Brian Cashman says it’s “asking too much” to expect Masahiro Tanaka to be an ace

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman is doing his best to temper expectations for his $175 million pitcher. Per ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, Cashman says it would be “asking too much” to expect Tanaka to perform like an ace. Instead, he sees Tanaka as “a really solid, consistent No. 3 starter.”

Cashman expects Tanaka to experience “some growing pains” transitioning from baseball in Japan to baseball in the United States. Specifically, Cashman cited pitching on five days’ rest rather than seven, a different strike zone, and stronger lineups. Yu Darvish, by all accounts a superior pitcher to Tanaka, posted a 3.90 ERA in his first year in the U.S. in 2012, but lowered it to 2.83 this past season with improvements across the board.

On January 22, the Yankees signed Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract which also required them to pay a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League. He was one of many big signings the Yankees made during the off-season. They also signed center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $154 million deal, catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million deal, right fielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal, and Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $16 million deal.

Pete Alonso wins 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Award

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Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was named the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 29 of 30 first-place votes.

Alonso, 24, made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and, like Álvarez, looked major league-ready as soon as he debuted. He finished the season as the league leader in homers with 53 while also knocking in 120 runs, scoring 103 runs, and batting .260/.358/.583 over 693 trips to the plate. FanGraphs listed Alonso with 4.8 WAR, by far the most among rookies. Alonso also won a little thing called the Home Run Derby, earning $1 million in the process. He donated $50,000 apiece to two charities, Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Alonso, rated as the No. 48 prospect in baseball before the season started, is the first Met to win the award since starter Jacob deGrom in 2014. He is the sixth Met to win it, joining deGrom as well as Dwight Gooden (1984), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Jon Matlack (1972), and Tom Seaver (1967).

Braves starter Mike Soroka finished in second place and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. finished in third. Also receiving votes were Bryan Reynolds, Dakota Hudson, and Victor Robles.