Masahiro Tanaka wants only the Yankees or Japan?
MLB Trade Rumors 2hrs ago

With the Yankees reportedly focusing much of their attention on DJ LeMahieu’s free agency, there hasn’t been much buzz about the possibility of a reunion between Masahiro Tanaka and the Bronx Bombers. Tanaka has made some recent comments about his future, most recently a tweet earlier Saturday stating that he and his representatives haven’t put any sort of limit on what teams the righty might be considering playing for in 2021 and beyond.

Masahiro Tanaka standing on a baseball field: During the radio interview, Masahiro Tanaka also implied that he had yet to receive a contract offer from an MLB team. © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports During the radio interview, Masahiro Tanaka also implied that he had yet to receive a contract offer from an MLB team.

This tweet came on the heels of reports suggesting Tanaka was considering only a return to the Yankees or a return to Nippon Professional Baseball, rather than signing with another MLB club. As it happened, Tanaka left the door open to pitching in Japan in an interview on the “All Night Nippon” radio show (hat tip to Nikkan Sports), saying the chances of returning to his home country are “not zero.” Tanaka implied that pitching for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, his original NPB team, would be his ideal choice in the event of a homecoming, but he also said he’d consider the Yomiuri Giants.

During the radio interview, Tanaka also implied that he had yet to receive a contract offer from an MLB team, which doesn’t seem implausible given the slow-moving nature of this offseason’s free agent market. More teams than just the Yankees seem to be playing the waiting game, whether it’s for a particular player or for a broader view of the market as a whole — in terms of pitching, clubs could be waiting to see where Trevor Bauer signs, or waiting to see where trade targets land. By that token, business could pick up now that Yu Darvish and Blake Snell have both been moved, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Tanaka begins to receive more serious attention from MLB clubs.

Rejoining the Golden Eagles or signing with another NPB team would certainly count as a surprise, since Tanaka still represents a solid investment for seemingly any MLB team looking for rotation help. (MLB Trade Rumors ranked him 10th on our list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents.) Tanaka posted a 3.56 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 5.50 K/BB rate in 2020, with that 48-inning sample size pretty closely matching his career totals over seven seasons with the Yankees. One would imagine this type of production would be welcome in a Bomber rotation that is lacking in proven big-league experience; however, considering the speculation that the Yankees are trying to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, re-signing Tanaka doesn’t appear to be a priority for the Bombers unless LeMahieu signs elsewhere.

Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸

More must-reads:

Related slideshow: Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise? (Provided by Yardbarker)

Show More
Latest News
20 must-read health books
The Health section of your local bookstore or online book retailer looks different than it did a couple of decades ago, when titles like Food-Free at Last: How I Learned to Eat Air or The South Beach Diet Supercharged were popular picks. Still today, authors—including would-be physicians, B-list celebs and underqualified fitness experts—dole out “health advice,” trying to convince readers that running themselves ragged with dieting and strenuous exercise will make them thinner, prettier, and happier. In fact, it has had an adverse effect, especially on women. The cruel dieting culture, incessant calorie counting, and little to no representation of health experts from diverse communities, along with the unrealistic standards set by the beauty and fashion industries, have led to eating disorders and severe mental health issues. Today, coupled with wellness, the topics covered in health and well-being books focus more on making healthy choices daily, keeping active, practising self-care, and being mindful of our mental health. Thanks to the body positivity movement, and some notable influencers in this space, we know that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. This is also a time when we are hearing from more underrepresented voices in this space, making health advice and wellness tips more inclusive and relevant for all. Start the new year off with motivation, stories, and advice on how to live a healthier, happier life that works for you. Get moving by adding these 20 must-read health books to your cart.
5 Minutes| Espresso