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Free Agent Poll: Masahiro Tanaka

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Three Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I acquired this idea in the Rule 5 draft from Lone Star Ball. It isn’t the first time I’ve stolen from them. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, use the contract FanGraphs suggests they will get and have a poll asking if we would like to sign him for that amount.

This one is likely an exercise in futility. It sounds like Tanaka will re-sign with the Yankees, but let’s look at him anyway. Masahiro is #7 on Fangraphs list and #15 on Keith Law’s list.

Craig Edwards guesses that Masahiro will get a 2-year, $30 million contract, so $15 million a season (I did that in my head, aren’t you impressed).

Tanaka is 32, younger than I thought. He’s had some injury issues but hasn’t let them slow him down. As Keith Law says, he “has been pitching with a partial tear in his elbow for seven years now, yet since he came to the United States he’s been both durable and effective.”

He doesn’t walk many 1.8 per 9 innings career, and he’s just under a strikeout an inning career. This year he has a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts. As with everyone, he wasn’t allowed to pitch late into games. He had 48 innings total. I’m expecting he will be back to averaging closer to 6 innings a start again next year. Career, he is 78-46, with a 3.74 ERA in 173 starts.

Law says that he “might not be a great bet for a long-term deal given his age and that wonky elbow, but I’d pay him to be a league-average starter in 2021.” I think he might be a bit better than league average, but I agree I wouldn’t be giving him a 4-year deal (and that might be what it would take to lure him away from the Yankees).

In his career, he’s has fWARs of 2.9, 2.3, 4.7, 2.6, 2.4, 3.3, and 0.8 (in this strike-shortened season). So he’s been very consistent, the 4.7 is the outlier, but it looks like you can expect a mid-2’s WAR from him. He would fit solidly in the second or third spot in the Blue Jays rotation. Unless, of course, the chewing gum holding his shoulder together gives out.


Should the Blue Jays sign Masahiro Tanaka if the price is $15 million a year for 2 years?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Yes, absolutely
    (144 votes)
  • 22%
    Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about it
    (99 votes)
  • 29%
    Probably not, but I wouldn’t hate it
    (131 votes)
  • 16%
    No, absolutely not
    (75 votes)
449 votes total Vote Now