It has been reported that Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka could be posted by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for the 2014 season. The 24-year-old is said to have a wipeout split-finger fastball, a good slider and velocity to go with it. The main issue is that scouts don't know whether he profiles better as a starter or as a reliever in Major League Baseball, similar to the argument surrounding Aroldis Chapman.
In a very superficial comparison he compares well with the numbers Yu Darvish posted in Japan over the same amount of years and at the same age, namely, K/9 (8.6 vs. 8.9), BB/9 (2.0 vs. 2.4), and HR/9 (0.5 vs. 0.4). Where Tanaka is behind is in H/9 (8.3 vs. 6.5) and ERA (2.48 vs. 1.99), and has only reached 200 innings once in his career while Darvish did it four times. It seems he can give some distance (45 complete games), but won't be the workhorse that Darvish has been in America so far.
The posting of Darvish was a big deal in baseball and here on this very site, and was the subject of many a debate about whether or not his price tag would be worth his on-field production. The lower profile and his questionable role will make Tanaka less expensive than Darvish and if the Yankees are interested like it is believed, should they bid on him?
The 2014 Yankees' rotation could be CC Sabathia, David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Adam Warren since Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes will be free agents. Mariano Rivera's retirement could make bullpen roles up for grabs as well.
Should the Yankees bid on Masahiro Tanaka?
Would your decision change depending on his determined role?
Has Yu Darvish proved that pitchers from Asia can find success in MLB or is he a fluke?