After getting Lost in Translation, the message is finally clear: Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka has been posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball and is officially up for grabs.
If you don’t believe it, read it for yourself:
* Note: Both players started at the age of 18.
From Bleacher Report:
According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, Tanaka has cemented himself as the best pitcher in Japan.
At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Tanaka throws a low-90s fastball that can touch 96 mph. Even though Tanaka can reach the mid-90s, his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest. Tanaka has two secondary pitches that have earned grades of 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale, including a 70 splitter with late downward action to keep hitters off his fastball. His low- to mid-80s slider is another plus weapon, while he’ll mix in a curveball as well.
The biggest key there is that his fastball is on a flat plane. He may be able to get away with it in Japan, but MLB hitters will blast it all over the place.
His secondary pitches seem to be good, but the fastball could be the pitch that holds teams back from offering him Darvish-like money.
While the Rangers gave Darvish a 6-year, $60 million contract. Tanaka will likely settle for a bit less–maybe a 4-year deal for $36 million.
Current front runners for Tanaka are the Yankees, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks with the smart money leaning toward him signing with the Yankees. who can afford to pay his salary and the Luxury Tax it may incur, thanks to a very lucrative broadcast rights contract.