Archive > 11 January 2009

Fukudome’s Translator

» 11 January 2009 » In mlb, npb » 3 Comments

While I’ve got the Cubs fans here… anyone remember when the North Siders fired Kosuke Fukudome’s translator last year?

Ryuji Araki has found a job doing translation and pr for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Previous translator Ken Iwamoto, who had worked for Trey Hillman, is moving into team director position and evaluating foreign player acquisitions. I’ve read a couple of interviews with Iwamoto and he seems like an interesting guy.

Reading that first article may shed a little light on why the Cubs are making a little more of an effort to acquire Japanese players this offseason. Another thing they could try is hiring Shigetoshi Hasegawa as bullpen coach or something. He definitely speaks English and Japanese fluently.

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Yet Another Minor Leaguer to Attempt a Move to MLB

» 11 January 2009 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

Former SoftBank Hawks pitcher Michinao Yamamura is the latest released NPB minor leaguer to announce he’s taking a shot at signing on with an American organization. He’ll be flying to Arizona on the 25th to spend 4 days playing winter league games and trying out. “My agent is talking to a number of teams about a minor league contract. Ever since I threw in international games in college, going overseas has been a dream,” said the righthander. Yamamura, 30, has made 25 appearances at the top level in Japan, going 2-2 with a 3.58 era in 27 2/3 innings.

I can’t remember ever hearing about this many released  minor leaguers attempting to move to MLB organizations in a single offseason. Perhaps I’m paying more attention this year.

So far, I’ve come across:

All of these players have been released by their NPB organizations. With the exception of Kadokura, Noguchi, and Maekawa, none of them spent that much time at the top level in Japan. Even if they are signed, most of these guys are more likely to be organizational players rather than actual MLB prospects, but it’s still an interesting trend.

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