In seven years in Major League Baseball, Masahiro Tanaka has never had a losing season. Last year, he went .500 for the first time, but his ERA was the lowest since 2016.
Tanaka has never played for any club besides the Yankees but he’s testing free agency in hopes of finding a compatible club. The two-time All-Star is known for being a reliable arm in the rotation as five times in his career he has surpassed 150.0 innings pitched.
The 32 year old is entering the back half of his career but still possesses the stuff to be a successful pitcher in the MLB. The different style of pitcher that he is would be a nightmare for hitters after facing the likes of either Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff.
Tanaka’s best pitch is his slider, which registered a 40% whiff rate and a putout rate of 30% in 2020. In contrast to the typical slider, his contains more of a 12-6 movement that clocks in at around 84 mph. In addition to his slider, he throws a splitter, four seam fastball, sinker and curveball.
Tanaka is one of the best in the business in terms of command, ranking in the top six percent of the MLB in walk percentage at a clip of 4.1% in 2020. And his 2020 command numbers weren’t an outlier either as five of his last six seasons he’s ranked in the top 10% of the league in walk percentage.
Total all of the characteristics that Masahiro Tanaka possesses and I believe he would thrive in the Brewers rotation. Now he may come at a bit of a hefty price as he had a base salary of $23MM last year in New York, but he would almost certainly see less than that in this free agent market and would have success in 2021 in a Brewers uniform.