Get used to hearing the name Masahiro Tanaka this offseason. He’s likely to get huge money to come to the U.S. If he does, his last act in Japan was something special.
As we noted over the weekend, Tanaka’s record unbeaten streak finally came to an end on Saturday, as the Rakuten Golden Eagles lost 4-2 to the Yomiuri Giants in Game 6 of the Japan Series. Tanaka threw a crazy 160 pitches in that game. So he was dead for Game 7, right?
Wrong: yesterday he took the mound in relief and threw 15 more pitches to get the save in Game 7, giving the Golden Eagles their first ever Japan Series title.
This guy finished the regular season at 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183/32 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. His 160 pitches notwithstanding, he’s gonna be the biggest draw of them all next year, assuming he makes the jump.
Update (7:00 PM ET): The MLBPA announces that the deadline has been extended 24 hours while MLB and NPB continue to negotiate a new agreement for the posting system. The new deadline is 8 PM ET on Tuesday.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.