested in either a younger who had an actual chance to be good, or merely used to provide a substantial chunk of the money they hoped to gain by getting under the $189m threshold.

        • Delbert Grady says:

          TWTR – In my mind, those past their prime acquisitions came from a disdain for their customers/fanbase. I believe they thought signing names that were former All Stars should keep the idiots sated. However, all it did was expose how small minded the front office was. That money allocated to the international market changes the complexion of this team from old to young. The other allure of those acquisitions goes back to the 189 goal. They weren’t long term expenditures. They were short term. Anyone from the Yankees telling you they weren’t playing for 189 is liar. They were. The avoided taking on payroll past 2013 for 2 off seasons. What changed that plan was the fans spoke with their wallets and in TV ratings. If there wasn’t a dip in both of those areas last year, Tanaka would be somewhere else and Cashman would be selling Johan Santana and Chris Capuano to us as his big off season moves.

    • qwerty says:

      The thinking was that Darvish was not worth anywhere near the money they would need to invest in him, that’s more or less the reason why they weren’t aggressive with him. I’m pretty certain the Yankees predicted that a 35-50 million dollar bid may have been necessary.

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

        But that “thinking” was patently ridiculous even at the time. It’s only gotten moreso with the crazy money injection seen across the sport.

  2. Pinkie Pie says:

    Someone should forward this to that idiot Keith Olbermann.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=w2UCuh3Hb8E

  3. Nathan says:

    I remember when Igawa first came over and one of the first things he said was “Please don’t compare me to (Matsuzaka)”. Just felt off at the time. Come to think of it, it might have been at his Yankee introduction.

    • pat says:

      I think the fact that his contract was only 5 mil a year should tell you that the Yanks didn’t think they were getting anything close to Matsuzaka. They saw him as a cheap back of the end guy. Too bad he was SWB back of the end quality.

  4. Improbable Island Guy on Another Computer says:

    It became clear then and is obvious now the Yankees didn’t do their homework before investing $46M in the lefty. Failed might be an understatement.

    Maybe this is a bit douchey, I don’t know, but how can “It was a disaster. We failed.” be an understatement? What exactly should he have said? “The skies blackened the day we signed Igawa. Hellfire scorched the Earth. The team was cursed for generations. Never before have the Yankees witnessed such a disaster – and it was all my fault”.

    I mean, you can’t get a whole lot stronger than when you use the words “disaster” and “failed”.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      And it’s not even like that signing crippled the Yankees. They still signed whoever they wanted, still made the playoffs nearly every year he was a part of the team(damn you, 2008), etc.

      It would have been a massive disaster to a team like Houston/Oakland, etc. Small market teams. It was just a large annoyance to the Yankees.

      • Farewell Mo says:

        It didn’t cripple the team but it likely resulted in them turning their backs to guys like Chapman, Darvish, Ryu, Cespedes, Puig, Soler and so on.

        • captainbmike says:

          hard to believe these are supposed to be highly intelligent baseball management people !!!!!!!!!!

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

          Why would a failed Japanese import have an effect on whether they were going after Cuban imports?

          • Farewell Mo says:

            For what, 4-5+ years after that signing they completely ignored the international FA market, Japanese, Cuban, Korean, etc.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

              Where did you get that idea? Not signing anyone doesn’t mean we were ignoring the entire market.

              • Farewell Mo says:

                When you have more money than everyone else and nothing holding you back, not signing ANYONE from that group is exactly the same as ignoring that particular market.

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

                  I agree. Igawa and then plan 189 definitely combined to make us gun shy, which was an obvious mistake in hindsight and on a case by case basis an obvious whiff in the moment.

          • Farewell Mo says:

            Even if you ignore the Cubans, they didn’t go hard after Kuroda (spent 4 years with LA), Darvish or Ryu which I believe were at least in part due to the fact that they were burned by the Igawa signing.

        • steve (different one) says:

          They were in on the Soler bidding up until the end, it was simply that the Cubs were increasing their offer after every bid.

          I could believe that it is possible that Igawa made them gun-shy from a $50-60M posting fee on Darvish, but I am skeptical that it had anything to do with the Cuban OFers.

          There is also some serious revisionism going on with Puig, who was widely viewed as a huge overpay at the time.

          • Farewell Mo says:

            Overpay by who, reporters, beat writers, blog writers?

            Some of those same people are saying the same about Tanaka.

            • steve (different one) says:

              I will admit that my memory may be off here. I was under the impression that no other team came anywhere close to the Dodgers offer, but there is a tweet from Heyman (requisite grain of salt) that may suggest otherwise.

              So, I could be wrong.

              This only backs your point about bloggers, but this is what I was remembering from Keith Law:


              Based on what I’ve heard about Puig, this is a bizarre overreaction to the upcoming international spending cap, and a huge bet that, despite a stiff swing and less athletic body than Soler, Puig’s bat is good enough to justify an investment of this size. I’ve also heard that Puig was badly out of shape in his recent workouts in Mexico, and that his throwing arm is not as strong since it was last seen in games. And unlike Soler or Cespedes, Puig barely has played in games outside of Cuba, so major league scouts have not had much of an opportunity to evaluate him properly.

              I’m not sure what other team was willing to offer Puig anything close to what L.A. did. The Dodgers’ peace dividend won’t matter if they squander it on deals like this and the Andre Ethier extension.

              • Farewell Mo says:

                I’m not trying to be argumentative but my point is that the team which pays that kind of money likely usually has a lot more in depth and detailed scouting of the player than probably all of the people in the media and on blogs giving these opinions.

                Even someone like Keith Law, who I happen to have a great deal of respect for in fact loses some credibility in this case when he says things like “based on what I’ve heard” when discussing Puig

                • qwerty says:

                  Not the Yankees. They simply ask the player what their best pitch is after they’ve already signed them. Screw this scouting shit!

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

                  Funny. I think KLaw is a hack and the point you highlight is exactly why. He’s repeating drivel and spin which likely comes from folks who have their own agenda (e.g. scaring away other teams who don’t have deep scouting pockets to do their own first hand long term assessments).

          • Mike HC says:

            It is so easy in hindsight. Notice how nobody is killing the Yanks for not going all out for Dice K. (Not that the Yanks don’t deserve blame for poor moves)

    • Darren says:

      I think what Mike is saying about it being an understatement is that it wasn’t like the Yankees scouted him and happened to failed in their assessment. The fact that they didn’t even scout him at all and knew nothing about his ability rendered it beyond a normal failure in poor judgment, and brought it into the realm of atrocious fuck-upery.

      • qwerty says:

        For years, I’ve been saying Cashman is an incompetent fool because he has poor judgement and is horrible at evaluating talent. The responses have been outright outrage to indifference, but most give him the benefit of the doubt and simply label me as a troll. I just have to shake my head at all you people.

  5. FLYER7 says:

    Knew something was up when Igawa pitched with those sun glasses on?

    • Mikhel says:

      He used sunglasses because he said he pitched better at evening/night so, the sunglasses “tricked” his brain into thinking that every start was an evening game… odd, but then again, in Japan there were vending machines but instead of sodas theirs dispensed… “used panties”.

  6. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    I cannot, for the life of me, understand how we went this long without knowing that Cashman said that Cashman failed.

  7. steves says:

    Its hard to agree that the Yanks did ALL their homework when they did not insist on their own medical people giving Tanaka a physical

  8. Eselquetodolosabe says:

    It’s somewhat interesting that Cashman survived an error of the magnitude that Igawa’s signing was. That is unless he tried to desuade ownership from such a move, and is now just jumping on the grenade. Just seems incredulous that a top flight organization would leave so much to chance. As far as Tanaka’s signing, is it possible that the bidding for his services was truly blind bidding ? Why do I find this hard to believe ? The Yankees outbid the next closest team by 35mm (supposedly). Truth is that we’ll probably never truly know what any of the other teams offered, but 35mm ? Maybe not.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      It was a mistake on their part, but Iggy did have good numbers. He lead the league in Ks one year, won the ‘Cy Young’ one year, and seemed to be a dominant pitcher.

      His overall cost amounted to $9m/yr, of which only $4m was taxable. So he needed to be a 2 WAR pitcher to be a good deal.

      So you can blame the FO for dereliction of duty, but Iggy bombed worse than anyone could have expected. Remember when he had that ONE dominant Win over Boston?

      By the way, those tremendous Redsox got 9.2 WAR (over 6 years) from Daisuke Matsuzaka, for the bargain price of $105m. That’s $50m worth of league average ($5m/WAR) and $55m for NOTHING.

      I contest that the Dice-K (4.79 ERA in the PS) was a worse deal than Iggy. But for some reason you hardly hear the media talk about this.

    • Mouse says:

      Well, you gotta understand that teams, like people can get caught up in emotions too. They were reacting to the Red Sox signing the big Japanese free agent at the time, which was Matsuzaka. People tend to lose their senses and make irrational, knee jerk reactions in those situations.

  9. OldYanksFan says:

    Am I wrong, or should a team as rich as the Yankees have 1 or 2 scouts that live in Japan? Aside from scouting, they would be there to help promote the Yankee brand, grease palms, get hookers for young players with potential, etc.

    Is this overkill or a good idea?

  10. Dale Mohorcic says:

    It’s looking like the Yankees could have had all of Garza, Santana and Jimenez for less than the cost of Tanaka.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      Based on one signing.

      http://xkcd.com/605/

    • Delbert Grady says:

      While I agree with this train of thought, Tanaka represented a chance to acquire a top of the rotation talent who is 25. That never hits the market so you pay because you’re locking in his supposed prime years. The other SP’s you mentioned all have pretty much peaked in value and are injury risks and on the downside.

      I like the thinking that leads to Tanaka. We need a young cost controlled stud to anchor the rotation around. It’s what “Phranchise” Hughes was supposed to be. If Tanaka succeeds and Nova becomes who he is capable of consistently, the Yankees rotation has 2 young anchors to build around.

      Our rotation got younger and more talented and we didn’t have to trade anyone. I’ll take that deal any day.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

      Also, 4/50 is 12.25 Mil per year.

      You really think it’s going to cost < 9.5 million dollars in 2014 to have both Jimenez and Santana?

      How much do you want to bet on this? Tanaka's salary?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      As long as you’re willing to ignore annual salary, sure.

      • Dale Mohorcic says:

        I’m not advocating that those 3 guys would have been a better way to go, nor would it necessarily make sense to sign all 3. Just an offhand comment based on what I thought was the surprisingly low amount that Garza signed for. Given that Santana and Jimenez are attached to draft pick compensation, they probably will find it difficult to sign deals for much more than what Garza got. And yes, the AAV would be higher, but for 3 pitchers, not 1. But with the $189M plan apparently out of the window, does AAV really matter, since its not my money? A rotation of Sabathia, Kuroda, Garza, Santana and Jimenez with Nova, Pineda, Phelps and Warren as depth would be formidable if (and this is the big if) they were all healthy. All that being said, I’m really happy they got Tanaka, because he is young and clearly has great potential, though he has no MLB track record and there’s always the fear that he won’t be able to hack it.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead says:

          Oh please. It was anything but an offhand comment. It was a wrong comment, because not only will the AAV of those 3 be higher than Tanaka’s, you have no idea what Santana or Jimenez is going to sign for.

          • Dale Mohorcic says:

            If it was more than offhand it would have probably required being a little more strident, don’t you think? As in something like “how can they spend so much on Tanaka when they could have had Santana. Garza and Jimenez?” Maybe I could have even done that “!!1!” thing. Outside of the Steinbrenner desire to save luxury tax payments, the AAV doesn’t mean very much.

        • mike c says:

          nova is better than garza/santana/jiminez— why would you start those 3 over him?

          • Chris H says:

            That’s a debateable statement considering you are basing it on 139.1IP, I mean it was just 2012 when he was posting a 5.02 ERA 4.60 FIP year in 170.2IP. Before that he had a good ERA in 2011 but his K/BB ratio was pretty bad and you can’t much compare that pitcher to today’s.

            Point being he’s had four very drastically different and inconsistent seasons, has never thrown more than 170 big league innings, and is almost impossible to predict accurately going forward. Personally I’d rather have Nova over Santana(though I don’t like Santana), I’d take him over Garza based on age and contract, but Jimenez has more upside and I would certainly place him ahead of Nova in a hypothetical rotation.

    • mike c says:

      you’re right… we should have signed 3 mediocre pitchers instead of one good one

  11. Farewell Mo says:

    It seems unbelievable that the Yankees could invest $46 million dollars in a pitcher they really didn’t even scout.

    The fact that he busted wasn’t the issue but the fact that that kind of money could be invested on a guy they really had no idea whether or not could pitch in the majors is really a bad reflection on Cashman and staff.

    I could see this happening if the Steinbrenners ordered the signing as a knee jerk reaction to Matsuzaka but I’m sure Cashman would have let that be known after all these years.

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

      I’ve been pitching at home in my back yard and am really good. I will take half of Igawa’s salary (not adjusted for inflation) for one year.

  12. Bill says:

    This confirms the belief I always had that the Yanks signed Igawa as a knee-jerk reaction to the Red Sox signing of Dice-K. A classic case of “they signed a Japanese pitcher, so we have to sign an Japanese pitcher”. And because that failed so spectacularly, is it a stretch to think that the Yanks then became gun-shy on any international signing, including studs like Cespedes and Puig? Hopefully the Tanaka signing works out and boosts the confidence of the front office to dip more frequently into the international free agent market.

    • RetroRob says:

      There was great mystery around Cespedes with many teams not convinced he would be a successful major leaguer. Puig was pretty out of shape and his signing was also questioned. It appears more likely that the A’s took at shot on Cespedes and maybe had better reports on him. The Dodgers just spent and it worked out for them.

      The Yankees may not have been scouting many of these players, perhaps making an organization decision on where they were going to direct their money. If so, it was a mistake and hopefully they will be all in on these top players now. They need to be with the restrictions from the recent CBA. Top free agents from Japan and Cuba could be one way they can use their financial advantage and to take some risks. Puig would look quite nice in RF. Just keep him off the road!

  13. captainbmike says:

    if you look at what Kei Igawa did in the two years before the yanks signed him, no one with any intelligence would have signed him !!!!

  14. Steve_Balboni says:

    Let’s not mention Igawa in the same breath as Tanaka ever again. I am very optimistic about Tanaka. I am not optimistic about our infield.

  15. #TANAKtober (Formerly MelkyMesaWaysa) says:

    The offseason is all about narratives. Some team needs to pick up Igawa. Baseball needs an Igawa narrative badly.

  16. Christian says:

    Not enough is made about the fact that Igawa’s career ERA is 6.66.

  17. the Other Steve S> says:

    I don’t really remember the gory details about Igawa. I remember he was tossing at about 93mph. Was he just Hughes without a second pitch? Flat straight fastballs and little else?

    • Chris H says:

      He was not “tossing around 93″ in 2007 he averaged 87.7 MPH and topped out that year a 90.5 at the big league level.

  18. RetroRob says:

    Yeah, but what’s the answer? What did Igawa say when asked, “what is your best pitch?” We’re still trying to figure it out!

  19. Dr. Grenaldine says:

    Who was better in Japan? Tanaka or Darvish?

    • Chris H says:

      Darvish career ERA 1.99, in 1268.1IP, 8.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 6.5 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 0.99 WHIP

      Tanaka career ERA 2.30, in 1315.0IP, 8.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 8.1 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 1.11 WHIP

      They both dominated but overall Darvish limited base runners better and caused more swings and misses. Despite the whole “24-0″ hype Darvish was also coming off the better season entering the MLB.

      Darvish last NPB season: 1.44 ERA, 232.0IP, 10.7 K.9, 1.4 BB/9, 6.1 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 0.83 WHIP

      Tanaka last NPB season: 1.27 ERA, 212.0IP, 7.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 7.1 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 0.94 WHIP

      Again both impressive seasons but Darvish is striking way more guys out, walking the same number as Tanaka, and more importantly giving up a hit less per 9 innings while doing it.

      • qwerty says:

        You forgot to mention that Darvish only had 6 wins in his last season, and you can plainly see why the Yankees passed him up. They wanted a winner like Tanaka. Not to mention, his girlfriend is attractive so that means he also has a lot of confidence.

        • Chris H says:

          He actually won 18 games and lost 6 but I honestly never looked because it’s so irrelevant.

          PS I recognize the sarcasm just pointing to the correct record.

      • Bo Knows says:

        Tanaka was also far more efficient than Darvish, Tanaka appears to be consciously moving away from needing to K every batter, and get them out quickly by pitching to contact. Tanaka has 8 regular season starts this year where he threw fewer than 100 pitches, and most of his starts were under 110 pitches, despite him averaging 8 innings this year. Darvish in Japan was practically guaranteed to throw at least 125 pitches.

        • Chris H says:

          I’ll give you Tanaka threw less pitches per start than Darvish, but he still averaged 109.7 pitcher per game and went over 120 pitches 8 times in 2013.

          Regardless though when a guy misses more bats, holds down walks at a similar rate, and holds down hits (and total base runners) he’s going to scout out as being the more dominant pitcher. There’s certainly a road for Tanaka to be a very good pitcher it’s just not as easy as Darvish’s road.

  20. Ready for the Floor says:

    Any guesses for when Tanaka’s first home game will be? The team starts on the road this year, do you think they’ll line up the rotation to have CC start the first home game or just stay on a more regular schedule?

    • Chris H says:

      Should be against the Orioles if he’s slotted in 3 or 4 but if he’s 5th it’d be the Red Sox. They have 5 straight games on the road to start the year so they can’t hold anyone back if they’re healthy.

  21. Nathan says:

    Does anyone else remember hearing about Darvish for YEARS and how the Yankees had such interest in him?

    Before 2013, I had never heard of Tanaka’s name brought up. So it surprises me to hear that the Yankees had been scouting him since ’07.

    To this day, it still baffles my mind how the Yankees didn’t go hard for Darvish as they did for Tanaka.

    • RetroRob says:

      There is a story. We’ll never know what it is. Change in philosophy. Business and financial decisions that are different today.

      Do we even know what they bid on Darvish?

      • Jerkface says:

        Reports said 14 million. It was less than 20 million for sure. Again, does not make sense. They bid nearly as much for Igawa as they did for Matsuzaka (the 26 vs 32) and came in third on Matsuzaka to the Red Sox and Mets. Mets only bid 15 for Igawa so they overpaid by a heckuva lot for a guy that wasnt worth it at all.

        Then they waaaaaaaaay underbid Darvish and of course the blue jays and the rangers both did some clever gamesmanship by bidding slightly more than the Matsuzaka bid. Don’t know how the Yankees didn’t even get close there.

        The thing that galls me about it is that they ended up having their highest payroll ever in 2013 and it was for a mountain of shit, yet HAL was too cheap to authorize a competitive bid for Darvish. Goddamn imagine having Darvish the past 2 years blowing away the AL. Imagine Darvish in the 2012 playoffs instead of fucking phil hughes and what changes that could have brought for the offense.

      • Chris H says:

        Yankees bid 15 million, meaning they had no interest since everyone knew it was going to take 40-60 to win that bid.

  22. Jorge Steinbrenner says:

    I don’t give a shit about what they could have done a few years ago with Darvish. They made a decision. History has proven them wrong. All they can do is move forward, and all we can do is move forward.

    Clearly, as the events of the past week have shown, they’ve moved forward.

    Igawa was a blunder but, like many love to point out when it’s convenient to their argument, it was a mistake the team was able to overcome because the have the financial means to do so. Also, what was that about it not being your money?

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.