Archive for the ‘Masahiro Tanaka’ Category

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees

The Yankees shut out the Chicago Cubs Tuesday behind a dominant pitching performance. Check that: the Yankees shutout the Cubs twice on Tuesday behind two dominant pitching performances. Yankees starters combined for 13 strikeouts and two walks over 14 innings behind a nice start from Michael Pineda and an incredible outing from Masahiro Tanaka.

If faced with the prospect of digging in against pitchers of this calibre in a doubleheader, former Cubs great Ernie Banks might not be so enthusiastic about playing twice in one day.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Mashiro Tanaka made his highly-anticipated debut tonight for the New York Yankees, starting against the Blue Jays in Toronto’s home opener. With a throng of Japanese media on hand on top of the typically large New York contingent and a sold-out crowd, it was the perfect storm.

#TANAK did not disappoint under the watchful eyes of the Yankees “universe.” His final line looks great (7IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks) but failed to capture how truly in control Tanaka appeared for most of the game.

The Jays poked and slapped their share of singles through the Yankees’ infield in the early going but Tanaka really settled in after the second inning and mowed down the Blue Jays for the next five frames, only failing to retire Edwin Encarnacion (one of the AL’s premier sluggers, it should be noted.)

What did we learn about Masahiro Tanaka tonight? Splitters. There will be lots and lots of splitters. As far as the eye can see, splitters on splitters on splitters.

There will be splitters because the splitter is an insane pitch for Tanaka, especially against hitters seeing him for the first time.According to Brooks Baseball, Tanaka threw 24 total splitters, 10 of which the Blue Jays swung through and four others that went for hits.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

New Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka left Japan this past weekend and will be officially introduced to the New York media on Tuesday. If the stories we’ve seen so far are any indication, expect a New York writer or two to invoke the dreaded name of Kei Igawa, immortal Yankee failure. See stories from when news broke of Tanaka’s signing with the Yankees in late January. Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and others joined in the fun, unsurprisingly, since dropping the Igawa name around Yankees fans is a good bet to elicit a reaction (and a click).

So, before any reporters ask any stupid questions at Tuesday’s presser, let’s get this out of the way: in no way is Kei Igawa an apt comparison for Masahiro Tanaka, other than the fact that they played in the same league before heading stateside.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

Masahiro Tanaka became a New York Yankee today. As inevitable as it feels now, it was certainly in doubt for quite a while. The Cubs, the Dodgers, and even the Astros were in the running for the services for the Japanese workhorse. But in the end, it wasn’t ever close.

As it turns out, offering to pay much much much more money than the other teams works almost every time in the “player acquisition” game. Sweet as calling on an old horse like Hideki Matsui to extoll the virtues of the pinstripes is, the money was more than enough to get Tanaka’s name on a contract.

The money and the opt-out, leaving the former Rakuten Eagle with a chance to test free agency again before he turns 30 – a recent wrinkle to the FA process with that benefits each side if you look at the right angle.

So what do the Yankees get for their very large outlay of cash? They a lot, really. They get what they need more than nearly every other team in baseball – a chance to compete.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

Shame? NEVER. You could’ve Tanaked me over with a feather when I learned it was the Yankees who outbid the field by, oh I don’t know, $25 mil for the services of Masahiro Tanaka.

Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blue and CBS’s Eye on Baseball joins me to talk about the Yankees and Tanaka and how there is still much work to do for the Bronx Bombers. Please to enjoy!

RSS/MP3 Link here

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Japan's pitcher Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the WBC second round game in Tokyo

It was always going to be the Yankees, wasn’t it? The Yankees or the Dodgers were the only two real choices.

There were just too many things working in favor of the richest teams in baseball when it came down to a bidding war for a pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka. It is less of an indictment of the sport than a perfect storm that only the biggest supertankers could navigate.

25-year old pitchers simply don’t become free agents. A 25-year old with electric stuff hits the market just as the bidding process for such a player changes, bringing down the upfront costs and allowing pure payroll spending power to be the determining factor. A scenario tailor-made for the New York Yankees, who didn’t flinch when it came time to get the deal done.

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics

Despite Spring Training getting under way in mere weeks, a whole mess of starting pitchers are still sitting out there on the free agent market. The pitchers – good, bad, and indifferent – all sit in a holding pattern because of Masahiro Tanaka.

Once Tanaka signs, his contract helps define the type of deal available to those at the top of the free agent heap. From there, there is some cash to spread around for the filler-types and then minor league invites for those living below the Zito line.

But if we take stock of the long list of names still out there, how do we group them? If your team has the money, who do you hope ends up in your jersey of choice? Let us lift and separate these players in order of desirability in the proud internet tradition.

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