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Top free agent chooses Yankees

1 year ago Thursday, January 23, 2014 4:20:33 AM CST January 23, 2014 Thursday, January 23 2014 Jan 23, 2014 in Sports
Source: Associated Press

TOKYO - Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka says he chose to play for the New York Yankees because they appreciated him the most.

Speaking on Thursday in Japan after agreeing a $155 million, seven-year deal with the Yankees, Tanaka said "they gave me the highest evaluation and are a world-famous team."

Tanaka said he was "relieved" the deal was done and looked forward to standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium.

In addition to the personal deal with Tanaka, the Yankees must pay a $20 million fee to his Japanese team, the Rakuten Eagles.

His agreement calls for $22 million in each of the first six seasons and $23 million in 2020, and it allows him to terminate the deal after the 2017 season and become a free agent.

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