Masahiro Tanaka returning to NPB?

Masahiro Tanaka returning to NPB?
23/10/2020
If he does return to NPB, Tanaka could potentially suit up for Samurai Japan's National/Olympic Team again at next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) are reportedly willing to invest a record US$ 25 million per year to bring right-handed starting pitcher and current free agent Masahiro Tanaka back to Japan. The Eagles drafted Tanaka in 2006 and the hurler only played for them in his previous NPB days.

Tanaka, who will turn 32 on 1 November, holds the NPB for most consecutive wins, at 26. Tanaka, a former Pacific League MVP, led Rakuten to the 2013 Japan Series.

At the end of the 2013 season, Tanaka agreed to a recently concluded seven-year, US$ 155 million contract with the Major League Baseball's New York Yankees.

Tanaka is a six-time NPB All-Star and became an MLB All-Star in his first season in the US. He won 99 games over seven NPB seasons with Rakuten, posting a 2.30 Earned Run Average (ERA). He won 78 games for the Yankees, with a 3.74 ERA.

A 20-year old Tanaka tossed seven shutout innings for Japan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but wasn't given a chance to pitch in the medal round. Japan lost the bronze medal game against the United States.

The following year, Tanaka helped Japan win the 2009 World Baseball Classic and was on the roster that claimed the 2013 WBC bronze medal.

Tanaka will likely receive major offers from various MLB clubs, but If he does return to NPB, Tanaka could potentially suit up for Samurai Japan's National/Olympic Team again at next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics.