“The Mariners are going to be a factor. They have a following in Japan. They enjoyed what they had when Ichiro (Suzuki) was on the team. They want the chance for moves like getting Cano to pay off. And they envision (Felix ) Hernandez paired with Tanaka at the top of the rotation.”The New York Yankees have shown a clear desire to obtain Tanaka, as they contacted his agent once the he was posted. The team already lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners this off-season, and Rubin implies that the Mariners may now be the biggest threat to take Tanaka away from the Yanks. It has already been said that Tanaka will cost quite a bit, but a number of teams are expected to try to acquire the talented right-hander.
Last season in the Japan Pacific League, Tanaka posted a 1.27 ERA with a .94 WHIP in 212 innings. He struck out 183 batters, but his K-rate has been in decline over the last couple of seasons. There has also been some talk about Tanaka's usage. It appears the Japanese ace has thrown a lot of pitches in his career. He threw 160 pitches in game six of the playoffs last season for his team and then pitched the next day in relief to close out the game to secure the championship. Considering how MLB teams view pitcher usage, this could be a concern among a few ball clubs. Despite the usage on his arm, the 25-year-old Masahiro Tanaka is expected to receive a big contract.
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