Seven File For Free Agency

» 19 November 2008 » In mlb prospects, npb »

NPB’s free agency filing period ended on the 19th (JST) with seven players exercising their rights to become free agents. Unlike MLB, in NPB it’s not a given that players eligible for free agency will actually file. It’s actually the exception rather than the rule. It’s worth exploring why that is, but that’s a post for another day. For now, let’s take a look at the seven guys who filed and where they’ll wind up.

Koji Uehara (P, Yomiuri Giants): Written plenty on Uehara already. I see him going to the Cardinals as a swingman.

Kenshin Kawakami (P, Chunichi Dragons): Written about him too. I think he’ll sign with the Braves and fill a mid-rotation spot. 

Ken Takahashi (P, HIroshima Carp): Veteran lefty wants to try MLB. The Mets seem like a logical fit.

Ryoji Aikawa (C,  Yokohama BayStars): Wants to play in the majors, and has hired Alan Nero as his agent. Has already worked out for a couple of MLB teams. He’ll probably only command a minor league deal, so he’ll probably get a short with someone looking for organizational depth at catcher. Maybe Detroit. 

Daisuki Miura (P, Yokohama BayStars): Decided to test the market. Will discuss a move to the majors if it comes up. Hanshin is making a play for him, and I think that’s where he’ll wind up.

Toshihiro Noguchi (C, Hanshin Tigers): Veteran backup catcher is exploring his options. Hanshin seems resigned to him leaving. I think he’ll wind up with Yokohama to replace Aikawa.

Norihiro Nakamura (3B, Chunichi Dragons): Previously said that he wanted to finish his career with Chunichi, changed his mind when they only offered him a one-year deal and decided to move him off third. Rakuten and Nippon Ham are both interested in his services, but I’ll give Rakuten the edge in signing him.

These players are free to begin negotiating with teams from the 20th.

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  1. Patrick
    Jeff B
    19/11/2008 at 1:59 pm Permalink

    I saw the press conference for T.Ishii last night. He did sign with Hiroshima and will be wearing 25 next season. He looked very happy. Also I think that Scott Seabol was released after the one year contract since he wore 25 last season. Just an assumption.

  2. Patrick
    19/11/2008 at 9:23 pm Permalink

    Nori still seems like a capable 3rd baseman from both anecdotal and stats (led NPB in RF) evidence, but Ochiai wants to play Morino at 3rd, so Rakuten seems like a good fit for him.

  3. Patrick
    19/11/2008 at 9:48 pm Permalink

    Nori always played better than he looked. He always handled those high choppers off the turf really well.

    Seabol is probably gone from Hiroshima.

  4. Patrick
    Jeff B
    20/11/2008 at 8:29 am Permalink

    First baseman Craig Brazell, who belted 27 home runs and was the Pacific League’s player of the month in June for the Japan Series champion Saitama Seibu Lions, was released on Wednesday. VIA JapanBall. If they are going to let him go at first I am guessing that either Hirao or Gotoh will be the starter next year

  5. Patrick
    Jeff B
    20/11/2008 at 8:36 am Permalink

    Matt Kinney (1B Saitama Seibu Lions): Released on Wednesday also.

  6. Patrick
    Jeff B
    20/11/2008 at 8:36 am Permalink

    sorry edit the last one.. Kinney is a pitcher..

  7. Patrick
    20/11/2008 at 9:58 pm Permalink

    Seibu has an abundance of bats, but many of them had career years this season, so you can’t expect them to repeat the same level of performance again next season. Hopefully the Seibu front office is smart enough to realize this. Brazell was an OBP black hole though, so I think they can get a better hitter as 1B/DH.

  8. Patrick
    Jeff B
    21/11/2008 at 9:22 am Permalink


    Looks like that Aikawa will be meeting with Yakult in December for possible spot in the team. He also recently have been meeting with Major League scouts.

  9. Patrick
    21/11/2008 at 11:45 am Permalink

    How many of the foreign players are free agents (or have been released)? I’m just curious if any of them are going to change teams, retire, or come back to play in the minors. I heard Tyrone Woods is an FA; where’s he gonna wind up? And I’ve heard of some of the new foreign players (Kameron Loe, Brian Falkenborg, etc.) being targeted this offseason. Got any other names to add to the list?

  10. Patrick
    21/11/2008 at 1:39 pm Permalink

    Yeah, there are a number of guys. That topic will get it’s own post in a couple of days.

  11. Patrick
    Jeff B
    21/11/2008 at 1:41 pm Permalink

    it is hard to say. They usually are only offered 1 year contacts. I know for sure the following have already been released.

    T.Woods – Chunichi
    J.Zuleta – Lotte
    M. Restorvich – Softbank
    Jose Fernandez – Rakuten
    M.Kinney – Seibu
    C.Brazell – Seibu
    S.Seabol – Hiroshima

    Rios – Yakult (BANNED)
    Adam Riggs – Yakult

    There will be more and I am sure I have missed some. But really there is only a hand full at this point that even have a shot at coming back at all next. Woods will probably move on in all honesty to MLB if possible. Brazell, Restorvich, and Fernandez could end up in teams that need some extra power more than likely places with DHs.


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