Archive > 09 November 2008

NPB Bullet Points (2008/11/09)

» 09 November 2008 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 4 Comments

The Japan Series has just ended, but the off-season is already in full swing. Here are some highlights for today.

Japanese Articles:

  • Kenshin Kawakami is having a hard time making up his mind whether he wants to move to MLB or another team in Japan. My money would be on MLB, but it’s worth noting that after becoming a free agent, Hiroki Kuroda signed a 4-year deal with an opt-out clause that allowed him to move to MLB, which he later exercised. 
  • Hiroshima Carp owner Hajime Matsuda has pitcher Ken Takahashi that there will be a place for him with the Carp after he retires. The 39 year-old Takahashi is eligible for free agency and eyeing a move to the majors. He’s coming off a solid year and could be a bullpen lefty for someone.
  • Yakult is looking to bring in Twins AAA reliever Ricky Barrett. Barrett has never made it to the show and is a minor league free agent.
  • More Yakult news: Brazilian instruction draft pick Rafael Fernandez commented on his selection: “I was encouraged to ‘stay in Japan and do my best’. I want to perform well for my friends”. 
  • Mark Kelly earned an invite to Orix’s autumn training camp.
  • Chiba Lotte worked out Marlins AAA infielder Chase Lambin for a spot on next year’s team, and is also bringing in Gary Burnham of Taiwan’s La New Bears for a try out.
  • No rest for the weary: Yu Darvish has already begun training for next year.

English Articles:

  • News from Taiwan: Yokohama is working out China Trust Whales lefty Yu-Chieh Shen. La New also played an exhibition series against the Yomiuri Giants farm team. Game 2 featured the Giants’ shockingly young Taiwanese farmhands.
  • Tommy Lasorda is being awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for his contributions to Japanese baseball.
Question for readers: a lot of my content is sourced from Sanspo, Sponichi, and Nikkan Sports, though I keep an eye on a number of other outlets. Are there any other resources, English or Japanese, that I should have my eye on?

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NPB Bullet Points: Japan Series Edition

» 09 November 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Seibu wins! The Lions overcame two shakey innings from veteran starter Fumiya Nishiguchi take game 7 3-2, and the series 4-3. Nishiguchi struggled this year with injuries and ineffectiveness, and starting him was a risky call, but he at least gave the Lions two innings without letting the game get out of hand. This set up the Lions to use Kazuhisa Ishii, Hideaki Wakui, and Alex Graman for two innings each, which was enough to shut down the Giants the rest of the way.

On the Giants side, Koji Uehara didn’t manage to make a farewell appearance, meaning his Yomiuri career has likely ended with his disappointing game 5 performance.

Three of the four competitors in the upcoming Asia Series will be nicknamed Lions, with only Korea’s Samsung failing to make the cut. There will still be three Lions competing for the Konami Cup though, giving the series an Anglophile feel.

All of the above links are to English content, with the exception of the photos published at Sanspo.

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Saburo Goes With His Gut

» 09 November 2008 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

Update: Please check out the latest on Saburo in this post.

Chiba Lotte outfielder Saburo Ohmura is set to officially announce his intent to pursue a move to MLB on November 10th. The veteran Marine, known as Saburo in Japan, made up his mind after a trip to America, where he had a physical and took in a World Series game. “I choose with my gut,” said Saburo, adding he “didn’t want this dream to end as a dream.”

Saburo is a career .264/.337/.403 hitter in NPB and is a strong fielder, scoring Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2007. He’s coming off a two-year contract that paid him about $700K/season, down from his peak salary of $850K in 2006. has his stats up to 2007, and I dug up a clip of him hitting a home run in 2007.

The Sports Hochi article I linked to above mentions the A’s, Braves, Nationals, and Pirates as teams with with outfield needs and speculates that they might be destinations. Living in the Bay Area however, I’ve seen plenty of A’s baseball and can say firsthand that they have plenty of guys like Saburo and aren’t really in need of another. I don’t really see Saburo hitting enough to compete for a starting job, but should be able to handle all three OF positions well enough to be a useful 4th outfielder. An NL team looking to add OF depth would probably be the best fit.

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