Masahiro Tanaka to stay in Japan, return to Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2022

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The Mets will still be in the market for starting pitching when MLB’s lockout ends, but an old familiar New York face won’t be among those available.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles announced Friday that RHP Masahiro Tanaka will return to the team in 2022, and not making a return to Major League Baseball.

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Tanaka signed a two-year deal with Rakuten that included an opt-out after 2021, and while the wording of his return – “we have executed a player contract for 2022 – doesn’t discern whether Tanaka declined his opt-out or did so and simply re-signed, the end result is that he is remaining in Japan.

Now 33, Tanaka, went 4-9 with a 3.01 ERA in 155 2/3 innings pitched in 23 games with the Golden Eagles in 2021. He was their ace before coming to New York, posting a 99-35 record and 2.30 ERA in 175 games from 2007-13, and he of course was his 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA in 174 games over seven seasons in New York.

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