Hanshin’s Shopping List

» 16 October 2009 » In mlb, nichibei, npb »

The news about Hanshin’s list of offseason acquisition targets is flying fast and furious. It kind of reminds me of this old Onion article. Here’s what I’ve seen so far.

Via NPB Free Agency…

  • Shugo Fujii (Nippon Ham) — this probably makes the most sense of any of these acquisitions. Fujii wouldn’t make the Tigers a championship club on his own though
  • Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Lotte) — another rather low risk, medium reward type

Via Trade…

  • GG Sato (Seibu) — coming off a career year
  • Shunsuke Watanabe (Lotte) — can’t see Lotte moving him, but would be interesting to see how he adjusts to the Central League
  • Nagisa Arakaki (SoftBank) — one of my favorite pitchers, but has been hurt for the last two years

From Korea…

  • Brad Thomas (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — former Nippon Ham Fighter
  • Rick Guttoromson (Korea, Kia Tigers) — Sports Hochi reported on him and Thomas
  • Kim Tae-Gyun (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt tipped me off to this info on Kim
  • Lee Bum-Ho (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt also pointed out that if the already last-place Hanwha loses all these guys, they might as well field a him of himself, me and Shinsano

Possible MLB Returnees…

  • Hideki Matsui (NY Yankees) has been speculated over since the summer, seems like Matsui will get chances to stay in MLB
  • Masahide Kobayashi (ex Cleveland Indians) — makes sense, I wonder if they went after him during the season
  • Kenji Johjima (Seattle Mariners) — reports in the Japanese media say that he has an escape clause in his contract allowing him to return to Japan. Cot’s knows nothing about this. Hanshin is said to be prepared to offer 500m yen annually (about $5m), so for this to work Joh would have to take a pay cut, and the Mariners would have to not convince him to stay
  • Akinori Iwamura (Tampa Bay Rays) — saw some speculation about this a week or two ago, Iwamura didn’t say much other than that he would go where he was evaluated the most highly

There are also reports that Hanshin is going to be looking to the US market as usual, but I haven’t seen any legitimate names published yet. Hanshin sent team president Nobuo Minami to the States this season in an effort to learn how to evaluate US-based players. In the process, he had his picture taken with Bobby Cox, and met with the GMs of the Braves, Yankees, Mets, as well as front office personnel from the Red Sox.

What do NPB fans think? Would any of these moves make Hanshin the team to beat next year?

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  1. Patrick
    Kyle Worlitz
    16/10/2009 at 9:32 am Permalink

    It would be kind of cool to see Brad Thomas back in the league.

  2. Patrick
    Tom Dubberke
    16/10/2009 at 10:06 am Permalink

    Any word on the Tigers’ intent to bring back Craig Brazell in 2010? He’s a player with strong pluses (lots of power) and minuses (almost never walks).

  3. Patrick
    16/10/2009 at 10:28 am Permalink

    Yeah, they want to bring Brazell, Scott Achison, and Kai-Wen Cheng back. Achison might try for the Majors though.

  4. Patrick
    16/10/2009 at 6:57 pm Permalink

    I doubt Tigers are going to go for Jojima – quite apart from the fact that he’s likely to be very expensive – Keisuke Kanoh is turning into a brilliant catcher and they will probably want to stick with the latter. Of the MLB players I can only see Matsui as a possible option – his drawing power would be enormous. He is keen to play for Tigers but ONLY if he does not receive any offers from other MLB clubs. On others Lotte’s management managed to trade Kubo for Hashimoto and so it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that they would be that stupid again and trade Watanabe. Guttmorson is unlikely – he’s not done enough to convince Hanshin’s management but both Kim and Lee have been under consideration for a long time. Sato is very likely depending on who they want to trade for him. They have Imaoka to offload and it depends whether other teams want to take a chance on him becoming productive again. For Sato Tigers would have to offer someone very good. Lotte are actually a very good team to target with the actions of the front office formenting a lot of player dissatisfaction so Kobyashi is worth trying for.

  5. Patrick
    16/10/2009 at 7:00 pm Permalink

    One guy I forgot to mention was Lotte catcher Tasuku Hashimoto, who is also an FA. He can hit but has never gotten much of a chance to play. Seems like a good fit for Hanshin.

  6. Patrick
    16/10/2009 at 7:49 pm Permalink

    Hashimoto was under consideration earlier in the season and exploratory talks were held. Kanoh’s performance this year has possibly changed this as I haven’t heard anything recently on Hashimoto.

  7. Patrick
    19/10/2009 at 5:44 pm Permalink

    An interesting update is that Jojima has just declared that he intends to return to Japan next year.


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