• Tankana Worth The Money?

    Posted by on January 29th, 2014 · Comments (45)

    Masahiro Tanaka is not as good Yu Darvish.

    The more I read on this guy, the more I hear the same thing: Low 90′s fastball, very good command, nasty splitter.

    And, the more I think about him, I’m starting to wonder if he’s going to be another Hideki Hideo Nomo and/or Daisuke Matsuzaka? By this, I mean, he’ll be good for a couple of years and then the league will catch up to him and he’ll be in trouble from that point forward.

    If true, clearly, he’s not worth the money and years the Yankees are paying him.

    Of course, the difference here is the control. Nomo and Dice-K had all sorts of issues (no pun intended) with walks – both here and in Japan. Tankana, albeit in Japan, had Greg Maddux type control. And, that means that Tankana may be more like Hiroki Kuroda here in the States.

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with Hiroki Kuroda. Teams can always use a starter who will give you 200 innings and 13 wins. However, is that worth $22 million a year? Again, I don’t think so…

    Comments on Tankana Worth The Money?

    1. BrooklynPaulie
      January 29th, 2014 | 10:00 am

      Uuuuuuuuuh….it’s “Hideo” Nomo. But then, you didn’t even get Tanaka’s name right. Why do I even read 90% of what’s in the blogosphere??? Foiled again!

    2. January 29th, 2014 | 11:05 am

      @ BrooklynPaulie:
      Since corrected. Thanks for the feedback!

    3. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 11:37 am

      $25 million a year with the posting fee for a no. 2 or no. 3 starter… but he’s worth it to a team with declining attendance and television ratings, the second-highest payroll in M.L.B., and one of the worst starting rotations in the A.L…. And as Brian Cashman said in Dec., 2010, “[R]ealistically, I have until July to get [the starting rotation] solved.” July is still 6 months away, and Tanaka might be a significant part of this puzzle…

    4. McMillan
      January 29th, 2014 | 12:04 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      I want you to take care of that sonofabitch right away. Paulie sold out the old man, that stronz. I don’t want to see him no more. I want you to make that first thing on your list, understand?

    5. #15
      January 29th, 2014 | 12:18 pm

      If you rephrase the question to… Would you like to have a 25 year old Hiroki Kuroda on the squad and under control for a number of years? I think the answer is… Absolutely. Tanaka is the best pitcher we could have added this year… And we needed to add a pitcher this year. That may be short-sighted, but I’m happier going into this season with him than without him. I didn’t like any of the free agent starting pitching options… Although AJ is now available! Will Tanaka go 24-0? No. Will he give us a chance to win most of the games he starts? By nearly all accounts… Yes. To expect him to come in as a #1 is unrealistic. To think he has a chance to develop into a #1 or solid #2 is not crazy.

      I’d have liked to have had Balfour and Reynolds on this squad for depth and options (Our back up plan for Tex is??? Bueller??? Frey??? Anyone???). I would have passed on some of the other spare parts we added and put my money on those two.

    6. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 12:28 pm

      #15 wrote:

      If you rephrase the question to… Would you like to have a 25 year old Hiroki Kuroda

      It’s “Hideki” Kuroda.

      #15 wrote:

      I’d have liked to have had Balfour…

      Agreed.

    7. EHawk
      January 29th, 2014 | 12:44 pm

      The end of that article has all I need to see.

      “Tanaka should be one of the best pitchers in the major leagues this season, and there are some scouts who do prefer Tanaka to Darvish.”

      Worth the risk since our rotation had so many questions.

    8. Mr. October
      January 29th, 2014 | 12:50 pm

      EHawk wrote:

      “Tanaka should be one of the best pitchers in the major leagues this season…”

      Not according to the Dodgers’ scouting reports…

    9. #15
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:04 pm

      Kamieniecki wrote:

      Hideki” Kuroda.

      Huh??? http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kurodhi01.shtml

    10. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:06 pm

      @ #15:
      I was kidding:

      BrooklynPaulie wrote:

      Uuuuuuuuuh….it’s “Hideo” Nomo. But then, you didn’t even get Tanaka’s name right. Why do I even read 90% of what’s in the blogosphere??? Foiled again!

    11. EHawk
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:12 pm

      @ Mr. October:

      Yeah that’s why the Dodgers bid 6 years and over $120 mil for him! Who knows what he will be its anyone’s guess but I think its a better chance he is a top of the rotation guy then a mid-low end of the rotation guy

    12. Mr. October
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:29 pm

      EHawk wrote:

      Yeah that’s why the Dodgers bid 6 years and over $120 mil for him!

      “The Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes played out pretty much the way the Dodgers expected, with the [pitcher] going to a team willing to spend much more because it had a greater need. The Dodgers indicated during the process… limited interest and are believed to have offered only a little more than $100 million, far short of the Yankees’ winning bid… the Dodgers were never prepared to bid wildly for what would be a No. 3 or 4 starter, as their talent evaluators were split on just how good Tanaka will be in the Major Leagues…”

    13. EHawk
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:41 pm

      @ Mr. October:
      OF course that is what they are going to say after they lost the bid…I read that there were multiple teams that offered 6 years and 120 for him and Dodgers were one of them…either way they were still willing to commit 100 million for him plus the 20 mil posting fee. That’s a lot to give to a guy you think is only a #4 starter

    14. Mr. October
      January 29th, 2014 | 1:57 pm

      @ EHawk:
      I’m not a person who refers to the Yankees in the first person, and I’m not going to argue that Tanaka is going to be a top of the rotation starter because he’s a Yankee. He represented a #4 starter for the Dodgers, not the Yankees. There were 4 teams that bid on Tanaka. In general, he might be a #2. I haven’t read that more than 2 of the Dodgers, Cubs, and ChiSox offered more $120M for him. I don’t believe he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues next season – that’s ridiculous.

    15. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 2:03 pm

      EHawk wrote:

      … 100 million for him plus the 20 mil posting fee. That’s a lot to give to a guy you think is only a #4 starter

      Not when you consider that one veteran M.L.B. G.M. once committed $46 million for a pitcher from Japan to have him pitch for Scranton/Wilkes Barre of the International League for four years.

    16. January 29th, 2014 | 2:24 pm

      We should all remember that Hideki Irabu was the Japanese Nolan Ryan…not.

    17. ahrmon
      January 29th, 2014 | 2:39 pm

      Man…when did Debbie Downer take over this blog?

    18. January 29th, 2014 | 2:41 pm

      Via BBA this summer:

      At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Tanaka throws a low-90s fastball that can touch 96 mph. Even though Tanaka can reach the mid-90s, his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest. Tanaka has two secondary pitches that have earned grades of 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale, including a 70 splitter with late downward action to keep hitters off his fastball. His low- to mid-80s slider is another plus weapon, while he’ll mix in a curveball as well.

      …his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest…

      Yes, $22 million a year…

    19. January 29th, 2014 | 2:56 pm

      Via Tom Verducci, for the record:

      In one of the least surprising developments of the offseason, the Yankees blew away the field and blew away their business plan from the past two years to sign Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. To become relevant again after missing the playoffs last year, New York always had Tanaka in mind as the big piece necessary to return them to October.

      “It’s no surprise,” said one rival club executive. “It was obvious to me back when the posting rules first came under fire at the meetings last year. [The Yankees executives] started to turn bright red and were fuming. They were sick. He was obviously their must-have.”

      According to a source from a club involved in the bidding, most clubs, including the Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, Diamondbacks and Astros, valued Tanaka at about $100 million to $120 million over six years. The Cubs, despite rumors they would chase Tanaka at any cost, were not the high bidders. The Yankees, given their need, were not about to be outbid. They added dollars, years and the sweetener of an opt-out clause to pull away from the pack, eventually securing him with a seven-year, $155 million commitment.

      Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20140122/masahiro-tanaka-new-york-yankees/#ixzz2robz9LxL

    20. redbug
      January 29th, 2014 | 6:38 pm

      What do we care how much the Yankees spend?

    21. Greg H.
      January 29th, 2014 | 6:40 pm

      ahrmon wrote:

      Man…when did Debbie Downer take over this blog?

      Lol – +1 ahrmon – and it’s not even spring training yet! FWIW I’m really looking forward to watching the Yanks this year. Love the Debbie Downer reference.

    22. Greg H.
      January 29th, 2014 | 6:42 pm

      @ redbug:
      I care – not that much at all really.

    23. Evan3457
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:14 pm

      1. First of all, Tanaka will likely be an overpay, for a variety of reason. Most free agent pitcher signings, even top ones, even those that “work”, wind up being an overpay.

      2. If he’s a “25-year-old Kuroda”…well, Kuroda was worth 5.1 WAR and 4 WAR (Baseball Reference), and 3.7 and 3.8 WAR (Fangraphs) in 2012 and 2013. That’s an average of 4 WAR. Each WAR has had a marginal value of $5 million for the past couple of seasons. With the signings this offseason, I’ve seen some estimating the current marginal value of a WAR at $5.4 million.

      (4)*(5.4 million) is $21.6 million.
      Tanaka’s salary? $21.14 million per season.

      3. I posted this scouting report in another thread…

      Baseball Prospectus’ Doug Thornburg’s scouting report on Tanaka’s stuff:

      However, Tanaka’s stuff is legit, with a fastball that sits 90-92 mph but spikes to 96, a sharp breaking ball, and a splitter that disappears late on its path to the plate. He uses both the four- and two-seam varieties of the fastball with good movement and plus command, according to scouting reports as well as the limited footage available. His breaker has earned a slider label, though the velocity and trajectory of the pitch suggest a curve; semantics aside, his high-frequency usage of the pitch adds to the workload-related concerns with respect to his health. The best pitch in Tanaka’s arsenal is probably the splitter, which features arm-side run in addition to the trademark drop, and the fastball arm action adds to the deception of the split.

      4. This is also from another thread:

      Here is what Gene Michael reported to the Yankees braintrust concerning Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees have been scouting him for several years. Gene stated: “I haven’t seen Tanaka pitch in person. I have looked at over 100 innings of tape and I believe Tanaka is a winner. He is certainly no Igawa or Dice-k, but not Darvish.

      That last sentence matches my own interpretation of the several scouting reports I’ve read on Tanaka.

    24. Evan3457
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:17 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Via BBA this summer:
      At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Tanaka throws a low-90s fastball that can touch 96 mph. Even though Tanaka can reach the mid-90s, his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest. Tanaka has two secondary pitches that have earned grades of 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale, including a 70 splitter with late downward action to keep hitters off his fastball. His low- to mid-80s slider is another plus weapon, while he’ll mix in a curveball as well.
      …his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest…
      Yes, $22 million a year…

      Then I guess Japanese hitters are SO bad they can’t hit flat, straight fastballs, because even with a jacked up baseball, they hit only 4 HR off him in 173 innings.

      I suspect the truth about Tanaka’s FB is somewhere in between…

    25. Mr. October
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:18 pm

      I haven’t seen footage of Tanaka breaking 93.9 mph with the fastball once, much less “dialing it up” to 96 or 97 mph. The fastball looks a lot more hittable than one might expect from a $25MM/YR pitcher.

    26. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:19 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      “Good pitching stops good hitting” is a long-standing baseball bromide. But it’s really “good pitching stops good hitting, except when it doesn’t.”

      Raf wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      Stop trying to make sense.

      Evan3457 wrote:

      @ Raf:
      Me sorry.

      “Masahiro Tanaka stops good hitting” is a long-standing baseball bromide. But it’s really “Masahiro Tanaka stops good hitting, except when he doesn’t.”

    27. Evan3457
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:20 pm

      Mr. October wrote:

      EHawk wrote:
      Yeah that’s why the Dodgers bid 6 years and over $120 mil for him!
      “The Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes played out pretty much the way the Dodgers expected, with the [pitcher] going to a team willing to spend much more because it had a greater need. The Dodgers indicated during the process… limited interest and are believed to have offered only a little more than $100 million, far short of the Yankees’ winning bid… the Dodgers were never prepared to bid wildly for what would be a No. 3 or 4 starter, as their talent evaluators were split on just how good Tanaka will be in the Major Leagues…”

      Not all that far short. Dodgers offered, at the very least, $20 million a year, and at the highest $24 million a year (posting fee included). Yanks signed him at $25 million a year.

      The Dodgers’ interest was “limited” to no lower than $20 million a year for…
      …a pitcher with a straight, flat plane fastball…
      …a pitcher whose arm has been abused at a young age…
      …a pitcher who’s never thrown an inning in MLB…
      …yadda yadda yadda…

    28. Kamieniecki
      January 29th, 2014 | 8:29 pm

      Mr. October wrote:

      The fastball looks a lot more hittable than one might expect from a $25MM/YR pitcher.

      If Tanaka starts 31 games, he can reasonably expect somewhere between 23-25 decisions, and taking the average of those E.R.A.s and WPCTs above, that means something like 12-12, or 12-13, with an E.R.A. of 3.94. Those are the numbers derived by averaging the 2012 numbers for Sabathia, Kuroda, and Pettitte (http://waswatching.com/2010/03/30/the-javier-vazquez-question/). Is that worth $25 million per year?

    29. Mr. October
      January 29th, 2014 | 9:16 pm

      “… Have the Dodgers finally run into a spending limit? Apparently not, with no apologies to the rest of baseball. The Yankees won the bidding for Tanaka at seven years for $155 million, with the Dodgers also-rans for a fascinating reason: They’re not convinced Tanaka is all that.
      ‘We’ll look back in a few years and see whose scouting reports were more accurate,’ said a person familiar with the Dodgers’ thinking…
      The Yankees spent $175 million on Tanaka, counting the $20 million in compensation to his Japanese club. The complete list of pitchers to sign for more: Clayton Kershaw, last week by the Dodgers, and Justin Verlander.”

    30. January 29th, 2014 | 11:44 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Then I guess Japanese hitters are SO bad they can’t hit flat, straight fastballs, because even with a jacked up baseball, they hit only 4 HR off him in 173 innings.

      Kaz Matsui was a .330 hitter with 30 HR power in Japan too at times.

    31. Greg H.
      January 30th, 2014 | 8:33 pm

      Of course you could have AJ Burnett back for a lot less risk – 1 yr / $17M. Quickly though, the Orioles and Pirates are said to have cash on the barrel. (I like Kuroda much better). Market value is market value, does very little good to complain about it.

    32. McMillan
      January 30th, 2014 | 8:46 pm

      Greg H. wrote:

      Of course you could have AJ Burnett back for a lot less risk – 1 yr / $17M. Quickly though, the Orioles and Pirates are said to have cash on the barrel. (I like Kuroda much better). Market value is market value, does very little good to complain about it.

      A.J. Burnett can not pitch in a market such as New York; he is more comfortable in a small market such as Pittsburgh, and has said so himself, in more than one interview. And the market value for a no. 2 or no. 3-caliber starting pitcher is not $25 million/year.

    33. Evan3457
      January 30th, 2014 | 8:58 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Then I guess Japanese hitters are SO bad they can’t hit flat, straight fastballs, because even with a jacked up baseball, they hit only 4 HR off him in 173 innings.
      Kaz Matsui was a .330 hitter with 30 HR power in Japan too at times.

      Which supports my side, not yours.

    34. Evan3457
      January 30th, 2014 | 8:59 pm

      Mr. October wrote:

      “… Have the Dodgers finally run into a spending limit? Apparently not, with no apologies to the rest of baseball. The Yankees won the bidding for Tanaka at seven years for $155 million, with the Dodgers also-rans for a fascinating reason: They’re not convinced Tanaka is all that.
      ‘We’ll look back in a few years and see whose scouting reports were more accurate,’ said a person familiar with the Dodgers’ thinking…
      The Yankees spent $175 million on Tanaka, counting the $20 million in compensation to his Japanese club. The complete list of pitchers to sign for more: Clayton Kershaw, last week by the Dodgers, and Justin Verlander.”

      Already been answered.

    35. Evan3457
      January 30th, 2014 | 9:00 pm

      Kamieniecki wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      “Good pitching stops good hitting” is a long-standing baseball bromide. But it’s really “good pitching stops good hitting, except when it doesn’t.”
      Raf wrote:
      @ Evan3457:
      Stop trying to make sense.
      Evan3457 wrote:
      @ Raf:
      Me sorry.
      “Masahiro Tanaka stops good hitting” is a long-standing baseball bromide. But it’s really “Masahiro Tanaka stops good hitting, except when he doesn’t.”

      More non sequitur nonsense.

    36. Evan3457
      January 30th, 2014 | 9:01 pm

      McMillan wrote:

      Greg H. wrote:
      Of course you could have AJ Burnett back for a lot less risk – 1 yr / $17M. Quickly though, the Orioles and Pirates are said to have cash on the barrel. (I like Kuroda much better). Market value is market value, does very little good to complain about it.
      A.J. Burnett can not pitch in a market such as New York; he is more comfortable in a small market such as Pittsburgh, and has said so himself, in more than one interview. And the market value for a no. 2 or no. 3-caliber starting pitcher is not $25 million/year.

      Burnett also finally finished developing his 2-seamer and threw it a lot more than he had with the Yankees, and in front of an infield defense with more range, especially on the left side.

    37. PHMDen
      January 30th, 2014 | 9:34 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Baseball Prospectus’…

      Evan3457 wrote:

      [T]o win [the World Series]…. You need two good starters and a halfway decent third… Prove to me that it’s the pitching, and not the hitting, which determines who wins [a World Series]…

      “… [From 1972-2005], there [had] been twenty-seven teams that made the postseason in spite of having below-average offenses. Of these, seven won the World Series… All of these teams, [with the exception of Minnesota in 1987], had excellent pitching staffs…

      Conversely, twenty teams have made the postseason with below average run prevention. None of them won the World Series, and only two… even played for the championship. Sixteen of the twenty lost the first playoff series in which they played

      Run production as a whole hasn’t had much relationship with playoff success… three factors [that have fundamental and direct relationships with postseason success] are: [1. starting pitcher strikeout rate; 2. closer performance; and 3. defense]…” Perry, Dayn; Woolner, Keith (2006). Jonah Keri, ed. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know about the Game Is Wrong. Copyright (c) 2006 by Baseball Prospectus. New York: Basic Books.

    38. Kamieniecki
      January 30th, 2014 | 10:15 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Which supports my side, not yours.

      Not unless Kaz Matsui had seasons worthy of M.V.P. consideration in the U.S. “Good pitching stops Kaz Matsui’s hitting” is a long-standing baseball bromide. But it’s really “good pitching stops Kaz Matsui’s hitting, except when it doesn’t.”

    39. McMillan
      January 31st, 2014 | 9:52 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Burnett also finally finished developing his 2-seamer and threw it a lot more than he had with the Yankees, and in front of an infield defense with more range, especially on the left side.

      The head case also really held up well under the pressure of the 2013 postseason; that 31.50 E.R.A. might be a record that stands for a long time.

    40. Evan3457
      February 1st, 2014 | 6:51 am

      PHMDen wrote:

      “… [From 1972-2005], there [had] been twenty-seven teams that made the postseason in spite of having below-average offenses. Of these, seven won the World Series… All of these teams, [with the exception of Minnesota in 1987], had excellent pitching staffs…

      Conversely, twenty teams have made the postseason with below average run prevention. None of them won the World Series, and only two… even played for the championship. Sixteen of the twenty lost the first playoff series in which they played…
      Run production as a whole hasn’t had much relationship with playoff success… three factors [that have fundamental and direct relationships with postseason success] are: [1. starting pitcher strikeout rate; 2. closer performance; and 3. defense]…” Perry, Dayn; Woolner, Keith (2006). Jonah Keri, ed. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know about the Game Is Wrong. Copyright (c) 2006 by Baseball Prospectus. New York: Basic Books.

      …and, as has been pointed out to you several times, Sybil, to several of your various persona, the very year they wrote this, the Cards won it all despite having a well below average rotation. Their group of starters finished 14th in the NL in K’s, and 14th in K/9 IP.

      The 2007 Rockies won the pennant (and two rounds of playoffs) despite being 14th in the NL in K’s and K/9 IP. The 2008 Phillies’ starting staff was 9th in the NL in K’s, and 11th in K/9. The 2008 Rays beat two teams in the AL playoffs despite having a lowere K/9 than either of them in the regular season, and the Phillies’ team it lost to in the Series had a lower K/9 than the Rays. The 2009 Phillies added Cliff Lee to the staff that won it all the year before, won the pennant (and two rounds of playoffs), and finished 7th in the NL in starters’ K’s and K/9 IP. The 2010 Rangers’ starters were 5th in the AL in K’s. The 2011 Cards’ starters were 13th in the NL in K’s. In 2010, the Rays were 2nd and 3rd in the AL in starter K’s and K/9, respectively, and were highest among the 4 teams in the playoffs. They got knocked out in the 1st round.

    41. Evan3457
      February 1st, 2014 | 7:03 am

      McMillan wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Burnett also finally finished developing his 2-seamer and threw it a lot more than he had with the Yankees, and in front of an infield defense with more range, especially on the left side.
      The head case also really held up well under the pressure of the 2013 postseason; that 31.50 E.R.A. might be a record that stands for a long time.

      Which has, literally, nothing to do with the fact I mentioned above.
      See here:
      http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/40907/a-j-burnetts-pittsburgh-renaissance
      …and here:
      http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/4689239-85/pirates-defensive-season#axzz2f6bgL8yP

    42. McMillan
      February 1st, 2014 | 3:23 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      the fact I mentioned above

      Which has, literally, nothing to do with the fact that Burnett should have never worn a Yankee uniform, much less been signed for $82.5 million to pitch in a market such as N.Y.C.

    43. Evan3457
      February 1st, 2014 | 5:37 pm

      McMillan wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      the fact I mentioned above
      Which has, literally, nothing to do with the fact that Burnett should have never worn a Yankee uniform, much less been signed for $82.5 million to pitch in a market such as N.Y.C.

      Which is known as “changing the argument”.
      Or to those who look things up at Wikipedia, “Ignorato elenchi”.

    44. Kamieniecki
      February 1st, 2014 | 8:09 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Or to those who look things up at Wikipedia, “Ignorato elenchi”.

      @ Evan3457:
      To me, this is a classic example of post douche, ergo propter douche.” Stick with math.

    45. Evan3457
      February 3rd, 2014 | 3:30 pm

      Kamieniecki wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Or to those who look things up at Wikipedia, “Ignorato elenchi”.
      @ Evan3457:
      To me, this is a classic example of post douche, ergo propter douche.” Stick with math.

      Like your opinion of me matters.

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