The Padres have already overhauled their pitching employees for the reason that 2020 commerce deadline, including Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in a trio of trades. (Clevinger, in fact, is predicted to overlook the majority of 2021 following Tommy John surgical procedure.) Regardless of these acquisitions, the Padres nonetheless at the least open to additional additions and are doing “background work” on a number of candidates, together with righty Masahiro Tanaka, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required).
It’s been comparatively quiet when it comes to Tanaka chatter this winter. There’s been loads of hypothesis a couple of doable reunion with the Yankees, given his dependability and success within the Bronx, however the group’s focus has been squarely on DJ LeMahieu so far. A Tanaka reunion nonetheless appears believable, notably if LeMahieu in the end goes elsewhere. As Rosenthal factors out, the 32-year-old Tanaka is not any stranger to Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who served because the right-hander’s pitching coach with the Yankees from 2014-18. And primarily based on his monitor report, Tanaka must have loads of different suitors. He’s additionally left the door open for a doable return to Japan.
Tanaka began 10 video games for the Yankees in 2020, pitching to a 3.56 ERA and 4.07 SIERA whereas hanging out 22.3 % of the hitters he confronted towards a 4.1 % stroll charge — the latter being the second-best mark of his profession. Whereas Tanaka is probably not the ace that Yankees followers hoped he might develop into when he was initially signed to a seven-year contract, he’s develop into a rock-solid mid-rotation starter who might deepen nearly any employees in baseball. Over the previous three seasons, Tanaka has pitched to a 4.06 ERA and near-identical 4.03 SIERA with a 16.9 Ok-BB%.
In the intervening time, the San Diego rotation figures to be headlined by Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack. Younger lefty Adrian Morejon could possibly be the early favourite for the fifth spot, and uber-prospect MacKenzie Gore looms on the horizon as an anticipated addition in some unspecified time in the future in 2021. Nonetheless, Lamet missed the postseason on account of elbow troubles, and signing Tanaka might assist the Padres to restrict the workloads of not solely Lamet but additionally touted children like Morejon and Gore. It’s anticipated that golf equipment will search for methods to forestall main workload spikes from 2020’s 60-game slate to what’s presently hoped to be a full 162-game set in 2021; signing Tanaka or one other veteran arm would definitely assist a win-now Padres membership work towards that finish.
The bigger query for the Padres could possibly be considered one of spending capability. The Friars are already in line to open the season north of $160MM each in present-day payroll and luxurious tax obligations. Each are franchise information for the San Diego group at a time when most different golf equipment all through the league wish to offset income losses from this previous season. Signing Tanaka would fairly seemingly push the Padres past $170MM.