We have been down this road before with Yu Darvish and his transition to MLB, and we might have a bigger wave coming now that Masahiro Tanaka is going to be signing with the Yankees. There arent many places that are bigger for hobby value than New York, and the visibility will be huge. A bigger risk could mean a larger likelihood he may buckle under the pressure, but for now its a golden opportunity.
Check out some of cards and where they are selling already:
His cards have already started going nuts, many of which were already crazy since the news he was posting. Going to a team that has a global following like the Yankees is HUGE news for the hobby, as 2014 cards have gained a big tent pole to support the products much like we had with Yasiel Puig last year. The tent pole effect can do wonders for a card year, as Darvish did in 2011, and some arent a fan of basing our products around one or two guys. I think it drives people to the shops to buy like nothing else, which ultimately drives a nice market. The problem is that Topps could easily slack off and not offer as much content because of the inevitable lift guys like Harper and Trout have provided in the past. I think that is a MAJOR complaint from what we saw with some products last year.
Although we can expect that his cards will be all over the products to the point of insanity, at least they will be worth more than if he had signed with Arizona or Chicago White Sox.
Things are going to be nice already with a good rookie crop hitting the bigs this year, and if Tanaka can perform up to minimum expectations, the oversaturation should be welcomed.
Im interested to see how this turns out, but right now its a great thing. We can see how well it can turn out with a player like Darvish. On the other hand, we can also see it implode like it has with countless others. At least with Japanese players, there will be value regardless of on field performance.