Brian Cashman indicated as much in an interview with Ian O’Connor on ESPN’s The Herd.
We view him to be a really, solid consistent number 3 starter. If we do get more than that, all the better. He’s got a great deal of ability. There is definitely some unknown because of the transition. We scouted him extensively. Certainly, we look forward to adding him into the mix with the rest of our rotation. That’s what we look at him as: A solid, potential number 3 starter in the big leagues.
The Yankees signed the 25-year old to a 7-year, $155 million contract two days before his deadline to sign. They also have to pay the Rakutan Golden Eagles $20 million as a posting fee over the next two seasons. The contract also includes language for an opt-out after four seasons.
Tanaka has been as highly touted, if not more so, than his fellow countryman Yu Darvish, who signed with the Rangers for 6 years and $56 million. He put up a 24-0 record last season with the Golden Eagles and had a 1.27 ERA; he is reported to have one of the best split-finger fastballs in the world, and many have expected him to step into the role of Yankees’ ‘ace’ eventually. Right now, should the prognosis of ‘Number 3′ hold up, Tanaka slots behind C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda and ahead of Ivan Nova and a number 5 starter.