First of all, I did not think the Houston Astros should have been bidding on Masahiro Tanaka in the first place. The fact that the final teams in the running for Tanaka had to offer at least a six-year, $120 million contract is scary.
Long-term deals rarely ever work out, and for a team in rebuilding mode to shell out that much money on one player would have been a waste. There are far more pressing issues than another starting pitcher. That may be the area where the Astros are the strongest.
All that being said, the fact that owner Jim Crane even allowed such an offer to be made is a really good sign. The Astros were one of six teams that were involved until the very end. They employed the help of Roger Clemens to try to win him over as well. Whether the Astros were serious about getting him or not, this strong showing is a testament to the dedication that the Astros’ brain trust has to getting the team back on track.
Not only that, but Tanaka is an unproven talent. Yes, he put up outstanding numbers in the same league that Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish came from, but pitching can be finicky and until he proves that he can pitch in MLB, it would almost be a waste for the Astros to dump so many resources into one man — especially given the fact that they have spent so many years clearing payroll to build this team up again.
If they would have put it all in Tanaka and for whatever reason he didn’t work out, it definitely would have been an unneeded setback.
But in the end, all is well. It couldn’t have turned out better for the Astros, who will look forward to seeing Tanaka during their opening series against the Yankees when the season finally rolls around.