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Morning Mound Visit: Masahiro Tanaka returns to NPB

The Eagle flies home; No team is touching the luxury tax; Nats sign Alex Avila

American League Division Series Game 4: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Brendan Gawlowski | FanGraphs: Masahiro Tanaka is returning to his old team. No, not the Yankees. Tanaka has signed with the Rakuten Eagles of NPB on a two-year deal worth $8.6 million for each year. Tanaka’s time in MLB was a clear success, and that no team was willing to convince him to stay doesn’t paint a rosy picture of the North American league.

Marc Normandin | Baseball Prospectus $: At present, no team is in position to go over the luxury tax threshold. The penalties for going over it are slight, so it’s clear that teams are using the soft threshold as a hard cap.

Patrick Reddington | Federal Baseball: The Washington Nationals have signed Alex Avila to a one-year deal. Avila slashed .184/.355/.286 in 2020, so his ability to draw walks survived despite a nine-point drop in hard hit rate.