A’s Have Interest in Masahiro Tanaka
The A’s made a big Japanese signing this offseason acquiring Hiroyuki Nakajima, we just has started up in Sacramento. He has been underwhelming but let’s be frank here, so have most Japanese hitters who have come stateside. The pitchers however have oftentimes been everything they’ve been billed. The A’s reportedly are interested in one right now: Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, playes for the Rakuten Golden Eagles whom he has pitched for since 2007 when he was 18. Since then he has thrown 1,164 innings of 2.47 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9 baseball. Even knowing that the NPB is of a lower caliber play than American baseball those numbers are phenomenal. Now in his 24-year-old season he is 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA though his K/9 is down to 7.8 K/9 his BB/9 is 1.5 and his HR/9 is 0.4. Stellar numbers as he is going about seven and two-thirds innings a start.
Pitchers do well in the Coliseum, pitchers tend to transfer better to American baseball. Given that his numbers are trumped by those of Yu Darvish who similarly came to Texas in his 25-year-old season it is I think reasonable to see Tanaka as a Darvish light. Pitching in the bandbox of Arlington, perhaps that would help Tanaka’s numbers in Oakland but for references sake, let’s say Darvish represents the ceiling for Tanaka. Here are Darvish’s numbers in 2012: 3.90 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9 for a 3.29 FIP and 4.9 WAR. If Tanaka could do a 4.20 ERA with say 8.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 how much would that transform the A’s rotation? This is a signing the A’s really should do. Unfortunately, the A’s have some competition as the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers appear to be in the mix as well.