Mar 16, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Well Toronto Blue Jays fans, for those of you who were wondering just how good Masahiro Tanaka is going to be and how well he will adapt to Major League Baseball, you won’t have to wait long to get a front row seat. According to New York Newsday, Tanaka is slated to make his Major League debut for the New York Yankees on April 4th, just in time for the Blue Jays home opener.
Of course, Blue Jays fans are still bitter that the team didn’t make a concerted effort to land the Japanese import, who was easily the best available pitcher on the market this winter. The hang-up for Toronto was the length of a deal, with the Blue Jays refusing to go past five years for the 25-year-old right-hander. As soon as it became known that the bidding would go past that point, the Blue Jays withdrew and never made a formal offer. Tanaka wound up signing with the division-rival New York Yankees instead, inking a 7-year, $155 million deal.
Tanaka has looked good thus far this spring, appearing in 3 games (2 starts) and posting a 1.93 ERA and a 5.00 SO/BB ratio against an opponents quality of 9.0. In his last outing, a start against the Atlanta Braves, Tanaka went 4.1 innings, allowing 3 hits and an earned run while striking out 6 and walking a pair.
He’ll be opposed by Brandon Morrow, who will start the season as the Blue Jays fifth starter. The spring has not been quite as friendly to Morrow, who has posted a 10.80 ERA and just a 3.6 K/9 over 5 innings of work this spring.