The New York Yankees have been home to several baseball superstars in their history of existence. Many high-profile players rose to fame in iconic pinstripes over the past decades. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter to Aaron Judge, the list is endless. Besides homegrown players, several international players also gained recognition in the Bronx.

One of the many successful pitchers in the New York Yankees’ history was Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, a fan-favorite during his tenure with the Yanks, played a crucial role in the team’s pitching rotation and made significant contributions in various postseason runs. Meanwhile, Tanaka’s recent picture gave birth to wild speculations across the internet.


Masahiro Tanaka Gearing Up For Comeback In MLB?

Masahiro Tanaka
Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In a surprising and intriguing turn of events, New York Yankees fans are abuzz with speculation and comeback rumors as former pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was spotted at a Brooklyn Nets game. The sighting of Tanaka, who spent seven seasons with the Yanks before returning to Japan to play for the Rakuten Eagles, has ignited a wave of excitement and curiosity among fans, prompting speculation about a possible return to the Bronx. Tanaka was captured attending a basketball game with his wife. Immediately after the pictures went viral on the internet, fans speculated an imminent MLB return. Many believe that the pitcher’s return to the USA could be a promising sign for the future. And perhaps Tanaka may consider returning to MLB.

Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka is currently a free agent after completing his contract with the Rakuten Eagles. The timing of his free agency aligns with the MLB offseason, leading fans to wonder if he is exploring opportunities for a return to the majors. Tanaka spent a significant portion of his career with the NYY, building strong relationships with teammates and establishing himself as a reliable member of the pitching staff. The familiarity and positive history with the organization make a potential reunion plausible. However, an MLB return seems unlikely for now. Tanaka is 35 and underwent a right elbow cleanup surgery in 2023. The recovery timeline is set to four months, which schedules his return to February. While Tanaka had a successful tenure in MLB, an imminent return seems highly unlikely for now.

Yankees In Mix To Sign Josh Hader This Off-Season


In the aftermath of Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s sweepstakes fallout, the New York Yankees have shortlisted fallback options. While a reunion with Jordan Montgomery remains a top priority, the Bombers are also floated as a top landing spot for relief pitcher Josh Hader. However, the only problem is Hader is seeking a $100+ million contract to match Edwin Diaz’s five-year, $102 million deal with Mets.

According to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, the Yankees, LA Dodgers, and Rangers remain top suitors. Moreover, as far as the Bronx Bombers are concerned, they will prioritize signing Jordan Montgomery first. If Montgomery signs elsewhere, the team will actively pursue Josh Hader. They have enough financial power to make a strong push for the most sought-after relief pitcher of the off-season.