• Cashman: Tanaka Not An Ace…Or Even A #2

    Posted by on February 7th, 2014 · Comments (12)

    Via the Morning Call

    New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told ESPN radio Friday that newly-acquired Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has potential to a No. 3 starter.

    Tanaka, 25, recently signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with the team, which is the fifth-largest contract ever for a major-league pitcher and the biggest for an international player. He can opt out after four years.

    But Cashman downplayed Tanaka’s potential impact.

    “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.

    “There is definitely some unknown because of the transition. We scouted him extensively. Certainly, we look forward to adding him into the mix with the rest of our rotation. That’s what we look at him as: A solid, potential No. 3 starter in the big leagues.”

    Tanaka will be formally introduced by the Yankees in a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

    Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in Japan last year. The Yankees outbid several other teams to land Tanaka after scouting him for several years. Despite that, Cashman said he is not expected to be a staff ace.

    “That’s asking too much,” Cashman said. “Clearly, he is going to have to transition from Japan to the States. Obviously, by the fierce negotiating competition for him, the scouting reports from all clubs involved speak for themselves.”

    Cashman said Tanaka has several adjustments to make, including pitching every five days instead of seven, the differences with the baseball and the strike zone, and the batters he will face.

    “Those are things he is going to have to work through and adjust,” Cashman said. “We look forward that he is a Yankee and we will be in position, with our experience in the past, to maximize his potential as he goes through that.”

    So, the guy won’t even be the second best starter in your rotation but you gave him the fifth-largest contract ever for a major-league pitcher? Smart….

    Comments on Cashman: Tanaka Not An Ace…Or Even A #2

    1. KPOcala
      February 8th, 2014 | 12:40 am

      I’ll repeat what I wrote on another thread, since nothing has changed: 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”.

    2. KPOcala
      February 8th, 2014 | 1:05 am

      BTW, when people talk about the way that the Yankee ’90’s “Dynasty” was built, the narrative inevitably goes something like this: When George Steinbrenner being suspended for a YEAR, not being able to “meddle”, had his trust Lt. Gene Michael run the show, bringing in talent like Jeter, Posada, Rivera, trading Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill (widely panned by baseball’s best critics), giving Bernie Williams a chance (also panned), yada, yada”. Gee, is that REALLY how it happened? The farm system was turned around in a YEAR? The truth of the matter was that the Yankees got lucky as hell. O’Neill bloomed, Williams and Posada took “a while” (these days they would be shipped out as fast as they were in the eighties, Rivera wasn’t traded, Hayes, Boggs, Brosius, and Tino (especially) were snagged some good moves. NOBODY would have guessed in ’93, what was to come. Ninety-four looked very “promising”, as did ninety-five. And let’s not forget, in every Series that they one, like all winners (almost “all”) they had some great bloops, bounces, and blunders which had they gone the other way could have led to only one or two “Rings”. There was never a sense of “inevitability” the way that the press has come to print, and the fans believe. Some of those Series were unbelievably tense, every inning of every game. Others, which looked easy, when looking at the results, were “teeth grinders”. So maybe some of us are a bit hard on Cashman. He’s made some really good moves, that worked, other good moves that were lauded, became his nemesis. And still others which looked good were ruined by injuries, or a player who couldn’t take the pressure. New York is NOT St. Louis, where fans are happy for a “reasonably good” season, and the players don’t have that daily grind. And to address the farm system. There have been some terrible picks, Steve or I could have done better. Or the dart throwing monkey. Nobody can “know for a certainty” who’s a good personnel director, or a top scout, because of the time involved, and also consider that a scout could have a great reputation because he spotted and signed three kids who turned into superstars, but never found another player who made the Show. Sorry, “too many words” for the forum, but someone had to point out how much of the game hinges on “Luck and Health”. Cheers!

    3. Evan3457
      February 9th, 2014 | 1:09 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      …Sorry, “too many words” for the forum, but someone had to point out how much of the game hinges on “Luck and Health”. Cheers!

      Not too many words. I use too many words.

      I’ve made the Luck and Health argument before, only to be called an idiot and worse.. I tend to agree with you.

      Even if “Cashman and all of his incompetents” were replaced yesterday, it is very unlikely that the system will ever produce a Williams, Jeter, Mariano, Pettitte and Posada all within a couple of years of each other? You know why? Because things like that happen once every 10 or 20 years, in all of MLB. Maybe the Cards are the closest right now, if all of their bright young prospects come through, and all of them stand the test of time.

    4. KPOcala
      February 9th, 2014 | 1:27 pm

      @ Evan3457: Hmmm, could be that we’re not swayed by the “Pundits of Bristol”. I also wonder if playing in fantasy leagues growing up doesn’t change the way people look at a game. Weren’t the Upton brothers “Mantle & Mays a couple of years back? LOL! I don’t know about your age, but I’ve seen too many players break my heart when they were young, then cut down my “Something”. Cheers!

    5. Raf
      February 9th, 2014 | 8:16 pm

      Tanaka wasn’t going to start before Sabathia, he wasn’t going to start before Kuroda.

      Mike Mussina started the 2001 season as the #3, behind Clemens and Pettitte.

    6. KPOcala
      February 9th, 2014 | 8:25 pm

      What I’m interested most is what the rotation line-up will be come time for the playoffs, and who is in the line-up. I’m not interested in ‘who says what about whom’. Although I’ll admit, Cashman had better have a free agent or two to sign. He should be getting to the point that some bargains can still be had. Otherwise, there better be some “sleepers who awaken” on the Farm.

    7. Mr. October
      February 9th, 2014 | 8:46 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      Steve or I could have done better. Or the dart throwing monkey.

      Or this woman: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/feds-probe-shrink-brian-cashman-louise-meanwell-case-article-1.1517998

    8. KPOcala
      February 10th, 2014 | 1:23 pm

      @ Mr. October: LOL! Great “pick”!

    9. KPOcala
      February 10th, 2014 | 2:30 pm

      Really good stuff about Tanaka, today, it’s the best “analysis” of Tanaka I’ve seen. Even “Mr. Peabody” Keith Law has said that Tanaka will be “elite from day one”. So if Cashman is wrong, he’s in a large group…..

    10. Mr. October
      February 10th, 2014 | 9:55 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      So if Cashman is wrong, he’s in a large group…..

      Cashman’s in a group of one: no other GM was as desperate for starting pitching, or able to spend $175 mil. on an unproven commodity with no risk of losing his job.

    11. Raf
      February 11th, 2014 | 9:48 pm


      Tanaka’s Overall Projection

      In a tweet last month, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said the comparables he’s heard most often for Tanaka are Hiroki Kuroda and prime-age Dan Haren, plus reliever Bryan Harvey for his splitter. One scout agreed with the Haren comp, noting that Tanaka has more arm strength. Others cited Zack Greinke and Matt Cain.

      In terms of placing an overall grade on Tanaka, opinions ranged, but all were quite positive. One scout, who admitted being “toward the higher end of the spectrum,” described Tanaka as a number one starter, without hesitation. He expects Tanaka to contend for the Cy Young, and feels he’ll be one of the ten best starting pitchers in MLB in 2014.

      The other three scouts placed Tanaka in a slightly lower tier, ranking him in the #15-25 range among all MLB starters for 2014. Two of them described him as a number two starter.

      The mystery of how Tanaka will perform in Major League Baseball should be resolved in short order. He’ll face MLB hitters in Spring Training later this month, and could have a bit of a soft landing with the Yankees’ first three regular season games coming in Houston in early April.

    12. Mr. October
      March 8th, 2014 | 4:28 pm

      Mark Mulder doesn’t seem to be very impressed with the nastiness of Brian Cashman’s $27 million-per year no. 3 starter’s “best in the world” “widow making” “90 mph” spltter:

      “Tanaka is good but his split is just like other good splits. Remember the gyro ball. That was also just a change up. ‪#justsayin‬.”


      Masahiro Tanaka will not be one of the ten best starting pitchers in MLB in 2014? Mark Mulder is a troll: Mulder’s personality traits obviously fall within the Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.

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