Sep 11

Reports Say Japanese Phenom Masahiro Tanaka Will Post For MLB After Season

masahiro tanaka

Brett Bull of the New York Times reports that 24-year old Japanese pitching phenom Masahiro Tanaka, who improved to 20-0 on the season after a 3-2 complete game victory last night, will request to be posted for Major League Baseball at the end of this season.

News media outlets in Japan are suggesting that Tanaka will request the Eagles put him up for auction via the posting system later this year. Such a move will make him the most sought-after Japanese export since Yu Darvish, one of baseball’s best pitchers, and a member of the Texas Rangers for the last two seasons.

With last night’s victory, Tanaka now has 24 consecutive wins, a streak that matches the major league mark in the United States set by the New York Giants’ Carl Hubbell in 1936-37.

Interestingly enough, his latest win came thanks to a tie-breaking homer from former Mets Kazuo Matsui. What were the betting odds on that happening? After recording the final out on a called third strike, he emphatically pumped his fist toward third base as the home crowd of 22,316 roared.

“It was a true team effort,” Tanaka said. “In the future, I’ll do my best to continue.”

The 6-foot-2 right-hander has an arsenal that includes a fastball that touches 95 mph, a sharp-breaking slider and a split-finger fastball. In his 24 starts this season, he has 1.24 ERA while striking out 155 batters over 181 innings. It’s the third straight season he’s has an ERA under 2.00, and earlier this season he had a streak of 42 scoreless innings.

What’s amazing here is that he’s only 24 and getting better. Earlier this week, Ben Badler of Baseball America tweeted the following:

If his team does post him this Fall or Winter, expect some high bids from teams like the Dodgers, D’Backs, Rangers, Mariners, Yankees and Braves. All six teams were on hand to see him win his 20th game.

“I’ve always liked his slider, but his split-finger has really come on in the last couple of seasons,” said one MLB scout. “He definitely has enough velocity to play at the major league level, and the other two pitches would compete for sure.”

I know I’m just dreaming, but I miss the days when the Mets wouldn’t be discounted from any serious pursuit of players like Tanaka or Cuban sensation Jose Abreu.

Aug 30

Mets Wrap: Dillon Gee Continues Hot Pitching

The projected leader in victories for the New York Mets was, of course, Matt Harvey, with the second choice Jon Niese. Dillon Gee might have been the third choice at best.

After Harvey cooled, Gee has easily been the Mets’ most consistent pitcher as he picked up a team high 10th victory tonight against Washington in a 3-2 win.

GEE: Stuffs Nationals. (AP)

GEE: Stuffs Nationals. (AP)

Gee continued his impressive run by giving up two runs on 7.2 innings, and received support in the form of a two-run homer from Ike Davis.

In 17 starts since May 30, Gee is ranked fifth in the majors with a 2.49 ERA, trailing Jose Fernandez (1.52), Clayton Kershaw (1.75), Bartolo Colon, (2.39) and Yu Darvish (2.40).

Gee’s reputation has been one of dependability and consistency, and in the absence of Harvey’s early-season domination because of injury and Niese’s erratic season in part from a shoulder injury, Gee is assumed the role as Mets’ ace.

Who would have guessed?

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Dec 22

Dealing Niese makes no sense.

Pitching is the most valuable commodity in the sport, with a premium on left-handed starters.

In Jonathan Niese, despite last year’s injury, the Mets have a young, inexpensive lefty in their control with some degree of success and loads of potential. For a rebuilding team such as the Mets, Niese is just the type of pitching prospect they should be looking to acquire.

So, why am I hearing all this noise about the Mets trying to trade him? It just makes absolutely no sense unless they are receiving quality pitching and more in a package, which they are not.

Certainly, Colorado outfielder Seth Smith doesn’t fit that description.

I understand the Mets are in a rebuilding mode and have tried to be patient in that regard. I also understand the winter is ripe for rumors, most of them unsubstantiated. But, if the Niese talk is even remotely close to being true, that would border on the absurd.

Also crazy were reports the Mets were discussing lefty Gio Gonzalez and considering posting a bid for Yu Darvish.

Gonzalez goes beyond wishful thinking. The only way a team would surrender what it takes to get G0nzalez is if they could sign him to a long-term extension and we know the Mets don’t have that ability.

As for Darvish, the Rangers spent $50 million just for the rights to negotiating with him. No way the Mets would have even thought of something so ridiculous. For a team with little success in the Japanese market and in a cost-cutting frame of mind, and with the limited success of Japanese pitchers in the major leagues, that would have been crazy.