Why Did Tanaka Leave the Yankees?

Why Did Tanaka Leave the Yankees?

This is a question that has been on the minds of many fans since the announcement was made. While there are a number of reasons that could be behind the decision, we may never know the true answer.

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Reasons for leaving

After being with the Yankees for 10 years, Masahiro Tanaka has decided to leave and go to the Toronto Blue Jays. Reasons for his departure could be many, including a new challenge, more money, or a change of scenery. Let’s explore some of the more likely reasons for his departure.

Lack of playing time

When the Yankees made their surprise run to the World Series in 2017, Tanaka was left off the roster for all but one game. In 2018, he was once again relegated to the bullpen for much of the season. It was clear that his days as a starter were numbered, and with free agency looming, Tanaka decided to move on.

Poor performance

One of the main reasons for Tanaka’s struggles has been his declining fastball velocity. From 2014 to 2016, his average fastball velocity decreased from 92.5 mph to 91.4 mph, and it dipped even further to 90.7 mph in 2017.

Frustration with the organization

For the past several seasons, Tanaka has been one of the most reliable players on the Yankees, posting a sub-3.00 ERA in five of his six seasons with the club. However, injuries have kept him from making more than 20 starts in a season since 2014, and he was limited to just seven starts in 2020.

According to sources close to Tanaka, the right-hander grew frustrated with the way the organization handled his injuries. He felt that he was not given enough time to recover from injuries and that the team rushed him back too soon on multiple occasions.

Tanaka also expressed frustration with the team’s decision to move him to the bullpen in 2019. He was annoyed that he was not consulted about the move beforehand and felt that it was an indication that the team had lost faith in him as a starter.

The Yankees made it clear that they wanted Tanaka back for 2021, but ultimately decided to move on when he refused to take a pay cut from his $22 million salary. With Tanaka gone, the Yankees will now have an opening at starting pitcher for the first time in seven years.

Potential destinations

Baseball fans were caught by surprise when star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka announced he would be leaving the New York Yankees. Tanaka has been one of the most successful pitchers in the league, and his departure leaves a big hole in the Yankees’ rotation. So where could Tanaka end up? Let’s take a look at some potential destinations.

Seattle Mariners

One potential destination for Tanaka is the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have been one of the most active teams this offseason, signing Nelson Cruz and trading for Seth Smith. They have also been linked to David Price and Jeff Samardzija in trade rumors. The Mariners are clearly looking to make a push for the playoffs, and Tanaka would be a great addition to their rotation.

The Mariners do have some competition for Tanaka, though. The Yankees are reportedly still interested in re-signing him, and the Cubs and Dodgers are also said to be in the mix. It remains to be seen where Tanaka will end up, but the Mariners appear to be one of the front-runners at this point.

Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels are a Major League Baseball team based in Anaheim, California. The Angels compete in the American League West division. The Angels have played their home games at Angel Stadium of Anaheim since 1966.

Anaheim Stadium was the home of the California Angels from 1966 to 1996, and the Anaheim Angels from 1997 to 2004. The stadium was then renamed after team owner Arte Moreno purchased the team. The Angles won their first and only World Series championship in 2002. They have also won nine AL Pennants, and have made the playoffs eight times since 2002.

The Los Angeles Angels made Tanaka an offer he couldn’t refuse: six years, $155 million dollars. That topped the Yankees’ offer by $20 million dollars, and it’s believed that was a major factor in Tanaka’s decision to sign with the Angels.

Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are a Major League Baseball team based in Arlington, Texas, located in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Rangers franchise began in 1961 as the Washington Senators, an expansion team awarded to Washington, D.C., after the city’s first American League ball club—the second Washington Senators—moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. The new Senators played their home games at Griffith Stadium until 1971, when RFK Stadium was completed. They were replaced that same year by a new franchise, also called the Senators, which later moved to Arlington in 1972 and adopted the name Rangers after a local contest.

Long-term implications

On October 4th, 2019, Masahiro Tanaka officially became a free agent after declining his player option with the New York Yankees. This move surprised many people because Tanaka had just finished one of his best seasons with the Yankees, posting a record of 12-6 with a 3.75 ERA. So, why did Tanaka leave the Yankees?

Yankees’ rotation depth

The New York Yankees have long been known for their deep starting pitching rotation, which has allowed them to be successful even in years when they have had injuries to some of their top starters. However, the depth of their rotation was called into question this off-season when they traded away longtime ace Masahiro Tanaka.

The Yankees’ rotation depth took a hit this off-season when they traded away longtime ace Masahiro Tanaka. The trade left the Yankees without a true number one starter, and with only two starters who have pitched in a major league game.

The Yankees are banking on several young pitchers to step up and fill the void left by Tanaka. They are also hoping that veterans like CC Sabathia and Luis Severino can stay healthy and pitch at a high level. Only time will tell if the Yankees’ starting pitching depth is enough to keep them at the top of the standings.

Tanaka’s value on the open market

Tanaka’s value on the open market will undoubtedly be affected by his hamstring injury and the fear of re-injury. He will still command a large contract, but his days of being an ace are likely behind him. He will likely be a solid #2 or #3 starter for whichever team signs him.

What’s next for Tanaka?


Tanaka has not officially announced his retirement from baseball, but all signs point to him hanging up his cleats for good. He has been dealing with a number of injuries over the past few years, including a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow and a strained hamstring. These injuries have limited him to just 13 starts over the past two seasons combined, and it seems unlikely that he would be able to return to form at this stage in his career.

Even if he is able to make a comeback, it is unlikely that he would be able to recapture the same level of success that he had earlier in his career. Tanaka was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his prime, but those days are now firmly in the rear-view mirror. He will turn 34 years old in November, and it is doubtful that he will be able to consistently compete against hitters who are 10-15 years younger than him.

Retirement seems like the most likely outcome for Tanaka at this point, and it would not be surprising if he makes an announcement in the near future.

Playing in Japan

Tanaka played professionally in Japan for seven years before coming to the United States. He signed with the Yankees in 2014 and had great success in his first four seasons with the team, winning at least 10 games each year and being named an All-Star twice. However, he missed most of the 2019 season due to injury, and after the Yankees acquired several other high-profile pitchers during the off-season, it was clear that Tanaka was no longer a key part of the team’s plans. As a result, he decided to return to Japan and signed a two-year deal with the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

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