On Thursday afternoon in Japan, Masahiro Tanaka spoke to the media for the first time since becoming a Yankee. He signed a seven-year contract worth $155M yesterday, a little more than two days before his 30-day signing period expired. The video above is just a small clip of Thursday’s press conference, but here’s some more from Jim Armstrong and Hiroko Tabuchi:
“They gave me the highest evaluation and are a world-famous team,” said Tanaka when asked why he chose the Yankees. “I’m going there to win the World Series. I can’t wait to get to the pitcher’s mound at Yankees Stadium.”
“In Japan, a bad pitch might end in a single, but at the majors, that could be a homerun. The hitting power is different,” he said. “And they’re careful with pitch counts over there … It’s not like I’ve never played ball before. I don’t want to overthink it.”
“I don’t speak English so I’ll just have to win the trust and confidence of the fans with my performance on the field,” said Tanaka. “Everything will be new and challenging, but I have to rely on the ability that got me this far.”
“I really don’t know anything at all,” he joked when asked about New York. “I’ve only been there once, and I don’t remember much, just that the weather wasn’t good … I’d better start looking up what it’s really like.”
Tanaka also said that he spoke to Yu Darvish and former big leaguer/Rakuten Golden Eagles teammate Takashi Saito about life in the big leagues before making his final decision. The Yankees are working on putting together a press conference for Tanaka in New York, presumably at Yankee Stadium, but at won’t happen until next week at the earliest according to Andrew Marchand.