Masahiro Tanaka signs with Yankees: New York gave him 'highest evaluation'

Koji Watanabe

"Everything will be new and challenging, but I have to rely on the ability that got me this far."

In a press conference at the Rakuten Eagles' stadium, Masahiro Tanaka spoke with reporters on his decision to sign with the Yankees, saying the team gave him the "highest evaluation," as Jim Armstrong of the Associated Press reports.

Tanaka agreed to the club's seven-year, $155 million offer after months of speculation and the courtship of several major league teams. He said he was "relieved" that the negotiations were over, and is looking forward to taking the field as a Yankee.

Through an interpreter, Tanaka expressed a desire to help the Yankees "become World Champions," and that he intended to let his play do most of the talking.

"I don't speak English so I'll just have to win the trust and confidence of the fans with my performance on the field."

Several teams, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and Diamondbacks were rumored to be in the running to land Tanaka, but in the end, New York was able to convince him that they valued him the most. The deal runs through 2020 with Tanaka earning one of the highest average annual salaries in league history. It also includes an opt-out clause after four years with the team, which could lead to another big payday if Tanaka finds success in the majors.

The Yankees have spent nearly half a billion dollars this offseason in response to a disappointing 85-77 finish last season.

"We're going to do what we've got to do to win. We had to make sure we had enough pitching to go together with our new lineup." -- Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner

The Yankees' rotation looks much stronger with Tanaka. Although his projections haven't been drawn up yet, the Yankees appear to have given themselves an opportunity to improve despite losing their best player, Robinson Cano. With the additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Tanaka, the team could push its way back into the postseason after missing the tournament for just the second time since 1994.

More from SB Nation MLB:

• Masahiro Tanaka signs with the YankeesWhat's Plan B?

• Goldman: One man can make a difference ... but will Tanaka?

• Will the Braves be forced to trade their closer?

• Brisbee: The 4 least-beloved figures in baseball

• 2014 MLB salary arbitration tracker

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