Rakuten ace Tanaka to hold talks on U.S. move

TOKYO —

Rakuten ace Masahiro Tanaka is to hold talks with club bosses over his plan to move to the U.S. major leagues, reports said Monday—a switch likely to make him the most expensive Japanese player in history.

The 25-year-old right-hander pitched on Sunday, helping the Rakuten Eagles—based in the tsunami-hit northeast of Japan—to their first national title.

Tanaka exacted revenge against the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants the day after he was the losing pitcher in a 4-2 defeat, snapping his 30-game winning streak since last August.

The player is expected to meet with club president Yozo Tachibana over his plan to play in the United States next season, the Nikkan Sports daily reported.

“First, we want to confirm his intention, which is the starting point,” Tachibana told reporters after the team beat the Giants 3-0 at home in the final game of the best-of-seven Japan Series.

“I will listen to his thoughts, although the team still needs him,” Tachibana said.

Tanaka has already informed Rakuten of his desire to move to the United States and they are unlikely to stand in his way, Nikkan Sports said.

Reports said the cost of the rights to negotiate with Tanaka could top $100 million, easily surpassing a record $51.7 million paid out in the case of Yu Darvish, who signed for the Texas Rangers nearly two years ago.

U.S. clubs, including the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox and Rangers, have sent scouts to Japan to look at Tanaka, they said.

Born in Hyogo, Tanaka joined Rakuten in 2007 and has since won 99 regular season games against 35 defeats with an earned run average over 2.30.

Japan Today

  • -1

    combinibento

    Hopefully he makes the move sooner rather than later as it's his only chance at saving his arm and having a long career. In the US they do not make you pitch a day after pitching 160 times.

  • 0

    jojo_in_japan

    Combinibento, Totally agree. Remember how D-Mat would never ice after a game? Look at hime now.

  • 3

    Daijoboots

    In the US they do not make you pitch a day after pitching 160 times.

    I'm not sure what you're trying to imply or if you understand why he was brought to the mound in the 9th.

  • -1

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    I'm not sure what you're trying to imply or if you understand why he was brought to the mound in the 9th.

    Using him after only one day's rest was a purely sentimental gesture that reflects a serious lack of common sense on Hoshino's part. His starting pitcher had a one-hitter going into the 7th. Substituting Tanaka in the 9th made no difference in the outcome of the game.

  • 4

    kickboard

    combinibento, Hoshino was not even going to include Tanaka among bench members after that game. Only after Tanaka strongly requested it did he let him. He was also going to hold him to 120 pitches in game 6, but Tanaka refused to exit the game. I think Hoshino knew this was going to be his last chance to pitch in Japan and let him have his moment.

  • 0

    Daijoboots

    Oh is that so. Maybe you should take a look or listen at the man himself's remarks and those of any number of actual fans.

  • 1

    AramaTaihenNoYouDidnt

    He earned it.

  • 0

    Daijoboots

    As if it needed to be said, my previous remark was for Galapagos.

    I wonder what if any impact game 6 will have on money or even next team.

  • -1

    Mike DeJong

    Well, MLB scouts are already worried about his arm due to overwork. I'd be reluctsnt to give him a long-term contract if I was a MLB GM.

  • 1

    phatsr

    He still young man, a lot of future ahead of him. He can pitch as much as the team NEED him the most in the championship series. He proved to MLB pitching coaches that, his arm($100000000) is very strong and accurate. Don't worry Too much rules and regulation in USA, MAKE PEOPLE LAZY.

  • 2

    mikemcfly87

    In the US they do not make you pitch a day after pitching 160 times.

    He begged the manager to put him in. He wanted to be out there.

  • 0

    lostrune2

    combinibento, Hoshino was not even going to include Tanaka among bench members after that game. Only after Tanaka strongly requested it did he let him. He was also going to hold him to 120 pitches in game 6, but Tanaka refused to exit the game. I think Hoshino knew this was going to be his last chance to pitch in Japan and let him have his moment.

    Tanaka should know: MLB managers would had put their foot down in the best interest of their player.

  • 0

    powderb

    Even if a pitcher begs to be kept in the game, it missed the point. It's up to the manager to act in the best interest of the team, without sentimentality. Managers have to protect the pitchers from themselves. Of course Tanaka would want to finish his game, but it's not his decision.

  • -2

    techall

    He begged the manager to put him in. He wanted to be out there.

    And therein lies the problem with most Japanese managers. I remember a quote for Nakajima's days with the Giants when he said "I think when a pitcher has a lead, I owe it to him to leave him in at least until the other team ties the game". Bollocks! A pitchers will always tell the manager he is Okay. That is why, in the Major Leagues, most times the Manager will make the call to the pen before he even gets to the mound. Even if he talks to the pitcher first, when he takes the ball......you gone.

  • 1

    Dave Ramos

    You are all missing the context of his use. It was the final inning of the final game of the championship series! You don't hold anything back because a few bad pitches and you can go from a lead to a loss. In the MLB (US) in that same situation (elimination game) it is not uncommon for an ace to come in to a game for one big inning the day after starting snd throwing many pitches or complete game. Its all about team and winning!

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