So what does the signing of Tanaka mean?
It should solidify a starting staff that needed one more top-line starter to compete in the AL East. But it's always a roll of the dice when a star pitcher comes over from Japan. The majors have been littered with big name, bigger money pitchers from Japan like Dice K Matsuzaka, Kei Igawa, and Hideki Irabu who ultimately fall well short of expectations. Only a handful like Hideo Nomo and Yu Darvish have truly succeeded. Some have compared baseball in Japan like Triple-A ball here in the US.
Tanaka's numbers in Japan last season were un-godly. He was a perfect 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA. So even if a pitcher put up numbers like that in Triple-A, it would be most impressive.
I like the move from the Yankees' standpoint. Tanaka is just 25 years old and a seven year veteran in professional ball. He brings down the average age of a ballclub getting long in the tooth. And if he is half as dominant as he was in Japan--maybe something like 18-8, 3.00 ERA in 2014--it could be enough to get the Yankees back to playing serious October baseball again.
So what's an extra $155 Million to help make that happen?