When it was the Yankees’ turn, they dispatched Cashman; Manager Joe Girardi; the team president Randy Levine; the assistant general managers Billy Eppler and Jean Afterman; the pitching coach Larry Rothschild; Trey Hillman, a former manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters and now a member of the Yankees’ player-development department; and George Rose, the Yankees’ Japanese liaison and the former interpreter for Hideki Irabu, who pitched for the Yankees in the late 1990s.
During the Beverly Hills meeting, Tanaka told the Yankees that some of the other clubs he had met with said they planned to ease him into their rotations without putting too much pressure on him. That did not sit well with him.
“He didn’t want to be eased into anything,” said one of the Yankee executives in the room at the time. “He said he wanted to be the man.”
The Yankees came away impressed by his confidence. They felt he resembled Matsui, whose quiet but strong personality became an enduring part of Yankee teams in the previous decade.