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Masahiro Tanaka

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#1 Badsmerf

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:08 PM

I think he deserves a thread of his own.

First, all of the posters clamoring for him, have you even watched him pitch? Youtube might not be perfect, but you can get a good idea of what a guy has. From watching him some you can see a few things. What first stands out in this clip is he has a sweet split finger (I think that is what it is anyway). Second, I don't like the command of his FB. MLB hitters are patient and will force hitter's counts making him unable to cut teeth with that split finger or slider.

I found this article with some scouting information on him. After going through it, it really didn't completely convince me Tanaka is worth 100m (assuming that is the price-tag). An interesting comp they threw out was Dan Haren. I wouldn't mind risking 10-15m a year on this guys since he does look like he will be a pretty good pitcher, but I wouldn't go over 15.

It is easy to get excited considering the success Darvish has had recently. However, we shouldn't put too much into the comparison between because the only similarity they have is being born in the same country. Darvish is taller, has a better delivery (IMO), throws harder, and have a different mix of pitches that are effective. Darvish is a guy I would have put 100m into, unfortunately, he isn't on the market, Tanaka is.

The link provided shows a comparison with how each did in the Japan league. I am not putting too much weight into other than they both did really well. If we've been shown anything, is that the two leagues are not directly correlated with success. If the Twins do bite the bullet and go after him I will not lavish if it is a failure, rather applaud their willingness to compete. I hope someone signs him and gives us another story to follow next season.
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#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:16 PM

I want him because, from what I've read, he's the most likely player to be available to be a number 3 pitcher. Not one US FA is likely to be that, possibly yes, but not likely. They have as much money available to spend on this as it takes, they are committed to under $60MM next year.

To me, he has more value to the Twins than he does to other teams. They have plenty of money, they don't have 1 pitcher they are sure is even a number 4 signed for next year, and the guys in the minors were in AA or lower this year.

Nope, never seen him pitch. But I have not seen Phil Hughes this year, or any other US FA this year.

If you wouldn't go over 15, what would you do with the money instead, to make the team better?*

*not saying I'd go over 15, just wondering why you picked that number
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#3 Badsmerf

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:31 PM

If you wouldn't go over 15, what would you do with the money instead, to make the team better?*

*not saying I'd go over 15, just wondering why you picked that number

I wouldn't feel comfortable spending more than 15 on him since he is such an unknown quantity. From the surface, he looks like he could pretty easily be a #2, not sure if Ace potential is there (p.s. I like to capitalize the "a" in Ace for a dramatic effect).

It is purely speculation, but I feel that would be a good limit to set based on possible return. I could be way off. I didn't read anything about offers on the table. Just purely from reading scouting reports and watching youtube clips, completely arbitrary.
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#4 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:33 PM

Mike, what is the magical number the Twins should post? I know you will express some displeasure if the Twins come away empty handed and I was hoping you could provide some guidance on the correct course the Twins should take. Remember, one shot, winner take all.

#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:49 PM

1 billion dollars,

I have no idea what the posting number needs to be.
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#6 Brandon

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:53 PM

I'll throw this out there, 5 year contract totaling 80 million for both posting fee and contract or 6 years with 90 million total cost. Either one would about be an appropriate limit.

#7 TheLeviathan

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:20 PM

I'd be upset if they posted less than 40M. They have tht much in saved in payroll this year alone.

#8 Willihammer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:43 PM

I found this article with some scouting information on him. After going through it, it really didn't completely convince me Tanaka is worth 100m (assuming that is the price-tag). An interesting comp they threw out was Dan Haren. I wouldn't mind risking 10-15m a year on this guys since he does look like he will be a pretty good pitcher, but I wouldn't go over 15.


Interesting report. I would have liked to hear what Tanaka's actual x-z pitch movement is but the comps are helpful in a roundabout way I guess. And if they are accurate,' then I don't know how you can conclude anything but excitement over this guy's talent. Haren's splitter is an excellent pitch. Samardzija's slider is a good pitch.

His fastball isn't going to blow many guys away but that's not Tanaka's game. He throws less than 40% fastballs. So his game is junk, and his junk pitches are solid.

#9 James

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:44 PM

Darvish's posting fee was $51.7M. I'm not saying that you would have to post that much to get him, but I would expect the winner will probably post somewhere in the $47-55M range.

Wild speculation, but given the scouting reports that I've read, and looking at the stats from the NPB, that's my guess. He will be the same age as Darvish was when he was posted, and I've seen some reports say that he has the best splitter in the world. That's a pretty bold statement.

Here are some comparison pitchers stats from NPB:

Hisashi Iwakuma (Posting fee of $19.1M after 2010 season, but did not sign with Oakland):
Hisashi Iwakuma Japanese League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

Yu Darvish (Posting fee $51.7M, signed 6-year $60M contract):
Yu Darvish Japanese League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

Masahiro Tanaka (Posting fee??? Contract??):
Masahiro Tanaka Japanese League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com

Edited by James, 11 September 2013 - 02:25 PM.
I revised my posting amount after thinking about it for a while. Bumped it up from $40 - 47M.

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#10 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:49 PM

I'd be upset if they posted less than 40M. They have tht much in saved in payroll this year alone.

Finally an agreement. If he checks out with our scouts, I would go 50M without batting an eye. If Ryan can pickup same or similar prior to the 2015 season, our starting pitching should be somewhere in the middle. Future improvements will be in place in our farm system by then.

Edited by howieramone, 11 September 2013 - 01:55 PM.


#11 Winston Smith

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:53 PM

Sanchez signed last winter for 5yrs $88m. He is a solid pitcher certainly our ace/best starter. I have no idea how this guy would compare with Sanchez but my guess is $15m a year will be needed to sign him.
IMO that will never happen for two reasons:
1. Terry has never even come close to spending that much on a FA
2. Nishi do they really take a chance for a lot more money ending up with Nishi 2.0?
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#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:19 PM

I'm guessing the winning bid will need to be in the 50-60M range. Hope I'm wrong there, but someone is going to shell out some cash for him.

#13 James

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:23 PM

Sanchez signed last winter for 5yrs $88m. He is a solid pitcher certainly our ace/best starter. I have no idea how this guy would compare with Sanchez but my guess is $15m a year will be needed to sign him.
IMO that will never happen for two reasons:
1. Terry has never even come close to spending that much on a FA
2. Nishi do they really take a chance for a lot more money ending up with Nishi 2.0?

I don't think that he'll need $15M per year to sign. Consider that Darvish only averaged $10M per year. I don't think you should expect anything more than that.

Overall, with pitcher cost inflation, I'd expect that it will take about the same amount of money to Tanaka as it took the Rangers to get Darvish.

As far as the Nishi comparison goes, he's not Nishi. First off, Japanese pitching seems to translate better the MLB than postion players. Second, Tanaka has a track record of being good. Look at his NPB stats. Nishi had one good year and then Bill Smith came running.

The Nishi experience should not scare the Twins away from Japanese players, especially pitchers.

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


#14 cmb0252

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:24 PM

No sources that i have seen have suggested Tanaka will get anything close to 100M. Darvish and Dice-K were looked at as #2's with ace upside while Tanaka is looked at as a #3 with #2 upside. Some experts have suggested once all is said and done he will be in the70-80 million range. About half of that will go to the posting fee so in reality you would only be on the hook for ~7-8 million a year. Even if doesn't turn out to be a #2 you aren't crippled financially.

Reports have Rangers out of the running, Dodgers more concerned trying to lock up Kershaw, and the Yankees worried about luxury tax/resigning Cano. Does this mean they won't jump back in later? No, but several of the big players have other things on their plates. Also, the only two teams that I have seen reported with top brass out there so far are the Twins and Giants.

#15 James

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:44 PM

No sources that i have seen have suggested Tanaka will get anything close to 100M. Darvish and Dice-K were looked at as #2's with ace upside while Tanaka is looked at as a #3 with #2 upside. Some experts have suggested once all is said and done he will be in the70-80 million range. About half of that will go to the posting fee so in reality you would only be on the hook for ~7-8 million a year. Even if doesn't turn out to be a #2 you aren't crippled financially.

Reports have Rangers out of the running, Dodgers more concerned trying to lock up Kershaw, and the Yankees worried about luxury tax/resigning Cano. Does this mean they won't jump back in later? No, but several of the big players have other things on their plates. Also, the only two teams that I have seen reported with top brass out there so far are the Twins and Giants.

You're probably right. I probably am estimating way too high. I also forgot those other factors. I hope that he only goes for the $70-80M range, and I hope that money comes from the Twins.

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#16 Larsbars08

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:57 PM

Based on what we've heard about him, I assume that there will be a posting fee that is roughly half to 2/3 of what Yu Darvish got. Which would be roughly a 25-35 million dollar posting fee. When it's that high you're probably expecting a contract in the ballpark of 5 years for 25-40 million depending on how high the posting fee ends up. The posting fee is high, but in the end you're probably only paying 5-8 million a year for a pitcher who probably becomes our best pitcher. That's far from a prohibitive cost, even for the Twins.

Edited by Larsbars08, 11 September 2013 - 03:00 PM.


#17 cmb0252

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:15 PM

The one team the "scares me" are the cubs. They are pretty much in the same spot as us but have more ready now guys IMO. Add in Theo signed Dice-K while in Boston and the front office's willingness to spend money. I haven't heard their top brass linked to him yet but if I had to guess today I would bet they win him. Hopefully Ryan proves me wrong!

#18 70charger

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:23 PM

I was under the impression that the posting fee bidding for Darvish was ridiculously one-sided. As in, the Rangers paid $52 million, and the next highest bidder bid something like $15 million. I guess that kind of gross overpay is the price of certainty, but the only other posting fee that's ever even been in that neighborhood was Daisuke Matsuzaka.

In other words, if there isn't one team out there ready and willing to break the bank to guarantee Tanaka's rights, is there any reason to think that this posting fee would be even close to Darvish? Even half?

#19 Willihammer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:25 PM

You're probably right. I probably am estimating way too high. I also forgot those other factors. I hope that he only goes for the $70-80M range, and I hope that money comes from the Twins.


I suspect your first guess is still on the low end. Tanaka might not be as talented as Darvish but I suspect he is the best talent available this offseason. He will cost the most. I think we're talking something between Anibal and Greinke type money.

#20 cmb0252

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:32 PM

I was under the impression that the posting fee bidding for Darvish was ridiculously one-sided. As in, the Rangers paid $52 million, and the next highest bidder bid something like $15 million. I guess that kind of gross overpay is the price of certainty, but the only other posting fee that's ever even been in that neighborhood was Daisuke Matsuzaka.

In other words, if there isn't one team out there ready and willing to break the bank to guarantee Tanaka's rights, is there any reason to think that this posting fee would be even close to Darvish? Even half?


Reports have the Cubs coming in second and the Blue Jays coming in third with bids less than $35 M of the $52 M the rangers offered. I think the elevated number comes from the Dodgers putting up a $27.5 M posting fee for Ryu before signing him to a six year deal. Tanaka is considered a better pitcher than Ryu who the Dodgers ended up spending a total of $62M on.

#21 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:47 PM

I was under the impression that the posting fee bidding for Darvish was ridiculously one-sided. As in, the Rangers paid $52 million, and the next highest bidder bid something like $15 million. I guess that kind of gross overpay is the price of certainty, but the only other posting fee that's ever even been in that neighborhood was Daisuke Matsuzaka.

In other words, if there isn't one team out there ready and willing to break the bank to guarantee Tanaka's rights, is there any reason to think that this posting fee would be even close to Darvish? Even half?


This is the second time I've heard this here, and I've never seen a link to substantiate it. I would think if this was true that someone in the Texas front office may have their job over it. That's a pretty gross miscalculation.

That said, I don't know if Darvish is a good comp or not, but what I do know is that Tanaka pitched good enough to get the comparrisons, and I've heard more than once that his split finger fastball is better than anyone else's... anywhere.

I have a tough time believing that the total investment for Tanaka is only going to be 60M. That would be nice, but I suspect you are looking at a 50Mish posting fee and a similar contract when it's all said and done. That's a good risk for a 24 year old pitcher, a lot smarter than tossing that at a 31 year old pitcher. Given the savings the Twins have had in the payroll dept this year and next year, I think they should do it, and this is another young talent that fits into that next wave.

#22 cmb0252

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:11 PM

Where are you guys getting this 100+ M number from? I haven't read anything that suggests that. History defiantly doesn't. Did I miss something? (Sure wouldn't be the first time I did)

#23 LaBombo

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:30 PM

This is the second time I've heard this here, and I've never seen a link to substantiate it. I would think if this was true that someone in the Texas front office may have their job over it. That's a pretty gross miscalculation.

Buster Olney reported it this way:

"Remember how the Jays were expected to be such big players in the Yu Darvish bidding? Well, one official said that Toronto actually finished third in the bidding, behind the Rangers and Cubs, and that no bid was within $35 million of what Texas tendered."

Maybe somebody in Texas was told it would mean their job if they didn't get Darvish, rather than if they grossly outbid other teams.

Anyway, I tend to agree with you that it's going to take more than a total commitment of $60 million. If Darvish's posting is halfway between aberration and market correction, then Tanaka may fetch 20-25 million posting and 50-55 million for 5 years, that's about $75 million, or about halfway between 'bargain' and 'pricey'.

That price would be doable and would go a long way toward restoring credibility on and off the field.

Edited by LaBombo, 11 September 2013 - 04:39 PM.


#24 Monkeypaws

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 04:37 PM

His fastball isn't going to blow many guys away but that's not Tanaka's game. He throws less than 40% fastballs. So his game is junk, and his junk pitches are solid.


He sounds like a Rick Anderson pitch-to-contact dream. :)

I think the Twins are all in on this guy....

#25 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:09 PM

I was really impressed by what I saw with him. His delivery is silky smooth, he has a high release point, and hides the ball extremely well. His breaking stuff is fairly deceptive too.

#26 Willihammer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:28 PM

This is the second time I've heard this here, and I've never seen a link to substantiate it. I would think if this was true that someone in the Texas front office may have their job over it. That's a pretty gross miscalculation.


Lose their job? They secured an outstanding pitcher for a good price.

The more I think about Tanaka, I can't imagine why any team wouldn't be interested in him. He's arguably the most talented pitcher in the class but carries the bonus of being 2 years younger than anyone except Hughes. He's young enough to appeal to rebuilders and for the heavy hitters, posting fees don't count against the luxury tax (for the moment anyway). No, I don't like the Twins chances at all.

Maybe the guy we should be watching is Kenta Maeda. His stuff isn't expected to translate as well, lower velocities across the board, but he gets very good results. Only problem is, the general opinion seems to be there's a <50% chance he posts this year.

#27 abnormal_1

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:05 PM

I have to admit utter and complete ignorance regarding Masahiro Tanaka other than what I have read in places such as Twins Daily. Based on what I have read it sounds like we are talking a relatively young (24) pitcher who has number two starter or worst case number 3 starter.

Right now the pipeline for big league ready starters is bare...some good stuff coming (Meyer/May/Berrios/Stewart/Melotakis) But with injuries(Meyer) and still working on control (May) Isn't anything ready come Opening Day next year.

Twins should overspend on this if needed. They have saved money recently on payroll and a bunch more coming off. Right now attracting a top free agent isn't going to happen with out absurd overpaying.

Post high. By doing this it is actually cheaper. Post $35 pay 40-45 over 5 years and you are starting to fill that gap.

Tanaka - 2014
Meyer - 2014.5/2015
May - 2015
Berrios/Melotakis/Stewart - 2016

Sure I'm missing some starting pitchers coming up. But you get Tanaka (who will be cheaper, wont require to trade away any assets, and won't have any other options like FA pitchers) and 2014 has a chance to be the year that the 90 loss years end. Hell at that point go nuts and overspend on Phil Hughes andn Twins might even think about a wildcard.

Twins got the money with Morneau/Blackburn and previous subtraction. Going after Tanaka makes all the sense in the world....IF the scouts like what they have seen

Edited by abnormal_1, 11 September 2013 - 06:06 PM.
Forgot closing )


#28 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:35 PM

I have to admit utter and complete ignorance regarding Masahiro Tanaka other than what I have read in places such as Twins Daily. Based on what I have read it sounds like we are talking a relatively young (24) pitcher who has number two starter or worst case number 3 starter.

Right now the pipeline for big league ready starters is bare...some good stuff coming (Meyer/May/Berrios/Stewart/Melotakis) But with injuries(Meyer) and still working on control (May) Isn't anything ready come Opening Day next year.

Twins should overspend on this if needed. They have saved money recently on payroll and a bunch more coming off. Right now attracting a top free agent isn't going to happen with out absurd overpaying.

Post high. By doing this it is actually cheaper. Post $35 pay 40-45 over 5 years and you are starting to fill that gap.

Tanaka - 2014
Meyer - 2014.5/2015
May - 2015
Berrios/Melotakis/Stewart - 2016

Sure I'm missing some starting pitchers coming up. But you get Tanaka (who will be cheaper, wont require to trade away any assets, and won't have any other options like FA pitchers) and 2014 has a chance to be the year that the 90 loss years end. Hell at that point go nuts and overspend on Phil Hughes andn Twins might even think about a wildcard.

Twins got the money with Morneau/Blackburn and previous subtraction. Going after Tanaka makes all the sense in the world....IF the scouts like what they have seen


Good first post! To nit pick, I would substitute Eades for Melotakis, but you pretty much nailed it.

#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:44 PM

Lose their job? They secured an outstanding pitcher for a good price.

The more I think about Tanaka, I can't imagine why any team wouldn't be interested in him. He's arguably the most talented pitcher in the class but carries the bonus of being 2 years younger than anyone except Hughes. He's young enough to appeal to rebuilders and for the heavy hitters, posting fees don't count against the luxury tax (for the moment anyway). No, I don't like the Twins chances at all.

Maybe the guy we should be watching is Kenta Maeda. His stuff isn't expected to translate as well, lower velocities across the board, but he gets very good results. Only problem is, the general opinion seems to be there's a <50% chance he posts this year.


They overpaid by 30M on the posting fee, and since the fee is generally half of the contract, the total overpayment is about 50-60M...

I agree the Twins need to go after him.

#30 ThePuck

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:54 PM

Between last year and this year, Darvish has been worth 44.3M. His salary for 2012-2013 is a combined 15M. He's well on his way to making up whatever they 'overpaid' him.