Tanaka returns to original club in Japan

January 28th, 2021

After seven seasons in the Bronx, Masahiro Tanaka has decided to return home to Japan.

In a tweet posted Thursday, the Rakuten Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization announced that they had reached an agreement with the 32-year-old right-hander.

Tanaka confirmed the deal with a Twitter post of his own, and he thanked Yankees fans for their support during his time in New York.

"I wanted to make sure and touch base with you, and thank you for all the love and support you have given me for the past 7 seasons," said Tanaka. "I feel extremely fortunate having the opportunity to take the field as a member of the New York Yankees, and play in front of all you passionate fans. It has been an honor and a privilege! Thank you so much!!"

Tanaka spent seven seasons with the Rakuten Eagles, going 99-35 with a 2.29 ERA before signing a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees in January 2014.

Tanaka won at least 11 games in each of his first six seasons with New York, and he was 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA in 174 overall career appearances (173 starts) with the Yankees. He also went 5-4 with a 3.33 ERA in 10 postseason starts.

Tanaka's potential return to the Bronx had become increasingly unlikely after the Yanks signed Corey Kluber and acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pirates, and there had been reports in recent days by Sankei Sports in Tokyo that Tanaka could soon sign with his former Japanese team.