The money spent by the New York Yankees this offseason was completely incredulous. A half a billion dollars in free agent spending was not the biggest need for the Yankees, but with a fanbase that only thinks about winning now, it was a must. The key signing of Masahiro Tanaka is the biggest signing that has to pay its dividends.
New York needed pitching, desperately. The rotation is getting older and the team cannot rely on David Phelps, Adam Warren or even the health of Michael Pineda to carry the rotation. Nor could the Yankees rely on the age of Hiroki Kuroda and the velocity of CC Sabathia‘s changeup to return. Tanaka was the best signing and although he is expected to start off as the No. 3 starter in the rotation, he needs to develop into the ace.
The Japanese Pacific League is completely different from the MLB. Between the baseballs and the talent, Tanaka has a lot to learn. However, 24 straight wins and a 1.27 ERA has to carry over immediately for a team that is destined to win the American League East this season. He is going to have to adapt quickly to major league batting.
Winning is the most important thing to the Yankees and to their fanbase. If Tanaka cannot win ball games and help carry the rotation, he is going to be booed night in and night out at Yankee Stadium.
The pressure is going to be immense. New York invested a lot of money into him for him to handle the pressure that comes along with pitching in the Big Apple, and the success he had in Japan has to carry over in order for the Yankees to justify his large contract.