Today at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees introduced their latest big money acquisition in Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese pitching phenom who went 24-0 last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles came prepared to meet the American media for the first time, speaking the limited English he had learned by saying “Hi, I’m Masahiro Tanaka…and I’m happy to be a Yankee.” The media and those in attendance were chuckled but were most likely impressed with the effort of the foreign-born star.
The questions for Tanaka remained very basic, as there were long pauses and delays from the Yankees, and Tanaka looked a bit nervous on this stage. He shifted back and forth, but was more than happy to answer questions from the media to the best of his ability. One writer asked if any other team had offered more money, which Tanaka said he felt uncomfortable answering. Tanaka did speak about a brief conversation he had with former Yankees’ slugger Hideki Matsui, and how Matsui told him the “City was good.” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman added during his comments, that “The Boss would be proud.”
The Yankees signed Tanaka to a 7-year, $155 million dollar contract with an opt-out option after the fourth year. Manager Joe Girardi added that “He’s a great pitcher, and he’s obviously here for a long time, so we’re very, very excited.” Tanaka looked good pulling on the famous Yankee pinstripes, and as most fans already know, for this season at least, Tanaka will wear the #19.
Speaking through his translator for the remainder of the press conference, Tanaka stated that he understands the high expectations that come with playing for the Yankees, and that his sole goal is “…to win a World Championship.” That’s music to Yankees’ fans ears. When asked if he was looking forward to facing anyone specific in the big leagues, Tanaka answered: “I have not faced anybody here, so I’m looking forward to facing anybody.” Tanaka will report to Tampa later this week to begin workouts with his fellow staff mates along with the catchers he will be working with.
In case you missed the press conference, we’ve included the video clip courtesy of MLB.com: