• Can Tanaka Pitch Every Five days?

    Posted by on February 6th, 2014 · Comments (19)

    Here’s a fun fact for you:

    In 2013, while pitching in Japan, Masahiro Tanaka made just one start on four days rest. Yes, one.

    In addition to that game, he made four starts on five days rest and his other 22 starts came on at least six days rest.

    Is there any proof that this guy can pitch every five days in a major league rotation?

    Comments on Can Tanaka Pitch Every Five days?

    1. #15
      February 6th, 2014 | 11:53 am

      If it means he will go 24-0 with an ERA well below 2.00… He can pitch every 7th day if it suits him for all I care. Girardi should be smart and let him gradually drift into the 5 day routine. Having Kuroda around will help a bunch. He should be with the program by May and there will be a rainout or two to work around along the way anyway.

    2. MJ Recanati
      February 6th, 2014 | 1:13 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Here’s a fun fact for you:
      In 2013, while pitching in Japan, Masahiro Tanaka made just one start on four days rest. Yes, one.
      In addition to that game, he made four starts on five days rest and his other 22 starts came on at least six days rest.
      Is there any proof that this guy can pitch every five days in a major league rotation?

      I’d be interested to note what the usage pattern was for Darvish, Kuroda, Nomo, Matsuzaka, Iwakuma, and Ryu (among others). If their usage was on a similar schedule to Tanaka’s then there’s not much to point out other than the difference between Japan and US baseball.

    3. February 6th, 2014 | 2:46 pm

      I found it interesting that, per Joel Sherman, Tanaka has a clause in his contract that says he cannot be sent to the minors without his permission. Is he afraid of being Igawa’ed if he struggles in the states?

    4. Raf
      February 6th, 2014 | 2:49 pm

      Pitchers across different leagues pitching on different schedules are able to adjust, I see no reason Tanaka would not be able to adjust.

    5. Raf
      February 6th, 2014 | 2:58 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      I found it interesting that, per Joel Sherman, Tanaka has a clause in his contract that says he cannot be sent to the minors without his permission. Is he afraid of being Igawa’ed if he struggles in the states?

      It’s possible, though to be fair, Igawa could have pushed for the Yankees to release him from his contract, or otherwise protest his demotion. IIRC, Cashman gave him an option to pitch in Japan or the minors. Not sure why he didn’t take the Japan option with the intention of returning to the States? There have been worse pitchers who’ve gotten other chances.

    6. MJ Recanati
      February 6th, 2014 | 3:53 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Pitchers across different leagues pitching on different schedules are able to adjust, I see no reason Tanaka would not be able to adjust.

      This.

    7. KPOcala
      February 6th, 2014 | 7:32 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: MJ, I recall that Matsuzaka was on that schedule, much was made of it (especially since he was into his own training “mode”, throwing LARGE numbers of pitches on his bullpen days. Steve’s point, is what? That Japanese pitchers can’t handle MLB because of that “schedule”? Is it me, or doesn’t it seem like we’ve seen a pretty good number of Japanese pitchers do well in the States (relative to their numbers, of course)? If a weightlifter went from lifting every three days instead of every four days, does it follow that he’ll hurt himself? Uh, NO! Enough said……..

    8. Evan3457
      February 6th, 2014 | 9:46 pm

      Proof?

      Well, uh, no…proof, until he actually does it in MLB.

      ==========================================
      Is there any proof he won’t win the Cy Young Award 7 straight seasons?

      There’s no…proof. Not yet.

    9. KPOcala
      February 7th, 2014 | 1:53 pm

      BTW, for people who are worried about Tanaka’s having to change his usage patterns. First, he’ll have time during spring training to get used to the “new way”, hell, he’s only 25. And if we had a time machine, and could bring back Lefty Grove, Bob Gibson, Walter Johnson, and the “others”, there would be articles on espn crying that they might get injured from pitching “less” frequently. No doubt about it……….

    10. MJ Recanati
      February 7th, 2014 | 2:12 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      Indeed, and to your point, perhaps Tanaka pitching more frequently will be offset by the Yankees allowing him to throw fewer pitches than he threw in Japan. Though it may not be a perfect 1:1 exchange, I have to imagine that limiting him to somewhere between 90-110 pitches will help him acclimate to pitching with one day’s less rest than he did in Japan (while pitching 140+ pitches).

    11. Mr. October
      February 7th, 2014 | 3:12 pm

      GM tempers Tanaka expectations

      “… Masahiro Tanaka, who signed the fifth-largest contract for a pitcher in major-league history, has potential to one day be a ‘No. 3 starter,’ New York Yankees [General Moron] Brian Cashman said Friday.

      ‘We view him to be a really, solid consistent No. 3 starter,’ Cashman said… ‘If we to get more than that, all the better. He’s got a great deal of ability.’

      http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/10419250/gm-brian-cashman-new-york-yankees-projects-masahiro-tanaka-no-3-starter

      A $25 million/year no. 3 starter. Only in Yankeeland.

    12. KPOcala
      February 7th, 2014 | 5:08 pm

      @ MJ Recanati: MJ, agree completely. Funny thing, when Nolan Ryan became “The Main Man” for the Rangers, he had mantra for the pitcher. ‘Run, run, and more running, and throwing builds arm strength’. I think that if players weren’t paid what they are, there wouldn’t be so much “coddling”, because otherwise GM’s lose their jobs. If you look at workloads of pitchers decade by decade, the decline in innings pitched pretty well shows an inverse relationship to money paid. And people will inevitably try and over-analyse work usage citing “lack of true “athletic” hitters, exclusion of blacks, etc. What people don’t take into account is this: MLB was THE place for the best athletes to make money, and there were fewer professional sports. And when you factor in a smaller number of teams, (and of course the general population was much smaller) I’d wager that the proportion of the “cream” of the athletic crop was thicker in baseball than it is now. So in essence I don’t buy into the common thought about bigger, faster, stronger as “proof” of superior baseball play. I could keep going but “long”=”boring”. But think about it, sometime.

    13. KPOcala
      February 7th, 2014 | 5:11 pm

      @ Mr. October: Had I been a GM, I sure as hell would have kept that to myself. It’s far more likely that he did that to keep some of the inevitable pressure off of Tanaka’s back. I definitely recall him doing that over the years. If he “really” thinks that, then, “wow”.

    14. Evan3457
      February 7th, 2014 | 7:01 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      @ Mr. October: Had I been a GM, I sure as hell would have kept that to myself. It’s far more likely that he did that to keep some of the inevitable pressure off of Tanaka’s back. I definitely recall him doing that over the years. If he “really” thinks that, then, “wow”.

      That’s exactly what Cashman’s doing. He knows that Tanaka is likely to go through an inconsistent adjustment phase, and he’s taking some of the heat off him. He also doesn’t want Tanaka trying to be more than he is. Tanaka is supposed to not need that kind of emotional support, but we’ll see.

    15. Mr. October
      February 7th, 2014 | 10:57 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      It’s far more likely that he did that to keep some of the inevitable pressure off of Tanaka’s back.

      Or his own.

      Cashman, 2007:

      “… [Igawa's] not Matsuzaka… Matsuzaka is a front-end of the rotation type situation, and I think we’ve been very honest about where we are looking for Kei to help us, which is to solidify the back of our rotation,’ [New York Yankees General Moron] Brian Cashman said…

      Cashman cautioned that it might take some time for Igawa to adjust to a new country and a new league… ‘You have to expect some growing pains,’ Cashman said.

      … ‘There is going to be questions in our rotation,’ Cashman said. ‘What’s Pavano going to do for us?… Kei Igawa, who had a great deal of success in Japan, will that translate in the States?’…”

      Cashman, 2014:

      “…. Tanaka… has the potential to be a ‘No. 3 starter,’ [New York Yankees general moron] Brian Cashman said Friday. ‘We view him to be a really solid, consistent No. 3 starter,’ Cashman said… ‘If we get more than that, all the better…’

      ‘There is definitely some unknown because of the transition… That’s what we look at him as: A solid, potential No. 3 starter…

      ‘… Clearly, he is going to have to transition from Japan to the States…’

      Cashman expects Tanaka to have ‘some growing pains‘ as he adjusts, especially when it comes to pitching every five days… ‘No, he is not someone who is going to, in the front end of this thing, pitch in the front of the rotation.’

      The Yankees have several questions among their rotation…”

    16. February 7th, 2014 | 11:26 pm

      If Masahiro Tanaka is a star, Cashman will take the credit. If Masahiro Tanaka bombs, it will be the rhetoric of “Our scouts recommended…” from Cashman and “The Yankees weren’t the only team chasing him…” from the Cashman apologists. You can just book this all as happening – because it will.

    17. KPOcala
      February 8th, 2014 | 12:37 am

      This entire thread is based on second-guessing which is always a funny/snarky part of baseball. In Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” he (I suppose)lampooned constantly. Give up a homer on 3-1 curve, and coach (usually Crosetti) would shake his head and mutter,’you never throw a curve on 3-1. Give up a homer on a 3-1 fastball, “you can’t ever give in a throw a 3-1 fastball’. I think a number of you guys have the “Spirit of George”, or “be eight games up by Memorial Day, and slowly pull away”. Relax, worst thing that happens is that they suck for a year or two, and everyone can spend their time doing other things, no? :)

    18. Evan3457
      February 9th, 2014 | 1:20 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      If Masahiro Tanaka is a star, Cashman will take the credit. If Masahiro Tanaka bombs, it will be the rhetoric of “Our scouts recommended…” from Cashman and “The Yankees weren’t the only team chasing him…” from the Cashman apologists. You can just book this all as happening – because it will.

      Try separating Cashman from the “Cashman apologists”.

      We’re not responsible for what he says; he’s not responsible for what we say. I’ve already made the argument you’ve suggested we’re going to make.

      The facts are these (and nothing in the future will change them):

      Multiple teams chased Tanaka, so multiple teams felt he was a major league starter. So Cashman, and all the other GMs of those teams, can’t be blamed for believing their scouts and thinking that.

      Published reports say there were at least five serious offers to Tanaka, including the Dodgers and the Cubs, who are headed by baseball people that Cashman bashers claim are good, or at least much, much better at their jobs, than Cashman. All of those offers were reported to be for at least five years, and all of those offers were reported to be for at least $100 million. So the market set a very high value on Tanaka. The Yankees went to win that bidding war, as they have done many times in the past. So they bid one more year, and probably an extra million or two a year, above the best other offer.

      And that’s it. Once you decide you’re going to get a free agent at any cost, you have to make the highest/longest bid.

      ======================================
      Is it an overpay? Yes, it’s likely an overpay, but then most top of the market free agent signings turn out to be an overpay. Some of them turn out to be disasters. And not just for the Yankees.

      I’ll still take a 25-year old Kuroda. 4 WAR a year is worth just about what his salary costs.

    19. KPOcala
      February 9th, 2014 | 8:26 pm

      @ Evan3457:Amen.

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