Yankees: Five Underrated FA Starting Pitchers

Former Yankee Masahiro Tanaka to start Game 2 for Rakuten | The Japan Times

Masahiro Tanaka

Quite possibly one of the most beloved Yankee players in recent history, Masahiro Tanaka may be back in New York. Similarly to Kikuchi, Tanaka dominated the NPB and signed a seven-year contract worth $155 million with the Yankees in 2014. His time in New York was a success, going 78-46 with an ERA of 3.74. One of Tanaka’s greatest qualities was his ability to pitch his best in high-leverage situations. In 10 postseason appearances, Tanaka had an ERA of 3.33, and a WHIP of 0.98. The Yankees decided to part ways with Tanaka after the 2020 season, with GM Brian Cashman saying “There’s no door closed”, hinting at a possible reunion. Undoubtedly, Tanaka received interest from other MLB clubs, but he decided to go back to Japan instead, with many believing that he refused to wear another MLB jersey that wasn’t pinstripes. Now aged 33, Tanaka will not be the same ace-caliber pitcher he once was. His fastball has lost some of its life, and his durability is definitely in question. However, with the state of the FA market, I believe signing Tanaka on a short-term deal could be extremely beneficial for the Yankees. Tanaka adds a trough of leadership and playoff experience to the rotation, something that Kluber was supposed to do.

Join the conversation