Hanshin to Look to the Dominican

» 06 August 2009 » In international baseball, npb »

The Hanshin Tigers will be looking to expand their player search to the Dominican Republic, where opponents such as the Chunichi Dragons and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants have had recent success finding sukketo. The Tigers have had trouble with their recent sukketo acquisitions and will revamp their international scouting in hopes of finding the next Tony Blanco (Chunichi) or Wirfin Obispo (Yomiuri).

Adding younger players from the Dominican will be a cost effective strategy in the long-run, as Wirfin Obispo was signed as an ikusei player earning close to the league minimum. Developing ikusei players could allow the Tigers to avoid spending hundreds of thousands to millions to a risky veteran players, only to have them fail to meet expectations. Kevin Mench is a recent example of this.

The Tigers have already researched the strategy of their rival teams and they have been sending scouts to the United States for next season. If they decide to go the Chunichi way of developing players, the Tigers might be sending players to the Domican Winter League. In recent years, the Tigers have been sending their young players to the Hawaii Winter League, but since the league dissolving the Dominican Winter League would make sense as an alternative.

Another strategy for investment is developing a Tigers Academy similar to the one Hiroshima has developed, or  strengthen an existing relationship with by investing in its facilities and operations. The Tigers had attempted to build a path in Dominican Republic with their acquisition of Esteban Yan in the 2006 off-season. The Tigers should be in search of new ways to compete and not fall into the vicious circle that kept them in a ten year drought of lower-division finishes in Central League between 1993 and 2002.

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