Lost in the Yankees rocking Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox’s bullpen for 14 runs Sunday night is that Masahiro Tanaka had another unimpressive start as he continues to keep pitching and avoid Tommy John elbow surgery.
Tanaka completed five innings, which is three more outs than he got versus the Blue Jays on Opening Day, but he allowed four runs, struck out four batters compared to three walks, and got just five swinging strikes on 97 pitches. And his velocity was again underwhelming, with an average of 91 miles per hour on his fastball.
Through two starts last season Tanaka had 18 strikeouts and 34 swinging strikes versus 1 walk.
Through two starts this season Tanaka has 10 strikeouts and 17 swinging strikes versus 5 walks.
The good news is that he’s healthy and has shown he can certainly still get big-league hitters out with his diminished raw stuff, but so he looks nothing like the guy who went 13-5 with 2.77 ERA and 141/25 K/BB ratio in 136 innings as a rookie.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.