Free Agent Roundup

» 05 January 2009 » In mlb, npb »

It’s the first week of January and none of the major Japanese free agents have found MLB homes yet. Let’s check in on a few of them:

  • The Japanese press picked up on a Boston Globe article suggesting that the Red Sox had offered Takashi Saito a contract shortly after he was non-tendered by LA. Nikkan Sports adds that he got a deluge of almost 10 offers in December, including one from the Cardinals. Nikkan Sports suggests that he’ll be able to beat the $2.5m the Dodgers offered, and will spend the early part of the year narrowing down his options.
  • Outfielder Tatsuya Ozeki is yet another minor league-level guy eyeing a move to the States. Ozeki actually signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee after the 2005 season, but never played in America as the Brewers had used up their allotment of work visa applications. You can read more about Ozeki at the BR Bullpen.
  • But wait, there’s more! Former Chiba Lotte pitcher Ryohei Tanaka is still another minor leaguer trying out for the American minor leagues. Tanaka will be heading to America on the 8th for private instruction from pitching guru Tom House and tryouts. He doesn’t have the same level of experience as Ozeki.
  • Ken Takahashi might be starting to sweat a little bit. He’s quoted in the Chugoku Shimbun as saying, “I can’t see anything ahead.” The article also reports that he spoke to agent Peter Greenberg once at the of 2008, but they didn’t have anything concrete to talk about. Sponichi reminds us that the Mets and Cubs were publicly interested last year, but haven’t yet talked terms with Takahashi.
  • Ryan Glynn to the Yokohama BayStars is a done deal. Glynn signed on for a year at $900k.
  • And finally, the Orix Buffaloes are still looking to add a foreign position player. Said team president Nakamura: “this isn’t a sweet world where we can assume this year will be good because last year was. We still need to rely on foreign players”. Nikkan Sports has Orix looking at Jose Fernandez and Richard Hidalgo. Acquring them both would give Orix four foreign position players (Tuffy Rhodes has played in Japan for so long that he no longer counts as a foreign player), though Greg LaRocca and presumably Hidalgo would be injury risks. 
Strangely absent from media reports is Koji Uehara. I wonder what’s going on with him these days?

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