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5 Bold Predictions for Masahiro Tanaka’s Career with New York Yankees

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5 Predictions for Masahiro Tanaka's New York Yankee Career

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The New York Yankees just capped off a $471 million offseason spending spree with the signing of Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees locked up the 25-year-old right-handed pitcher for seven years and $155 million.

The Yankees, regular luxury tax offenders, had been very publicly attempting to rein in spending since last year. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, if the Yankees could get their payroll under $189 million in 2014 their tax penalties would reset, a move that would’ve saved them millions over the next several years.

But there has always been one thing more important than money for the Yankees – winning. After missing the playoffs for the second time in six years, the Yankees abandoned the plan and decided to go for broke. They ended up with a stacked offensive lineup and perhaps the best young pitcher to ever come out of Japanese baseball.

In seven seasons with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka pitched in 175 games and went 99-35, good for a .739 winning percentage. He pitched a total of 1,315 innings and posted a 2.30 ERA during that time span. He tossed 53 complete games including 18 shutouts and posted a 4.50 strikeout to walk ratio.

Tanaka can opt out of his contract with the Yankees after four seasons, but here’s a prediction for you – he won’t. In fact, the Yankees will likely extend him at that point, and there is a good possibility Tanaka will remain a Yankee for a very long time. Assuming he does not opt out, here are five predictions for Tanaka’s first seven years in the Bronx.

Laura Depta is a New York Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @LauraDepta and add her to your network on Google.

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5. Will Average 200+ Innings per Season

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Tanaka’s 2013 season with the Golden Eagles was a masterpiece. The hurler tossed 212 innings in 28 games en route to a 1.27 ERA. Part of the attraction for the Yankees was youth and durability. Expect the Yankees to take full advantage of these qualities and for Tanaka to be a workhorse and inning eater.

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4. Will Win Two Cy Young Awards

Cy Young
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The last Yankee to win a Cy Young while wearing pinstripes was Roger Clemens in 2001. Not only will Tanaka bring the hardware back to the Bronx – he’ll do it twice.

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3. ERA Under 3.0

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Tanaka had a 2.30 career ERA in Japan. MLB scouts and sabermetricians have often described the NPB as Class-AAAA baseball – more competitive than Triple-A, but not quite to the level of MLB. Despite the fact that Tanaka will see hitting of a slightly higher caliber in the Major Leagues, his ERA over the life of the Yankee deal won’t rise higher than 3.0.

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2. Will Win 20 Games Twice

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Not only does Tanaka have the stuff to win 20 games, but thanks to the Yankees’ very Steinbrenner-esque offseason, he should have a lot of run support too. CC Sabathia won 20 games for the Bombers in 2010, a season in which the team scored 5.30 runs per game.

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1. World Series No. 28

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The Yankees will win the 2014 World Series. Following the 2009 season, the team spent $441 million and got Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. This offseason they have gone even farther, doling out $471 million and getting Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Tanaka. The 2014 season will be a mirror image of 2009. A year removed from missing the playoffs and thanks to major offseason additions to the offense and pitching staff, the Yankees will take home the trophy at season’s end.