Browsing Posts tagged Masahiro Tanaka

Some sports books have released MLB win totals. Over the next few days, we’ll analyze the win totals by division and comments where we see some value. Today, we’ll focus on the American League East:

After adding Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, the odds-makers believe that the Boston Red Sox are American League East favorites. Boston, however, does not have a bonafide Ace atop its rotation. Boston was unable to re-sign starting pitcher (and fan favorite), Jon Lester. Boston has been discussing a trade for Cole Hamels, but it doesn’t look like it will happen before the season. The American League East features some great hitters, so Boston will need the starting pitchers to compete.

Toronto also added some more offensive firepower by signing Russell Martin and trading for Josh Donaldson. Toronto’s offense features a lot of right-handed power hitters, but alike Boston, does not have depth in its starting rotation. R.A. Dickey will be asked to lead this rotation, but Toronto has the uncanny ability to under-perform annually.

The Baltimore Orioles won the AL East last season, but the odds-makers aren’t expecting a second straight title. Nelson Cruz, who hit 41 home runs last season, signed with the Seattle Mariners. Baltimore is hoping Chris Davis can bounce back, but he’s an unknown entering the 2015 season. Baltimore also lacks rotation depth.

The New York Yankees are projected to finish fourth. The Yankees have gotten younger and are expecting bounce back campaigns from Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova. Chase Headley re-signed and the Yankees traded for shortstop, Didi Gregorious. Fans are also expecting respectable seasons from A-Rod and Mark Teixeira

Tampa Bay is expected to take a step-back after manager Joe Maddon left and Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar, and David Price were traded away. Tampa Bay is expecting its younger players to step-up and fill the void.

Observations:

  • I don’t think there’s a ton of value in any of these totals. I think the Yankees are better than the Blue Jays and Orioles, so I would want to bet Yankees (OVER). I think Tampa Bay is in for a rude awakening and should falter in a tight race for the AL East crowd. I’d bet Tampa Bay (UNDER).

Best Bets:

Yankees Over 81.5 Wins

Rays Under 78.5 Wins

Hiroki Kuroda, who turns 40-years-old in February, will return to his old team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, for the 2015 season. Over the past few seasons, Kuroda has contemplated retirement, but has returned to take the $12-$15 million offered by the Yankees. After four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kuroda joined the Yankees during the 2012 season. Kuroda went 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA during his time tenure with the Yankees. At face value, these numbers do not justify Kuroda’s impact with the Yankees since he rarely received substantial run support. While Kuroda’s numbers do not rank with baseball’s elite, Kuroda was reliable, durable, and consistent for a team that desperately needed it. Kuroda threw 620 innings over his three seasons in New York.

CC Sabathia, Mashario Tanaka, and Michael Pineda are (hopefully) locks for the 2015 rotation while Ivan Nova, Chris Capuano, and Nathan Eovaldi will duke it out for the back half of the rotation. Max Scherzer is still available, but reports suggest that the Yankees will not be on him.

Kuroda didn’t generate many headlines with the Yankees, but he was an innings-eater that covered up a lot of holes in the rotation. The Yankees enter the 2015 season with question marks all over their rotation, so losing their only consistent starter, hurts. Still, Kuroda is 40-years-old, so fans couldn’t expect his string of consistent seasons to last forever. I’ll respect Kuroda as a respectable, professional starting pitcher that always gave his best effort. Enjoy Japan, Hiroki!

Masahiro Tanaka will make his major league debut Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. He’ll look to guide his team after a disappointing road trip to start the season. The New York Yankees (1-2) dropped two of three in Houston against the Astros while the Blue Jays split four games in Tampa Bay against the Rays. The Yankees have high hopes for their $175 million man and a strong start on Friday night will be a great start. Tanaka was flat out dominant last season in Japan, posting a 24-0 record with a sparkling 1.27 ERA. Tanaka was the center piece of the off-season, but his contract didn’t stop the Yankees from improving their offense. The Yankees committed $85 million to catcher Brian McCann and over $150 million for center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankee offense as a whole struggled in Houston, but hopefully a stop in Toronto’s hitter friendly park will help.

Tanaka will face off against RHP Dustin McGowan. Due to various injuries, McGowan will be making his first start since September 2011. McGowan missed the entire 2012 season due to foot injuries and exclusively pitched out the bullpen last season. McGowan’s strong spring earned him a rotation spot over LHP JA Happ. 

The Yankees went 13-5 against the Blue Jays last season, but went just 4-5 at the Rogre Centre. 

Pick: Current MLB Odds have the Yankees listed as a modest road favorite (-128). I’m fully expecting Tanaka to come out ready to pitch and start his MLB career on a high note. The Yankee offense is ready to get on the map and I’m fully expecting them to take advantage of McGowan.

Pick: New York Yankees -128

Less than 72 hours remain in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes. I’ve written a scouting report, valuation study, and just some general thoughts.  Overall, I think a six-year, $120 million deal is pretty reasonable. However, two of baseball’s richest teams, the Yankees and Dodgers, as well as new regimes in Arizona and Chicago have also shelled out nine figure offers. When the competition is this fierce, someone is going to pay a premium. Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, has done an excellent job keeping negotiations quiet, so we don’t know where each team stands.

When we compare Tanaka to the entire free agent pitching market, it’s not even close–and Close knows that. Based on age alone, Tanaka is three years younger than the next pitcher (Phil Hughes). Skill-wise, an argument can be made that Tanaka has the best ‘stuff’ among free agent pitchers. This article will show us why we shouldn’t be shocked when Tanaka signs a deal in excess of $140 million.

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After years of scouting and months of speculation, the Yankees got their man and signed Masahiro Tanaka to a lucrative seven-year, $155 million contract. The Yankees will also pay Tanaka’s JPL team $20 million as a posting fee. I’ve modeled out a bunch of scenarios and his contract fell between my guess of six-years, $149 million and seven-years, $163 million. In my analysis, I did not quantify the value of an opt-out, which may have the tipping point in contract negotiations. Lost in the hoopla of the contract length and size is a clause that allows Tanaka to opt out after his fourth season and test free agency again at Age 29. As we’ve seen with other young aces, teams are more willing to include an opt-out clause in order to secure their services. We’ll walk through past contracts and review whether the Yankees were smart to include this incentive.

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I’ve written a lot of articles about Masahiro Tanaka. Scouting report, here. First season projection, here. Tanaka’s deadline to sign with a MLB team is Friday, January 24th at 5:00 PM. Yesterday, we learned that ‘at least five teams have submitted formal offers, nearly all of them worth more than $100 million over six years.’  Based on Japanese reports, which haven’t been totally reliable, those five teams were the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, and White Sox. Tanaka gave teams a ‘self-imposed’ deadline of January 16th to submit offers. 

On the surface, giving at least $100 million to pitcher who has never thrown a MLB pitch is insane. However, as we’ve seen with most free agent contracts so far, teams are flush with cash and ready to spend big on impact players. Tanaka, who is only 25-years-old and was dominant last season in JPL play, is the type of player MLB teams won’t shy away from. I’ll walk through a valuation exercise to give you an idea of what teams are expecting and some comps to consider.

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Masahiro Tanaka has become the story of baseball’s off-season. The 25-year-old Japanese ace has until January 24th to sign with a MLB team or else he’ll return to Japan. Tanaka signing with a MLB team is forgone conclusion and make no mistake about it; he’s about to cash in. Many conservative estimates peg a six-year, $120 million contract (plus a $20 million posting fee to Tanaka’s old team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles). Since Tanaka is essentially Japan’s first ‘free agent’, he’ll likely receive more years and a higher annual value. In the past, MLB teams submitted bids to the posted player’s Japanese team. The highest bidder received the rights to negotiate a contract with the posted player. That model has been replaced with essentially a ‘free market’ system where all 30 MLB teams could negotiate with Tanaka and pay the fee to his former club. Many teams, including the Yankees, have built their off-seasons around Tanaka. Needless to say, Tanaka has all of the leverage under this new system.

Shelling out a nine figure contract for a player who has never thrown a pitch in the MLB is very risky. Hell, shelling out nine figures for any player is risky. So what exactly is the winning bidder going to get in Tanaka? Here’s a summary of the videos I’ve watched and scouting reports that I’ve read…

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Masahiro Tanaka was officially posted on Thursday morning and teams did not waste any time. Sources indicate that the Yankees are already in talks with Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, who also represents Derek Jeter and Mark Teixiera. The Yankees will have a lot of competition for the skilled, 25-year-old right handed pitcher. Given the recent success of Yu Darvish, many are expecting ace-like performances right away from Tanaka. However, comparing the stats of some of Tanaka’s fellow statesmen may indicate what we can expect in his first season…

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Last week, we detailed an argument why the Yankees should wait until next season to tap the free agent starting pitching class. Today, we’ll detail each of the potential free agent options and whether they’ll be a fit. Before we dig into the potential free agents, the Yankees currently have approximately $127 million committed to the 2015 roster. After arbitration hearings, this amount will likely rise to $140 million. To put this in perspective, four players (A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Jacoby Ellsbury) account for nearly $90 million. Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alfonso Soriano, and Hiroki Kuroda will be free agents.

Needless to say, the Yankees will have plenty of holes to fill in the rotation. Here are some intriguing 2015 free agents that can be added to the rotation..

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There’s no denying that the Yankees need to add impact starting pitching. The 2014 Yankee rotation will be led by Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova, which isn’t enough to withstand the grind of a 162 game season. To fill out their rotation, the Yankees could turn to either the free agent market or pick from uninspiring internal options. The Yankees are obviously interested in Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who may or may not be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Changes in the posting system, namely capping the maximum posting bid at $20 million, have made Rakuten rethink posting Tanaka. In fact, Rakuten has made Tanaka a generous contract offer in hopes of keeping its ace. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding Tanaka’s posting status, this year’s free agent starting pitching market hasn’t taken shape. This year’s ‘Top’ remaining free agent pitching options include Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, AJ Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo. All five of these pitchers have obvious blemishes and would not provide more than a middling middle of the rotation option. Next year, however, potentially presents one of the best free agent classes in recent memory. Of note, Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer could hit the open market. Established AL East options should as Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Jake Peavy, and James Shields will be available. Finally, a few decent options from the NL Central, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Yovani Gallardo will also be available. 

In Part I of this article, we’ll breakdown each of the available 2014 free agent options to see whether or not they’re a fit for the Yankees. Part II will address the 2015 free agent class. More after the jump..

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