Archive > 01 August 2009

Trade Deadline Passes

» 01 August 2009 » In nichibei, npb, sports business » 7 Comments

Compared to the many moves and much rumbling near the MLB trade deadline, the deadline in NPB ended quietly. There was a total of one trade during the 2009 season which was Taiyo Fujita being traded from Hanshin to Seibu for Keisuke Mizuta, a minor move where both teams filled supporting roles.

The numbers after the trade…

  • Taiyo Fujita (Seibu Lions) – 2.0 innings, ER, K (two games): 4.50ERA
  • Keisuke Mizuta (Hanshin Tigers)- Strikeout in one-at-bat

As you can see from the numbers both players have made minimal impact with their new teams. Rather than teams looking to add the last piece for a championship run near the deadline in the MLB, it’s more of two teams allowing their player to join a team with more possibilities. More teams look to add a suketto as seven foreign players were added by teams since the 2009 season started. However they tend to give chances to players that have already experienced the NPB culture as they feel comfortable adding an experienced player during mid-season where time for adjustment is limited.

Some players added during in-season…

The number of teams might limit the number of trades in the NPB (12 compared to MLB’s 30), but a culture of trading players are relatively new and there has been limited number of “blockbuster” trades in the league. The one that comes up to mind is a swap between Hayato Terahara for Hitoshi Tamura, a trade between a former first-round draft pick and a home run king.

The trade deadline is a big event for everybody involved in the MLB and headlines evolve daily with rumors and potential deals. It creates stories and news that people talk about around the water coolers and peoples’ interest  increases during the period of time. It should not be a bad thing for the NPB if people start engaging talks about the game and trades becoming more of a common business. However the difference in the culture of the games allows the transactions after the season starts to be limited and with only 12 teams and six of them facing each other about 20 times a season, it’s extremely difficult for teams deal players that might hurt them in the future.

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Aoki Moved to Left Field

» 01 August 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Norichika Aoki is being moved from center to left field due to the poor defense of the team in the last two games. The Tokyo Yakult Swallows have the least errors in NPB, but committed three errors during their last two losses. Manager Takada states, “We have been pretty good defensively, but the defense miscues hurt. So do the misses which will not be recorded on paper.”

Manager Takada quotes regarding Aoki, “It’s not worth commenting. Not hitting the ball well could affect the defense. He usually does not emotionally commit himself to defense, but he needs to do his job. He is a player that is capable of doing it.”  After the game, the decision was made immediately to move Aoki to left from field.

This will be the first time Aoki will start a game in left during the season. In his rookie season, he came in to play the position twice and also played the position in seven of the nine games during the World Baseball Classic. An in-season conversion is rare and manager Takada says, “It might be a good thing for him mentally.”

The anger of the manager reached to a point where he changed the position of the team leader and we shall see if the manager pulling the trigger three games into the second half of the season will have a positive effect on the team. Aoki is hitting .308 (4-13) with HR, 3RBI and 2R in the first three games in the post All Star break. The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are currently in 3rd place trailing the league-leading Tokyo Yomiuri Giants by 4.5 games.

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