Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to the media today to discuss their newest addition: Masahiro Tanaka.
Listen to the Brian Cashman press conference here:
They may have just signed Tanaka to the roster but his name is not new to Yankees’ management.
We started evaluating him back in 2007. We’ve been scouting over in japan for quite some time. This year we were at 15 of his games and we sent an MLB scout to evaluate him in the playoffs as well. We made a determined effort to put ourselves in a position to know as much as we possibly could…this has been a long, drawn out process, not just from the financial stand point.
Cashman said that the process of closing this deal was very private and he didn’t know many of the details until recently.
I thought that the negotiations were extremely private. The Yankees history sells itself. I could count on that going into this process. I had no sense until last night that we actually were in the finals to close something out with him…I had no ability to communicate about where this was leading or what my predictions were.
There is a level of concern of Tanaka’s arm. Cashman says that comes with the game.
You always have concerns. I think I can speak for anybody that that is not something you can ignore or deny. But despite that, it’s certainly something that we are willing to take a risk with.
This is the most expensive contract with a Japanese player in the MLB. Cashman said that the posting system affected this deal.
No question that the new posting system affected the price. The new posting system turned the strength of the post that was in the past, it reversed it and gave the player the leverage to producethe contract as they wanted.
There are also some concerns with Japanese pitchers. Cashman recognized the risk of teaching a lot of new techniques and game details.
There are risks with pitchers from Japan. Historically, it was different from team to team, in japan. The work load is different, strike zones are different, line ups are different, so there’s a lot of risk working through those variables, which is why the evaluation took place. At some point you have to make a call and we obviously believe in this player’s talent. I cant dispute that there are differences in the game between here and Japan.
Cashman is confident in Tanaka’s talents and he thinks he will only improve from here.
He’s just gotten better and better and then with the competition, it seemed like the bigger the game, the more he would step up. I think everybody has seen a number of things written about him and one thing that has resonated consistently is the competitive side of this player. He thrives on the biggest stage and that’s one of the reason why he chose us.
He is on the Yankees roster but Cashman has not confirmed how much playing time he will see.
He is a part of the rotation…We will find out [if he has the possibility of being ace]. We had a chance to do a face-to-face with him. I do know that his desire to be successful is real and strong and there’s a lot of inner desire to succeed in this environment in the MLB just as he has in Japan.
The Yankees management team is confident that the team is much better than last year.
We’ve tried to address areas of need. It’s a 25-man roster and there have been a lot of areas that need improvement and I know that ownership has stepped up to get a lot of players to make our fans excitement. 2014 is going to be a lot different than 2013…the American League East is the toughest division in baseball and there are a number of teams who want to take away the (World Series) title from the Red Sox. That doesn’t even include other divisions, there are a lot of great teams in the American League. Hopefully we have pushed ourselves to be included back with the better teams in our league.
The topic of money is always at the forefront and there are some criticisms regarding the amount of money spend on this player.
When you want to acquire some of the best talent in the world, the highest talent costs a lot of money. Obviously you can point to players playing football, soccer transfers, what have you, there’s a lot of success and then there’s some that don’t work out…
Cashman and management are confident that new addition will be very helpful in the success of the Yankees upcoming season.