NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It seems everyone is jazzed up over Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka’s move to the U.S.
Well, maybe not everyone.
“We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s not like he’s a sure-fire thing,” an unnamed Yankees official told the New York Post. “I’d like to think so, but I’m not convinced.”
Tanaka, expected to fetch more than $100 million after being posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles last month, has until Jan. 24 to sign with an MLB team. Otherwise he’ll have to return to play in Japan.
Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for Rakuten in 2013. He has reportedly narrowed down his list to the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels.
“Just because he had great success over there doesn’t mean he’s going to be lights out here,” the official said.
The 25-year-old has been said to have No. 1 starter stuff, with a fastball in the mid-90s and a splitter that drops off the table. Ex-Yankee Darrell Rasner, who has been a teammate of Tanaka’s for the past five years, raved about the pitcher’s makeup in a recent interview with WFAN’s Sweeny Murti.
“He throws a curveball, a slider, a cutter, a sinker, a changeup,” Rasner said. “He really has too many pitches. It’s just a matter of a pitching coach getting a hold of him, whittling those down to four quality pitches.
“And he can do that I think. He’s very coachable.”
The Yankees have some big question marks in their rotation behind CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda. If Tanaka lands elsewhere, New York could turn to free agents Matt Garza, Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez.
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