Cubs land coveted Japanese ace Imanaga, Yankees pass for home run concerns

Shota Imanaga in Team Japan attire. New York Yankees refrain, citing MLB home run concerns. Chicago Cubs secure the coveted Japanese ace

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As anticipated, the New York Yankees missed the opportunity to sign Shota Imanaga, who was previously linked to a move to the Bronx in December. Instead, according to many important outlets, the Japanese pitcher has inked a deal with the Chicago Cubs, marking his entry into Major League Baseball (MLB) after an impressive eight-year stint in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

Shota Imanaga’s skills

Shota Imanaga in Team Japan attire. New York Yankees refrain, citing MLB home run concerns. Chicago Cubs secure the coveted Japanese ace
CBS

Imanaga boasts a noteworthy record, having maintained a 2.96 ERA with a 3.93 K/BB ratio and more than a strikeout per inning during his time in the NPB. Despite his success, concerns linger about his ability to limit home runs in the U.S. major leagues.

Notably, his fastball, known for its “rising” action, and a reliable low-80s slider contribute to his potential as a mid-rotation starter in MLB.

The Chicago Cubs secured an agreement with Imanaga, obliging them to pay a substantial posting fee to his former club, the Yokohama BayStars. The 30-year-old lefty is expected to join the Cubs’ rotation, featuring alongside breakout lefty Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, and Jameson Taillon.

Why Yankees passed on Shota Imanaga

In contrast, the New York Yankees withdrew from the Shota Imanaga sweepstakes, narrowing down their pitching targets during a crucial offseason. With uncertainties surrounding their pitching roster, the Yankees’ decision to pivot away from Imanaga prompts questions about their pursuit of other top-tier pitchers.

The Yankees expressed a lack of interest in Imanaga, viewing him as potentially more inclined towards fly ball pitching—a less desirable trait at the Yankee Stadium. Despite his left-handed advantage, the Yankees seem to be exploring alternative options for their pitching needs.

In the midst of this uncertainty, the Yankees’ offseason moves remain a topic of keen interest among baseball enthusiasts.

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