Three reasons why we'll all miss Masahiro Tanaka

Say it isn't so.

Photo credit: DSK


While the signings of both Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon were big clues, Masahiro Tanaka officially announced Thursday morning that he'll be returning to his native Japan to play for the Rakuten Eagles -- where he played prior to his rookie season with the Yankees in 2014. 


Of course, Masa was all class in his announcement.  And the front office at the alma mater he'll be returning to couldn't contain itself (understandably). 


In his honor, here's a roundup of just a few reasons why we'll miss our Masa: 


Playoff Tanaka
Every Yankees fan who has followed the Bombers in recent memory has heard a discussion about Tanaka's postseason performance.  In seven seasons in the Bronx, Tanaka pitched in five postseasons.  While one of the five was albeit brief (the 2015 AL Wild Card game in which Tanaka took the L), his postseason ERA comes in at 3.33, he logged 54.0IP and recorded 44 strikeouts.  Stats are important, but Tanaka was always a managerial favorite for consistency during the postseason -- he looked unflappable on the mound in big spots.  And his experience was nothing to sniff at. 


Tough Tanaka
While Tanaka found himself on the Injured List a few times over the course of his career, his injuries very often didn't come within the notable #NextManUp periods of both 2019 and 2020.  And when he was injured, his main focus was getting back to work, as soon as possible, even when he was quite literally hit in the head by a ball during 2020 "summer camp."


Happy Tanaka
Who won't miss this smile? A literal ray of sunshine.  

Photo credit: The New York Times

Best of luck to you, Masa!  If you think I won't be hugging my Yankee Stadium giveaway Tanaka bobblehead while I cry myself to sleep tonight, you'd be wrong. 


Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson

 

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