TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees captain Derek Jeter says Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka provides a huge boost to New York’s rotation.
After going 24-0 in Japan’s Pacific League last season, Tanaka agreed this week to a $155 million, seven-year contract with New York.
“The game is pitching,” Jeter said Friday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “If you have great pitching, you always have an opportunity to win. From everything I’ve heard, he’s going to be quite an addition to our team.”
Tanaka was 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA in seven seasons with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, striking out 1,238 in 1,315 innings. He joins a rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.
Following just the second season in 19 years that didn’t include a playoff appearance, the Yankees also agreed to deals during the offseason with catcher Brian McCann ($85 million for five years) and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury ($153 million for seven) and Carlos Beltran ($45 million for three).
“Our team has been known to make financial commitments to a lot of people throughout the course of the year,” Jeter said. “Any time you have ownership that’s willing to spend money and trying to do whatever they can to make the team better, it feels good for us as players.”
The 39-year-old Jeter finished his first week of on-field work, which included hitting off a tee in a batting cage and fielding grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt. He said he feels good.
After breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs, Jeter limited to 17 games last year when he was slowed by injuries to his right quadriceps and calf. He hit .190 (12 for 63) with one homer and seven RBIs.