Will Masahiro Tanaka's old IG post help or hurt Yankees in Yoshinobu Yamamoto chase?

Did the two parties end on good terms? It's complicated.

United States v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 10
United States v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 10 / Yuichi Masuda/GettyImages
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Welcome to Thanksgiving Feast Week, where Yankees fans read far too much into every little crumb they're given -- but, hey, at least anxiety beats needlessly fretting over the hiring of Brad Ausmus!

This week's carousel going round and round is a literal Instagram carousel -- more specifically the one that former Yankee Masahiro Tanaka posted during NPB All-Star Game festivities this past summer.

Tanaka was a universally beloved Yankee and playoff stalwart during his seven-year tenure in the Bronx. Current free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto, scheduled to command upwards of $200 million this winter, is reportedly "intrigued" by the idea of the Yankees (and a pile of cash could further develop that intrigue).

So ... is there any significance to Tanaka making a posed photo with Yamamoto his Instagram cover image (click the link above)? And, if so, how exactly did the relationship between the Yankees and Tanaka end anyway? No need to swipe through to find out.

Former Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka used Yoshinobu Yamamoto photo as cover image on Instagram

Did Tanaka leave New York feeling the same way about the Yankees organization that Yankee fans felt about him? Would he extol the franchise's virtues to Yamamoto like Frank Schwindel did, or would he badmouth them like, uh, Yamamoto's own agent might?

For all intents and purposes, it seemed Tanaka made out well in New York, though his career finished ringless. Unfortunately, the right-hander has claimed he wanted to return for Year 8 in 2021, only for the Yankees to leave his messages on read. Tanaka and Cole got along quite well during their overlapping time in the Bronx, and the ex-Yankee would have to be pretty petty to muddy the waters out of spite, screwing his ex-teammates in the process.

What Tanaka went through didn't exactly sound like the "shunning" NJ.com described. That said, his Yankees career didn't end with a "Tanaka Day." The pitcher's family also experienced some dark moments at the end of their time in New York during the height of COVID; racial discrimination was a factor in his premature departure, too.

Hopefully, this connective tissue on Instagram becomes a funny story down the line after Yamamoto hoists his pinstriped jersey high, and not a cautionary tale of believing too hard in continuity. Ultimately, Tanaka will not be the one who decides the right-hander's fate. That will be Yamamoto's call alone (unless Brian Cashman disses another one of Joel Wolfe's clients).

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