In a weak free agent class, Japanese pitcher cheap Masahiro Tanaka jersey drew interest from a slew of teams, but it was ultimately the New York Yankees jerseys that reportedly landed the services of the 25 year old hurler on Wednesday morning. In the 2013 season with Rakuten, Tanaka went 24 0 with 183 strikeouts and a 1.27 ERA, along with a .943 WHIP on the season.
It was those numbers, along with four pitches that he is capable of throwing for strikes consistently that led so many teams to be interested in acquiring Tanaka. The Chicago Cubs jerseys were reportedly one of the two finalists to land his services, along with the Yankees jerseys, and the Chicago White Sox jerseys, Arizona Diamondbacks jerseys and Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys were also reportedly in the mix along the way.
The bidding for Tanaka was the first test of MLB new posting system for Japanese players. In years past, teams would initially have to submit a bid, and the Japanese team would select the highest bid. Then, the team would have an exclusive negotiating window with the player.
This year, that rule changed, with teams simply paying a flat fee (in Tanaka case, $20 million) to the club while making a contract offer directly to the player.
One of the big questions surrounding Tanaka as he came to the United States is one of workload. Like some other Japanese pitchers, Tanaka has thrown a lot of pitches in a lot of innings in his career, already racking up over 1300 innings on his arm in seven seasons with Rakuten.
Despite that, interest was strong in Tanaka because of his wide array of pitches. His fastball, clocked between 91 94 MPH sets up there other good out pitches, mlb jerseys from china including a split finger fastball that has scouts drooling. That ability to throw so many different looks at a batter led to a career strikeout rate of 8.5 per 9 innings during his time in Japan, and drew comparisons to other Japanese pitchers like cheap Yu Darvish jersey.
When reports initially came out that Tanaka was planning on coming over to the US, several teams were reported to be interested. The Dodgers jerseys insisted that they not be outbid, according to reports, and several other teams were rumored to be kicking the tires, including the Cubs jerseys and White Sox jerseys.
The bidding process was a remarkably quiet one, with Tanaka agent Casey Close keeping the contract offers under wraps. Late in the process, reports surfaced that the Cubs jerseys were making an aggressive push to acquire Tanaka, and the arguments for the North Siders to make that deal were strong. Their farm system, while rich with hitters like cheap Javier Baez jersey, cheap Kris Bryant jersey and cheap Jorge Soler jersey among others, is relatively weak on pitching depth, with CJ Edwards and cheap Pierce Johnson jersey being the only two notable hurlers in the system.
Signing Tanaka would have not only bolstered their Major League rotation today, but it also would have been a clear sign that the team feels that they are going to be competitive within the next two to three years. By 2015, Baez and perhaps a few other prospects will be making their way up to the big leagues, and in the year after that players like Bryant and Soler will be attempting to crack the Cubs jerseys lineup.
At any rate, being that close to signing Tanaka and failing to grab his services will be regarded as a setback, albeit a minor one, for Cubs jerseys President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. Tanaka was the first big time free agent that the Cubs jerseys have really pursued (unless one counts P cheap Anibal Sanchez jersey, who spurned the Cubs jerseys and signed with the Tigers jerseys), and missing out on him does hamper the rebuild a bit.