On The Comeback Trail
Akinori Otsuka is in the news again. He’s planning to work out in front of all 30 MLB teams in Arizona next month. Padres GM Kevin Towers was quoted in Sports Hochi last week as saying he’d like to sign Otsuka if his elbow is okay. Otsuka was one of the best relievers in NPB history and had four solid MLB seasons, so unless his arm is about to fall off I’m guessing he’ll got a shot somewhere. It’s actually a little surprising that no one signed him for last season; he could have been had for a cheap two-year deal where he could have spent the first year rehabbing under team supervision. I guess no one wanted to take that kind of chance on his health. Otsuka (I believe) still has a residence in San Diego, so the Padres would be a logical destination. I threw out the idea a couple of weeks ago that he could sign with Seattle, as he has a good relationship with Don Wakamatsu from their days in Texas.
In other comeback news, Yomiuri Giants castaways Ken Kadokura and Shigeki Noguchi both worked out for a Cubs representative on Dec 23. Sports Hochi thinks that Kadokura has a shot at signing with the Chicago. Last we heard, Kadokura had an offer from SK in the Korean League, but now he’s saying that he wants to play in America. Noguchi, who failed a tryout with Rakuten last month, will retire if he doesn’t get a chance to play with an American organization. So far neither player has heard back from the Cubs.