New York Yankees say goodbye to fan-favorite starting pitcher

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
Sep 29, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) leaves the field during the game between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees in the final home game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have embarked on an exciting flurry of acquisitions the past few weeks, locking in Corey Kluber to a one year deal, trading for Jameson Taillon, and signing Darren O’Day, formally of the Atlanta Braves. General manager Brian Cashman has been busy, while the latest moves have been exciting, it is time to say goodbye to one consistent and fan-favorite pitcher.

Japanese native Masahiro Tanaka is taking his talents back home, where he signed a deal with a Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. At 32 years old, Tanaka spent seven years with the Yankees, recording a career 3.74 ERA and 78 total wins. Not only was he a consistent option day in and day out for the Yankees, but he took a Giancarlo Stanton line drive off the head in 2020, returning to play for a majority of the season.

He stated his farewell on Thursday, making sure to thank the fans and all of his supporters throughout the last seven years.

“I have decided to return to Japan and play for the Rakuten Eagles for the 2021 season,” Tanaka wrote on Twitter. “I wanted to make sure and touch base with you, and thank you for all the love and support you have given me for the past 7 seasons.

“I feel extremely fortunate for having the opportunity to take the field as a member of the New York Yankees, and play in front of all you passionate fans. it has been an honor and a privilege! Thank you so much!!”

The Yankees’ starting rotation will feel a bit empty without Tanaka taking the mound, as his humble presence always spoke volumes of his nature. He was a quiet person who focused on his craft and managed to put together an impressive career in the MLB. However, it is time for him to go home, as the Yankees embark on another quest to reach the World Series for the first time in 10 years.

The starting rotation will likely be composed of Gerrit Cole, Kluber, Taillon, Luis Severino, upon his return, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, and a bevy of younger options. Some might say Cashman is putting too many chips in on formally injured players, but if his method pans out, the Yankees will be in great shape for the 2021 season.

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