Thursday, September 28, 2023

Free agency Masahiro Tanaka: right-hander returns to Japan after seven years with Yankees

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Masahiro Tanaka is back in Japan after completing a very successful tenure with the Yankees.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles announced Thursday that Tanaka had returned to his home club, which posted him in late 2013 so he could play in the United States. The conditions were not disclosed. Reports on Wednesday said the parties were close to a deal.

Tanaka, 32, became an MLB free agent in the offseason after his seven-year, $ 155 million contract with the Yankees expired. He’s been solid during his time in the Bronx, posting a 3.74 regular season ERA and a 3.33 playoff score.

Tanaka posted those numbers despite launching almost his entire Yankees career with a partial tear in his elbow ligament. He was injured in the 2014 season, but opted to rehab and treat the injury rather than undergo surgery.

MORE: Why did the Yankees trade Adam Ottavino?

Last year, he started his season a week late after suffering a concussion during summer camp. He was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line-practice during a live batting practice at Yankee Stadium.

He publicly opened the door to a return to Japan around the New Year when he said in a radio interview that he would consider signing with the Golden Eagles or the Yomiuri Giants. Before that, he reportedly focused on re-signing with the Yankees.

While Tanaka remained in the market, New York traded for Jameson Taillon and signed free agent Corey Kluber. They join a rotation that has several question marks after Gerrit Cole.


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