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Masahiro Tanaka

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#1 PseudoSABR

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:50 AM

Posted Image Darren Wolfson ‏@DarrenWolfson
With #MNTwins VP Mike Radcliff heading to Japan in the coming weeks, I suspect he'll watch pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Big-time FA this winter.

via mlbtraderumors

#2 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:59 AM

Good news on Tanaka.

I just sent Rad an email. As long as he's over there, there's a kid in Japan, plays shortstop, incredible range, good enough arm, great line-drive hitter. He's a can't miss MLB standout. Probably get him cheap. What's his name again? .....

#3 nicksaviking

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:00 AM

Like buying a plane ticket?!

That's encouraging both in the fact that the Twins may have learned it's best to scout Japanese players in person in lieu of YouTube and in the fact that the Nishioka incident has not completely scared the Twins away from Asian prospects.

#4 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:38 AM

Good news if that's what happens. Not only that they are looking into the player, but that the Nishi situation didn't scare them off for the future.

#5 James

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:12 PM

I'd love to read some scouting reports on this guy to see what he features for pitches. But he has really good numbers in Japan.

Yes, yes. I am aware that the Japan Pacific League is not the MLB, but I think any of us would be interested in him if he was in a AA or AAA (somewhere in between?) with the numbers that this guy is putting up.

Any way about it, there's definitely nothing wrong with taking a look. I'm also, glad the Twins aren't scared away from Japanese players because of the Nishi thing. I say get talent where ever you can get it.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#6 Danchat

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:16 PM

I'm all for signing a Japanese pitcher. Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda, Koji Uehara, that Dodgers Ryu guy, and others have had tons of success.
Just don't sign any more infielders from there. Ever.

#7 twinsfanstl

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:18 PM

Wiki says: Tanaka is a 188 cm (6 ft 2 in), 93 kg (205 lb) right-handed power pitcher with a high three-quarters delivery. He throws a four-seam fastball that usually sits around 145 to 149 km/h (90 to 93 mph) (clocked as fast as 96 mph at Dodger Stadium in 2009 WBC) and complements it with a vicious 82-86 mph slider with a sharp, late break. He also throws a solid 84-88 mph splitter, and a two-seam fastball. In 2007, Tanaka often relied on this slider to strike out batters. He has since worked on improving his other offspeed pitches to induce more groundballs and get batters out more efficiently.
One area of Tanaka's pitching that is often cited as needing improvement is his motion from the stretch. He allowed a league-high 28 baserunners to steal on him in 2007...but as always with the Japanese buyer beware...look at this from high school (in a single tournament) "Tanaka threw 742 pitches in 52⅔ innings (six appearances) in the tournament, striking out 54 and walking 20 with a 2.22 ERA." Lots of mileage on these arms. They say Darvish is an exception in that his father was Iranian and fought the Japanese arm overuse culture.

#8 Willihammer

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:33 PM

There is mileage but what is encouraging to me is the secondary stuff. A guy can afford lose a few ticks off his fastball when the secondary stuff is there. I personally think, after looking at some of the youtubes, Tanaka has the goods. In the older clips he shows a good slider but in last spring's WBC you see him more making guys look silly with the splitter.

It seems to be a trend with the Japanese pitchers, or at least the really elite ones, to learn a good split. Kuroda, Darvish, Iwakuma, , Uehara, all lean on very good splits. Dice-K and Nomo threw them too. Tanaka seems to fit right in, possibly the closest comp being Kuroda.

#9 nicksaviking

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:45 PM

In 2007, Tanaka often relied on this slider to strike out batters. He has since worked on improving his other offspeed pitches to induce more groundballs and get batters out more efficiently.


Well now I'm torn. This would explain his K/9 dropping from 8.8 last year to 7.4 this year.

Masahiro Tanaka Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

Not surprised the Twins are interested as he has already willingingly taken to the pitch to contact approach. What does a Japanese League 7.4 K/9 look like at the MLB?

Ugh, I'm happy they are looking internationally, but why, WHY can't they go after a power arm?

#10 Winston Smith

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 02:58 PM

Interested is one thing, willing to spend money on a competitive offer is another.

May all our prospects be All Stars and the beer be free.


#11 old nurse

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 03:51 PM

Well now I'm torn. This would explain his K/9 dropping from 8.8 last year to 7.4 this year.

Masahiro Tanaka Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

Not surprised the Twins are interested as he has already willingingly taken to the pitch to contact approach. What does a Japanese League 7.4 K/9 look like at the MLB?

Ugh, I'm happy they are looking internationally, but why, WHY can't they go after a power arm?


Tanaka's numbers look similar to Kuroda's in Japan. It wouldn't be a bad thing if Tanaka could put up Kuroda type numbers here. At 25 he would be coming into his prime.

#12 Brandon

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:15 AM

Just think if the Twins sign this guy and the Cuban SS their offseason goals would almost be complete. It would just be to tinker with the team the rest of the offseason.... Morneau 1 year contract with low base and maybe another starter with upside signing....

#13 TwinsThompson

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:27 AM

I like that they are keeping all options open. If this guy is really that good they are going to have to get out the checkbook though. I would imagine other clubs are checking him out as well.

#14 TwinsThompson

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:30 AM

Didn't he play for the Indians in the 90's?

Posted Image

Is this the guy?

#15 jorgenswest

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:36 AM

What are the posting rules for Tanaka?

Is it blind? Best offer wins?

#16 kab21

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 09:32 AM

What are the posting rules for Tanaka?

Is it blind? Best offer wins?

It's a blind bid and the best offer wins. And the team only wins the right to negotiate.

As a comparison the Rangers paid a 51M posting fee for Darvish and signed him for 56M/6 years. Tanaka is obviously not Darvish but teams are throwing money around so I wouldn't be surprised if it took 30+M to win the posting fee. I have no idea if he's worth it but they are at least checking him out so that's good.

#17 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 09:47 AM

It's a blind bid and the best offer wins. And the team only wins the right to negotiate.

As a comparison the Rangers paid a 51M posting fee for Darvish and signed him for 56M/6 years. Tanaka is obviously not Darvish but teams are throwing money around so I wouldn't be surprised if it took 30+M to win the posting fee. I have no idea if he's worth it but they are at least checking him out so that's good.


This is a pretty good idea of what will happen with Tanaka too. From what I understand he and Darvish would be pretty comparable situations.

That said, if they don't reach a deal, the posting fee is refunded, so there's no risk if you win the bid and cannot sign a contract.

#18 jorgenswest

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 10:29 AM

Since it is a blind bid...

The Twins can outbid and eliminate the competition. This won't be a case of Tanaka choosing another team looking for a better situation. If they don't acquire Tanaka, it will be solely because they didn't put up enough money.

How much should they bid?

#19 cmb0252

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:34 AM

Every time I read a report about Tanaka I want the Twins to get him more. Especially with how poor the FA arms are this year and next year. He isn't an ace like darvish but I think he could be a a solid #2.

#20 Rick Blaine

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:05 PM

Every time I read a report about Tanaka I want the Twins to get him more. Especially with how poor the FA arms are this year and next year. He isn't an ace like darvish but I think he could be a a solid #2.


Do we really think the Twins will take another (big) chance with the Japanese market again?

#21 cmb0252

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:09 PM

Do we really think the Twins will take another (big) chance with the Japanese market again?


They didn't send Radcliff out there for fun. Will they sign him? No one knows. I just like the idea of a Tanaka, Gibson, Meyer rotation.

#22 kab21

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:16 PM

Do we really think the Twins will take another (big) chance with the Japanese market again?


Do you really think that the team would solely base their player evaluation on one player that failed?

The same offseason that the Twins signed Nishioka they bid 7.7M on Iwakuma. He came a year later (A's didn't sign him) and has been excellent for the M's. It also seems that Japanese (and other Asian) pitchers fare pretty well in the US.

#23 Rick Blaine

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:17 PM

They didn't send Radcliff out there for fun. Will they sign him? No one knows. I just like the idea of a Tanaka, Gibson, Meyer rotation.


They do have money to spend-- so maybe it's a vacation for Radcliff doubling to create fan interest:) Then when they don't get him they can say they tried. They wouldn't do that would they?

Did they send a high level front office guy to scout Nishi? Or did they just buy on the hype?

#24 Rick Blaine

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:19 PM

[quote name='kab21']Do you really think that the team would solely base their player evaluation on one player that failed?

YES

#25 James

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 01:13 PM

They will have to go through the posting system, assuming that his team actually posts him. Then, they have to come in with the highest bid. That's just to get the rights to negotiate with him.

I like the idea of going after this guy, but other teams will be after him too. I hope the Twins see something they like and are very aggressive with their bid.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#26 jay

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:18 PM

Ugh, I'm happy they are looking internationally, but why, WHY can't they go after a power arm?


He's regarded as the best int'l FA pitcher and that's not good enough? Who exactly is this power arm that you speak of?

#27 kab21

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 07:25 PM

Do you really think that the team would solely base their player evaluation on one player that failed?


YES


And that's why they are personally scouting him in Japan?