Hanshin Moving on From Mench
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed the Hanshin Tigers this year, but team has already decided not to bring Kevin Mench back next season. Team president Nobuo Minami was quoted in Sports Hochi as saying “he won’t be here next year”. Mench has had a challenging stay in Japan, reportedly dealing with fatique and anxiety issues and ultimately getting just 15 games to prove himself with the Tigers, in which he hit .148.
Sanspo has additional reporting saying that Mench is due to head back to the States in the next few days for the birth of his twins in August (note: Kevin, if you’re reading this, congratulations from NPB Tracker). The article has an unnamed member of the Hanshin front-office saying “if he says ‘I don’t want to come back to Japan’, we won’t bring him back by force”. So there you have it.
With the Tigers sitting in 5th place and this looking like a lost season, the team is preparing for next year. Hanshin has mobilized scout Andy Sheets to begin building a list of acquisition targets, and they’re sending him and an international team representive to New York with the dual purpose of watching Hideki Matsui and checking out the new Yankee Stadium.