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Rakuten Eagles sign Masahiro Tanaka to two-year deal

The NPB’s Rakuten Golden Eagles have added some depth with the free agent pitcher.

Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees heads back to the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays during the second inning in Game Three of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 07, 2020 in San Diego, California. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball league have signed Masahiro Tanaka, taking the star pitcher off of the free agency market. Tanaka signed a two-year contract worth $17.2 million, per Kyodo News.

The 32-year-old starting pitcher finished his last season in New York with a record of 3-3 in 10 starts. He also recorded an ERA of 3.56, while only allowing 19 earned runs in 48 innings pitched. Tanaka missed some time last season after being hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton during batting practice.

Tanaka’s best season with the Yankees was in 2014, which was his first season in the majors. The Japanese pitcher posted a record of 13-5 with a spectacular ERA of 2.77. He also produced a WHIP of 1.056 and 9.3 SO9. Ultimately, Tanaka finished his seven-year stint in New York with a 78-46 record, 3.74 ERA, and was named to the All-Star team twice. He also finished fifth in the American League Rookie of Year Award race (2014) and seventh in the American League Cy Young Award race.

Masahiro Tanaka began his career in Japan playing for the Golden Eagles prior to being scouted by the MLB in 2013. He’s played the entirety of his MLB career with the New York Yankees after signing a seven-year, $155 million contract with the team in 2014.