Seven File For Free Agency
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.