Feb. 11 - The New York Yankees welcome Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million deal. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has signed a seven-year, $155 million deal to join the New York Yankees, making the Japanese pitcher the fifth highest paid pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. "About the rivalry, just by watching over the television of the Yankees, Red Sox game, you can see how intense the games are. And I'm very much looking forward to playing in that environment," said Tanaka during a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Tanaka, who Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said had been on the team's radar for eight years, was a perfect 24-0 with the Japanese Series champion Rakuten Golden Eagles last season and regarded as one of the prize catches of the off-season. He was reportedly pursued by a dozen major league teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. But it was the big-spending Yankees, looking to return to the World Series after missing out on the post-season last year, who got his signature. "He was the player that we coveted. And I am thankful as the manager that Hal (principal owner, Hal Steinbrenner) and his family opened their pocket books for us to sign Masahiro and add a very important piece of the puzzle to us getting back to where we want to be - the World Series," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. A two-time winner of the prestigious Sawamura Award as Nippon Professional Baseball's best pitcher, Tanaka went 99-35 with 1,238 strikeouts in 175 career games over seven seasons with the Golden Eagles. His resume also includes 53 complete games and 18 shutouts.