According to George A King III of the New York Post, the Yankees are expected to make a serious bid for Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Starting pitching is a huge priority for the Yankees with Andy Pettitte retiring, CC Sabathia looking old, Hiroki Kuroda‘s future being unkown and Michael Pineda‘s health being unknown. Right now the only pitchers that you can pencil into the rotation are Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
Tanaka could be the top of the rotation pitcher that the Yankees are looking for. He went 23-0 with a 1.23 ERA in the Pacific League this season. He is not eligible for free agency, so he will go through the posting process that cannot begin until at least Nov. 1.
The Rangers’ bid for Yu Darvish was $60 million, so you can expect the winning bid for Tanaka to be around the same range. The bid does not go against the luxury tax for the Yankees, which is a huge plus for them in their pursuit of Tanaka. Darvish signed a contract with Texas worth $51.7 million over six years, so Tanaka could get something similar.
The Yankees sent assistant general manager Billy Eppler and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to watch Tanaka in Japan this season, so they have done their homework on him. A scout that King talked to was very impressed with him .
“He is better than Darvish because he is a strike thrower,’’ the scout said. “Overall, Darvish’s stuff might be a little bit better, but this guy knows how to pitch. He is like Kuroda, he has a lot of guts. He throws four pitches but when it gets to [stone]-cutting time, it’s fastball and splitter.’’
The Yankees have been staying away from the international market after the Kei Igawa disaster and it has cost them some great players in Darvish, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman. Hopefully their pursuit of Tanaka means that they finally changed their philosophy, since the international market is one place the Yankees can still flex their financial muscles.