Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 Storylines: Tanakapalooza!

(Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

The last time the Yankees tried to make a big splash on the international free agent market, they shelled out $46 million to a guy who looked like Droopy Dog and didn't even bother to verify what his pitch mix was.  That experiment predictably went down in flames and they'd been pretty quiet on the international front since then.

This past offseason, when the newest Japanese pitching sensation was available, the Yanks did a complete 180 from the Kei Igawa disaster.  They were in on this pitcher from the start, scouting more of his NPB games than any other MLB team, getting feedback from scouts, coaches, and players who had played with him, and engaging his agent on contract talks almost as soon as possible.  As we came to find out later, they'd actually been following this pitcher for years, preparing for the day when he would be eligible to jump to MLB.  All that due diligence worked to their advantage, and on January 22nd, 2014 the Yankees reaped the benefits by signing 25-year-old Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year/$155 million deal.

In the 2-ish months that have passed, Tanaka has come to the states, joined the team at Spring Training, and began his transition to playing Major League Baseball.  Nothing he has done so far has been a small deal in the media and it comes as no surprise that everything he will do this season will be a huge deal.

A Tale Of Two Adjusting Pitchers

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

It was another tandem activity day for CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka yesterday, in what may or may not be a strategic move by Joe.  Flip-flopping the plan from last Thursday, when Sabathia threw a sim game and Tanaka got the Grapefruit start, it was Tanaka who threw the sim in the morning and Sabathia who took the hill against real competition in the afternoon.  Their results and the manner in which they achieved them could not have been more different and provide a perfect view of 2 divergent pitching career paths.

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/11/14

- CC Sabathia (real game) and Masahiro Tanaka (sim game) both pitched yesterday.  Tanaka's outing went pretty well, Sabathia's not so much.  I'll have more on them later today.

- David Robertson, Matt Thornton, Preston Claiborne, and Vidal Nuno were all also throwing sim innings yesterday morning between Tanaka's innings.

- Scary moment during the game when Dean Anna and Brian McCann collided on an infield pop-up.  It started when Anna tripped on McCann's mask, but thankfully both guys were fine.

- Brendan Ryan swung a broomstick yesterday and felt no pain, so he could be back in the lineup today.

- Joe announced some of the players who will be heading to Panama this weekend.  Derek Jeter, McCann, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Beltran are the main regulars making the trip.