The San Diego Padres have been one of the most aggressive teams in the majors this offseason and don't appear to be slowing down.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Padres are "doing background work on multiple free-agent starting pitchers," with former New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka considered an option for the team.
The move would help further strengthen the rotation even after trading for Blake Snell and Yu Darvish earlier this offseason.
The Padres have high expectations in 2021 after going 37-23 last season, although the pitching staff still needs help with Mike Clevinger undergoing Tommy John surgery that will cost him all of 2021. Rosenthal also speculated there could be concerns about the health of Dinelson Lamet, who missed the postseason with biceps tendinitis.
It could leave an opening for a pitcher like Tanaka, who is coming off a solid 2020 campaign with a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts for the Yankees. The 32-year-old added 44 strikeouts with only eight walks in 48 innings, creating the second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.50) of his seven-year MLB career.
The two-time All-Star could also bring valuable postseason experience to the roster with a 3.33 career ERA across eight series.
While the production would be enough for the Padres to have interest, the personal connections could help bring Tanaka aboard.
Rosenthal noted the right-hander is friends with the newly acquired Darvish, while pitching coach Larry Rothschild spent six years alongside Tanaka with the Yankees before he joined San Diego in 2020.
It could be a perfect fit for the Padres as they seek another reliable option on the mound.