Nakamura, Nioka Traded

» 13 November 2008 » In npb »

Update, Nov 13: The Yomiuri Online is reporting that the deal will be officially announced on the 14th. 

As had been rumored, the Nippon Ham Fighters have agreed to send star closer Micheal Nakamura to the Yomiuri Giants for infielder Tomohiro Nioka in a four player trade. The Fighters also acquired reliever Masanori Hayashi and threw outfielder Takahito Kudoh into the deal.

At first glance, I like this deal a lot better for the Giants. They got an All-Star level closer in exchange for Nioka, who was clearly on his way out after his scandalous affair with newscaster Mona Yamamoto earlier in the season. The Giants reached game 7 of the Japan Series without a significant contribution from Nioka, and he was looking like a spare part for next season, scandal or no scandal.

The move improves an already strong Kyojin bullpen. The Giants have already announced their intent to excercise closer Marc Kroon’s option, so Nakamura will most likely move into a setup role.

The Fighters are hoping to add some much-needed offense in Nioka, and retain some bullpen depth with Hayashi, but both guys are coming of injuries and Nippon Ham is taking a chance that they’ll be able to return to form. I’m surprised they couldn’t get more for Nakamura.

In a minor, unrelated move, the Giants sent slick-fielding utility infielder Makoto Kosaka to Rakuten to for cash.

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  1. Patrick
    John Brooks
    11/11/2008 at 5:37 am Permalink

    It begins, its unbelievable really how idiotic some teams are. Nioka for Nakamura? There bullpen is going to be sick with Nakamura setting up Kroon. Nioka’s a great second baseman when healthy, with good pop. Maybe its better than what it is on second thought, but its a high risk giving Nioka’s injuries.

    Now I can’t say about Hayashi and Kudoh as I’ve lost track of NPB this year. Hopefully, I get back in the knowings next year with the help of this site and many others. Ever since Japan Baseball Daily stopped news and many others things in my life I’ve lost track of the game in Japan after February.

    As for Kosaka, he just never was the same after being traded to Yomiuri. His heart never looked like it was in it. If he can even gain half of what he used to be maybe he can be a useful backup infielder or a pinch runner with good speed.

  2. Patrick
    11/11/2008 at 11:27 am Permalink


    Is this for real? Like a done deal? Or more rumors? I can’t believe this. This would be one of the stupidest things EVER if the Fighters front office actually goes ahead with it. I don’t think Hisashi Takeda can really be the closer next year.

    Unless, of course, there IS something wrong with Micheal, but I don’t think so. It bugs me because the Giants get another foreign player who doesn’t count as a foreign player, anyway… and I lose another guy who I’ve actually chatted with on the Fighters. And I even made a cheer board for Kudoh. Sigh. We don’t honestly really need Kudoh that much as we’re kind of overloaded on skinny fast outfielders with little power, but I like him and don’t want him to go, just like how I felt towards Keizo Kawashima.

    I guess it just makes the Fighters even moreso the normal “happy hunting ground for players that other teams don’t want due to… umm… issues”.

  3. Patrick
    11/11/2008 at 2:05 pm Permalink

    The Sanspo article said that the two teams had agreed to the trade. It’s probably pending physicals and stuff. I’m also wondering how this affects Nioka’s free agency status.

  4. Patrick
    14/11/2008 at 6:37 am Permalink

    I understand the Giants wanting to dump Nioka, but this seems like yet another lopsided trade for Yomiuri, though not quite in the same league as how the Giants acquired Kokubo and Kosaka. The Giants bullpen was one of the farthest things from a weakness on that team. As for Kosaka, father time is definitely not on his side, so I’m not sure how useful he is at this point in his career, but off to the Nomura revival factory he goes.

  5. Patrick
    14/11/2008 at 9:10 am Permalink

    Looks like it’s official. I can understand Nippon Ham trading from a strength I still think they could have gotten more in return.