(Reuters) - Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has signed a seven-year, $155 million deal to join the New York Yankees, ESPN reported on Wednesday, making the Japanese ace the fifth highest paid pitcher in all of Major League Baseball.
Tanaka was a perfect 24-0 with the Japanese Series champion Rakuten Golden Eagles last season and regarded as one of the prize catches of the off-season.
He was reportedly pursued by a dozen major league teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
But it was the big-spending Yankees, looking to return to the World Series after missing out on the post-season last year, who got his signature.
The total cost of the deal was a $175 million with the Yankees also paying out a $20 million posting fee to his former-Japanese league club.
The deal reportedly includes an opt-out clause that Tanaka can exercise after the fourth year.
Tanaka, an eye-catching 53-9 over the last three seasons, joins a Yankees starting rotation that includes his compatriot Hiroki Kuroda as well as CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova.
The 25-year-old pitcher played for Japan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as the World Baseball Classic.
The signing is the latest in another Yankees off-season spending spree that has seen the club splurge on free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Julian Linden)