Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones doesn’t see anything special with the highly hyped New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka after playing against him for the first time in the Orioles 5-4 win at Yankees Stadium in New York. Jones went 2-5, while striking out twice against Tanaka. The Yankees recently gave Tanaka a huge 6-year, $155 million contract before the start of the season, and they’re obviously counting on him to be the same star that he was in the Japanese Baseball League.
“Why don’t you ask Tanaka about me? I’m the one who’s been over here in the major leagues for a while,” Jones said to Newsday. “Congratulations, he did it over there. Don’t make it like he’s the dirtiest guy in the world. He was 24-0 — in Japan.”
Tanaka gave up a 3-run homer to Orioles 3rd baseman Jonathan Scoop in the 2nd inning. That immediately put the Yankees in a 3-1 hole that they were never able to climb out of. Tanaka was able to come back to shut the Orioles down the rest of the way in striking out 10 batters in working 7 innings, but the damage was already done with the homerun that Schoop hit in the 2nd round.
For a lot of pitchers in the Major Leagues, it must be a little bit unsettling to have an unproven pitcher like Tanaka come into the league and immediately get handed a big $155 million contract without even having proven himself at this level. Tanaka was 24-0 last season in the Japanese league, but there’s a big difference between that league and the Major Leagues. The Yankees are taking a considerable risk in paying Tanaka a large sum of money without him having shown whether he can play at a high level in the Major Leagues.
Jones continued, “Am I [supposed] to go home and say I faced Tanaka tonight? Just go throw a party that I faced Tanaka? It’s another pitcher. Another pitcher in the rotation. Nothing special to me. It’s just another guy that we have to go through to get to where we want to be.”
Jones has played against the best pitchers in MLB, so it’s not surprising that he’s not crowning Tanaka as the best pitcher that ever breathed. Jones wants to see Tanaka prove that he’s a great pitcher before he’s ready to crown him. At the end of the day, the Yankees might have wasted their money in giving Tanaka the $155 million contract.