Free Agent Target: Masahiro Tanaka

The Mets haven’t addressed their rotation besides adding depth in signings like Eickhoff. The rumors are that the Mets are looking at all the options, including Sugano from the Yomiuri Giants. So how about another Japanese star pitcher, who already found MLB success? Masahiro Tanaka.

The former Yankee is coming off another solid season in the Bronx. In 10 starts (48 innings), Tanaka has pitched to a 3.56 ERA and a 120 ERA+. The 32 year old still showed quality and run prevention in a tough division to pitch. Main plus with Tanaka is his walk rate, as he only walked 1.5 per nine innings. Who doesn’t love a guy who doesn’t walk hitters?

Obviously there are some concerns with Tanaka. He allows hard contact and is vulnerable too the long ball. If his splitter isn’t working, he is in trouble. If his splitter is on, he is pretty good. I do think stuff wise, Tanaka will age well, throwing mostly breaking stuff.

Baseball savant

With Tanaka not using his fastball as much, his fastball velo/spin isn’t as important. He mostly uses his slider and splitter, both have been solid. In 2020 he made the adjustment to throw his 4 seamer less and splitter more. Its logical, looking at the numbers, that his FB gets hit the most.

Baseball savant

I expect Tanaka to rely on his slider/splitter more and more and use his FB as a surprise element. Which makes his FB more sneaky fast.

It’s well known that Tanaka has been great in the biggest spots. Over his postseason career Tanaka owns a 3.33 ERA, however his last two postseasons hasn’t been good. He is also known for his injury history, but to me that’s overblown. Between 2016-2019 Tanaka has made at least 27 starts per year.

I like the idea of adding Tanaka. I think he still has some good years left and knows how to pitch in NY. You could slide him behind Stroman and get a quality middle of the rotation arm. In negotiations you have to try to get him for as short of a contract you can get. Hopefully a 2 year deal?

Photo by: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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