NEW YORK -- He says he won't know for sure that choosing the New York Yankees was the right decision until "the end" but pitcher Masahiro Tanaka seems to be fitting in nicely for the team that bid the highest for the former Japanese star.
The Cubs tried to lure him to Chicago over the winter, but Tanaka chose the Yankees because they gave him the "highest evaluation," he said through an interpreter after beating the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. That "evaluation" could mean the highest contract as Tanaka signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with New York. The Cubs wouldn't go higher than six years and $120 million.
"I did consider all the teams that wanted me," Tanaka said. "I looked at them evenly. I looked at all the teams very seriously."
Tanaka threw eight shutout innings while striking out 10 and giving up just two infield hits against the Cubs, who saw firsthand what could have been if he had chosen them. He was every bit as good as advertised in lowering his ERA to 2.05 with 28 strikeouts in 22 innings.
"He was good," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "That splitty isn't one you want to sit on. As guys were coming in they were saying 'It looks like a fastball.'"
Tanaka worked both sides of the plate and even snuck a few fastballs by Cubs hitters. Mike Olt looked overmatched, striking out three times.
Tanaka was asked if dominating the Cubs confirmed his decision to choose New York over them.
"I don't look at it that way," he said. "It's just one game. I definitely don't look at it that way."
Tanaka didn't want to re-visit his sit down with Theo Epstein and the rest of the Cubs' contingent which visited him in California in January, and it's uncertain if he would have chosen the Cubs had they been the highest bidder.
"I'll know at the end if the right choice was made to come to the Yankees or not," Tanaka said.