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….