Naoyuki Shimizu Thinking MLB
33-year old right-handed pitcher Naoyuki Shimizu cannot seem to brush off his desire for the challenge of MLB. Even though he’s going into the second year of a two-year contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines, he earned the option of opting out during the regular season.
Shimizu quoted in an interview, “My admiration for the Major Leagues has not changed. If all condition comes to term (I would like to challenge).” He earned international free agency rights in June, during the season. “The situation is completely different from the previous year. When I think about the rest of my playing career, I would like to absorb the different cultures.”
Last off-season other NPB teams showed interest toward the right-handed pitcher if he does opt out couple of the teams might again show interest, but Shimizu stated the only option after free agency will be to the Major Leagues. “If I declare for free agency I will go overseas. I love Lotte and they have served me well. I can guarantee 100 percent that I will not sign with another NPB team.”
In 2009, he appeared in 23 games (22GS) and posted a 4.42ERA. I couldn’t find many clips of him pitching, this one is up-close and you can see his delivery. His pitch chart from his most recent start can be checked here.
Shimizu will not cost a fortune for an MLB team as an international free agent and I can possibly see him latching onto a team as a back-end rotation candidate. We’ll see when he officially announces his intentions.