After seven years in the Bronx, Masahiro Tanaka has a new home in 2021.
According to the Rakuten Eagles twitter account, Tanaka has agreed to a one-year contract. Tanaka last pitched for the Eagles in 2013.
WELCOME HOME our HERO!!!!https://t.co/2WoFI9XjKJ#RakutenEagles #おかえりなさい pic.twitter.com/2DNlgJYORy
— 東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルス (@Rakuten__Eagles) January 28, 2021
Following the news, Tanaka released a statement, thanking Yankees fans for their support while “feeling fortunate for having the opportunity” to play for the Yankees.
— 田中将大/MASAHIRO TANAKA (@t_masahiro18) January 28, 2021
In his seven-year tenure, Tanaka went 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and a 3.91 FIP. He was also a two-time All-Star, both in 2014 and 2019.
Tanaka was seeking an approximately $20 million contract while exploring the free agent market. However, the Yankees elected to take a more frugal approach. The Yankees signed two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year deal worth $11 million, and completed a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jameson Taillon.
With Tanaka no longer an option, the Yankees will have to fill the last two spots in the rotation. Luis Severino is slated to return in July, but in the meantime the team has options in Jordan Montgomery, Asher Wojciechowski, Michael King and Domingo German. Barring a last minute trade, the Yankees are slated to fill the final two spots via competition in Spring Training.