New York Yankees‘ right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka reportedly may leave Major League Baseball to return to the Japan league. The 31-year-old is a free agent this offseason and the Rakuten Golden Eagles may have the best offer for him. According to several reports, the club is offering between $20-25 million per year. The length of the contract is unknown. The contract would also be a major record for a contract in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Tanaka has already played for the Golden Eagles from 2007 to 2013 before he signed his seven-year, $155 million dollar contract with the Yankees that expired this year. In 2013 with the Golden Eagles, Tanaka had a tremendous year where he held a 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA.
Tanaka is definitely going to pick up some major looks this offseason because of his free agency, and because of the interests from the Golden Eagles, it will only give Tanaka more attention during the winter.
After seven years with the Yankees, Tanaka held an overall 78-46 record and a career 3.74 ERA. Throughout a total of 1054.1 innings pitched for the Yankees, Tanaka fanned 991 batters. Except for this season, Tanaka was known for his dominance in the postseason, being a big reason that the Yankees did well in 2017 and 2019.
Despite having a heartbreaking ending to a solid seven-year career with the Yankees, Tanaka will definitely have his options this offseason. There are numerous teams (still including the Yankees) that are in desperate need of quality starting pitching. Other big free agents this offseason are Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, Mike Minor, and Jake Odorizzi. Even though this free-agent class is not as special as last year’s, it’ll be interesting to see where some of the big names end up.