Wednesday night may have been Masahiro Tanaka’s final regular-season start as a member of the New York Yankees.
Heading into his final start of the 2020 regular season, Masahiro Tanaka was fully aware that his time with the New York Yankees may soon be concluding. Nonetheless, he’s currently doing his best to focus on the task at hand.
“You are not thinking about it all the time,” Tanaka told the New York Post’s George A. King III. “Just going into today’s game you realize this is the last start of the regular season for me which means the last start of my seven-year contract with the Yankees. I did have that thought going into the game but it wasn’t like I was thinking about it all the time.”
If Wednesday’s start was Tanaka’s final non-playoff action as a Bomber, he certainly didn’t save his best for last. The 31-year-old allowed the Toronto Blue Jays to plate five runs (three earned) in four innings of work.
He is scheduled for at least one postseason start though — Game 2 of the imminent Wild Card series.
That gives Tanaka, who owns a 1.76 ERA in 46 playoff innings, a chance to deliver a much more memorable potential encore.
Whatever happens, Tanaka has given New York plenty of reasons to re-invest in him. In seven years as a Bomber, he’s 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA.
He’s additionally made two MLB All-Star appearances and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in 2016.
Tanaka will turn 32 years old on Nov. 1, so he should have at least a few solid years left in the tank. But the Yankees poured $324 million into Gerrit Cole last offseason, and they may want to go with a cheaper, developmental option from their farm system.
Ideally, the Yankees and Tanaka stay together for at least another season. He deserves a true farewell from a sold-out crowd in the Bronx.