Report: Padres doing background work on starters, including Tanaka

The San Diego Padres have been one of baseball's busiest teams this offseason - and they might not be done yet.

San Diego is doing background work on multiple free-agent starters, including former New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, sources told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Tanaka has connections with Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild and right-hander Yu Darvish. Rothschild was Tanaka's pitching coach for several seasons with the Yankees and he's close friends with Darvish.

The Padres' interest in Tanaka might come at a strange time considering they acquired Darvish and fellow starter Blake Snell in separate December trades. However, Mike Clevinger will miss the entire 2021 campaign after having Tommy John surgery and Dinelson Lamet is recovering from a biceps injury that forced him to miss the 2020 postseason.

Tanaka, who has pitched more than 1,000 innings in the majors since 2014 despite some elbow problems, reportedly was considering a return to Japan if he didn't sign with the Yankees.

It appears he will consider other teams, but called his chances of headed back to his homeland as "not zero."

The two-time All-Star has won 78 games and owns a 3.74 ERA in seven MLB seasons.

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