Report: Red Sox Among Teams Closely Watching Japanese Phenom Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro TanakaIt’s time to start focusing on a new Japanese pitcher.

We’ve seen many pitchers make the jump from Japan to Major League Baseball in recent years. That includes Yu Darvish, who has evolved into an ace since signing with the Rangers before last season. The next big thing to come from the East could be Masahiro Tanaka.

According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox are among the teams closely watching Tanaka, who is currently playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League. The Rangers, Yankees and Athletics are also reportedly interested in the 24-year-old.

Tanaka is not a completely new name among baseball enthusiasts, but CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reported last week that the right-hander could be made available via the Japanese posting system next winter.

Tanaka is 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA in eight starts with the Golden Eagles this season, and he owns an 82-35 record with a 2.47 ERA in 155 career appearances (153 starts). Knobler reports, however, that whichever major league team signs Tanaka – assuming he arrives in the majors at some point – will be forced to decide whether he’s a starter or a closer.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

Photo via Wikipedia Commons/Masahiro Tanaka

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