UNDATED (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka is leaving the New York Yankees after seven seasons and returning to Japan to pitch for his former team.
Tanaka has signed a two-year contract with the Rakuten Eagles. The club did not provide financial details but local media reports say it is worth almost $9 million annually.
The 32-year-old Tanaka was a two-time All-Star with the Yankees and became a free agent after last season.
The Yankees recently added two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (KLOO’-bur) and traded for Pittsburgh pitcher Jameson Taillon (TY’-ahn). New York appeared to have no room for Tanaka in its 2021 rotation and didn’t appear to be trying to re-sign him.
Tanaka went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts last year during the pandemic-shortened season.
The right-hander pitched for Rakuten from 2007-13, going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his final season and leading the Eagles to the Japan Series title. He then signed a $155 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees ahead of the 2014 season and quickly became a steadying, consistent presence in their rotation.
Tanaka went 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA and 991 strikeouts in 1,054 1/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2014 and 2019 despite pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
In other MLB news:
— Former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has reached a lawsuit settlement to reimburse local government $4.2 million for the cost of building Marlins Park, which opened in 2012. The payment stems from the $1.2 billion sale of team in 2017 by Loria to Derek Jeter and his ownership group. In 2009, local government agreed to help pay for the ballpark in exchange for Loria’s pledge to share profits if he later sold the team. Following the sale, Loria claimed a loss on the deal due to taxes, which the county described as “fuzzy math.” Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 and became wildly unpopular because of his frugal ownership and perennially losing teams. Last year, in Jeter’s third season as CEO, the Marlins reached the playoffs for the first time since 2003.