Why Masahiro Tanaka Should Choose The New York Yankees

By James O'Hare
Ichiro, Kuroda
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

We’re days away from knowing which team Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka will play for in 2014. Rumor has it the three favorites are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.

I’m talking to you now, Tanaka. This is why you should choose the Yankees.

So your wife would prefer to be on the west coast which would make the Dodgers the front-runner. I get it: the climate is wonderful, and Southern California has the highest population of Japanese-Americans in North America.

But come on, you don’t want to pitch for the Dodgers. You’d be their No. 3 starter at best behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. You’re better than that. With the Yankees, you’d be at worst the No. 2 starter.

New York has a high Japanese population as well (third-highest in the U.S.). With that fanbase supporting him, Hideki Matsui spent seven phenomenal seasons with the Yankees capped off with a World Series MVP Award in 2009. You could do the same as a pitcher.

More important are the Japanese players currently on the team. There aren’t any Japanese players on the Dodgers right now. Conversely, the Yankees have two of the most successful Japanese players in the history of Major League Baseball in Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda. They could help ease your family’s move to the United States and your transition to the Big Leagues. Learning from their veteran experiences would no doubt help you be a better pitcher.

Plus, you know, New York doesn’t have earthquakes or smog.

As for the Cubs, do you really want to pitch for a perennial loser? Since 1996, the Yankees have more championships (five) than the Cubs have playoff appearances (four), and in three of those years the Cubs were swept in the first-round. Your talent would be wasted there.

Plus, thin crust destroys deep dish.

New York is the greatest city in the world, and in terms of its facilities there’s not a better ballpark in the country than Yankee Stadium. The Bombers also have the best battery mate. The Dodgers’ catcher is A.J. Ellis. The Cubs’ backstop is Wellington Castillo. The Yankees have Brian McCann behind the dish. I don’t think I have to tell you who the best choice is between those three (but just to be safe, it’s McCann).

You’re going to be a rich man no matter where you play, so you might as well go with the team that gives you the easiest transition and best possible chance at succeeding. That team is the New York Yankees.

James O’Hare is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JimboOHare, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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