Archive > 03 November 2009

Shimizu Traded to Yokohama?

» 03 November 2009 » In mlb » 8 Comments

The Chiba Lotte Marines have reportedly agreed to trade Naoyuki Shimizu to the Yokohama BayStars for pitcher Takumi Nasuno and catcher Shinji Ninuma.The trade has not yet been officially announced.

Shimizu is entering the second year of a two-year contract, and has an opt-out clause to pursue an MLB this offseason. He recently suggested that he’s still interested in testing the overseas market, and dismissed any possibility of leaving Lotte to sign with another NPB club. It will obviously remain to be seen how his contract will play out with a trade — does the out clause remain valid after a trade? And if so, will his preference for Lotte lead him to exercise it after being traded?

In any case, this trade looks like a salary dump for Lotte. I’m not high on Shimizu’s MLB credentials (think Kirk Saarloos), but he’s a decent NPB innings eater, and Lotte would not be getting equal value back in Nasuno and Ninuma. Lotte’s baseball club lost 2.8bn yen ($28m) in 2008, and had a stated goal of getting that number down to 1bn yen ($10m). Getting Shimizu’s 280m yen ($2.8m) for 2010 off the books along with Bobby’s salary will go quite a ways in reducing expenses, though the team will likely take a hit at the gates.

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Hanshin to Import Pitchers

» 03 November 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 2 Comments

Sanspo is reporting on Hanshin’s import pitching shopping list, and is naming names. Tigers manager Akinobu Mayumi says that Hanshin is after two middle relievers and one starter, to fill in for the departing Scott Atchison and Jeff Williams.

The names we have are:

  • Adrian Burnside (recently released by Yomiuri)
  • Brad Thomas (two-year Japan veteran, had been in Korea)
  • Jo Jo Reyes (Atlanta Braves)
  • Wil Ledezma (Washington Nationals)
  • Juan Morillo (Minnesota Twins)
  • Bob Keppel (Minnesota Twins)

Burnside didn’t appear at all with Yomiuri’s top team this year, so you’d have to figure he’d be a low-risk, low-investment type of signing. Thomas probably fits into the same category.

Reyes is an interesting name. He’s still pretty young, and I had the impression that he was a decent prospect for the Braves at one point. Morillo, as I recall from his time with the Rockies, is a hard thrower with bad command. I don’t know much about the other guys.

Two guys I’d like to see get a shot in Japan, with Hanshin or elsewhere, are Lenny DiNardo and Bobby Korecky. I couldn’t understand why DiNardo didn’t get more of a look in Oakland, when I saw him I thought he could contribute in the bigs (though I didn’t realize he had such a troubling k/bb rate). And Korecky is a guy who I haven’t seen, but has performed consistently well in the minors but never gotten a real shot to last in MLB.

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Darvish’s Mechanics in Return

» 03 November 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

Yu Darvish returned after a nearly two-month layoff to pitch game two of the Japan Series.  Though still not at 100%, he pitched well enough to win. The data we have shows that he relied more heavily on his curveball than usual, so let’s take a look at what adjustments he made in his delivery.

This is a very high quality video — the best I’ve seen on YouTube.

Now let’s take a look at some footage from earlier in the season, when he was healthy. The following are clips from Darvish’s July 15 start against the Hawks. I chose the July 15 game completely arbitrarily; I would have rather looked at footage from a more recent start but was unable to quickly locate any on YouTube.

As you can see, Darvish was a lot quicker to the plate in the July 15 game, and was landing harder on his front foot. Darvish also didn’t have that pause a the top of his windup, but he did use it later in the season.

Even without the pause, Darvish looked a lot more deliberate to the plate in game two, had a step back with his left foot, and was softer on his follow through than before. It looked to me like he was twisting his torso a bit more in game two as well.

It speaks to Darvish’s talent that he could come back after almost two months out, with altered mechanics, and shut down Japan’s top lineup.

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