Contreras, Son Reportedly Looking for Move to Japan

» 21 November 2009 » In Koshien, npb, npb draft »

Here’s one I didn’t think of: Jose Conteras is reportedly looking for a job in Japan.

Sanspo reported a few days ago that Contreras reached out to the Hanshin Tigers, who despite being in need of pitching, aren’t interested in his services. The Hanshin source quoted by Sanspo said that “it seems like he wants to play in Japan. We’ve already decided against it, but it’s not 100%,” later adding, “(Contreras) seems like he would be quite inexpensive, so there will probably be other teams that show interest.”

Sanspo also pointed out that this would be the first time NPB is in the mix for a big-name player since Sammy Sosa tried to get a deal in Japan for the 2006 season.[1]

I didn’t think much of this story at first, but now it makes a little more sense. Today Nikkan Sports published a report saying that Contreras’s son, Kevin, is hoping to take part in an exchange program to Fukuoka’s Yanagawa high school. Kevin, 16, is a catcher at the IMG Baseball Academy in Florida, where he heard about the Koshien Tournament from his Japanese academy-mates. Yanagawa has played in the spring and summer Koshien Tournaments a total of 16 times.

The Contreras family is going to visit Japan next week, to look for Jose’s next employer and visit Kevin’s prospective high school. If Kevin does wind up attending high school in Fukuoka, the geographically close SoftBank Hawks and Hiroshima Carp would appear to be the most logical choices. I saw Contreras once or twice after he was traded to Colorado, and he showed a good fastball and splitter, which makes me think he has a little life left as a reliever. Then again, I saw him pitch against the Giants. Even at 37, he has good enough stuff to succeed in Japan, whether he has the health and composure to is another question. If everything comes together, this has the makings of a great story.

[1] After posting a dreadful season for Baltimore, Sosa offered to play the 2006 season for the Yokohama BayStars for 50m yen ($500k), but was turned away. A Yokohama executive was quoted in the media as saying “just because a player can’t play in America, it doesn’t mean he can play in Japan. He’d leave in two months.”

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  1. Patrick
    21/11/2009 at 11:58 am Permalink

    Veeeeeeeery interesting…

    I hope it works out for Contreras, if only because I would like to see how his MLB performance translates to NPB performance.

  2. Patrick
    21/11/2009 at 2:20 pm Permalink

    It’s read Yanagawa, Even if you’ve never been to Fukuoka, didn’t you watch Koshien, Patrick?

  3. Patrick
    21/11/2009 at 2:37 pm Permalink

    I haven’t been to Fukuoka, and when I watch games online here I usually leave the sound off, as it’s frequently low quality and out of sync. Anyway, duly corrected and I thank you for the feedback.

  4. Patrick
    21/11/2009 at 2:55 pm Permalink

    They might have had a dry spell when you were in Japan.

  5. Patrick
    21/11/2009 at 11:42 pm Permalink

    You might be giving me too much credit. It’s been 6+ years since I left, and my Japanese wasn’t particularly sharp back then.

  6. Patrick
    Fukuoka iFamily Network
    22/11/2009 at 5:08 am Permalink

    That’s good too hear Since I’m Living in Fukuoka now…Yanagawa is about a 45minute (at about 100km) train ride from the city centre, So playing for Softbank hawks would be a better bet for Jose , Yanagawa is also the home town of (cough..cough) Yoko Ono…Also recently That American man from Tennesse Christopher Savoie went to Yanagawa and tried to get his kid’s back from his ex Japanese wife who abducted them from America, But he ended up In that cities Jail, read the full story here: S=11342748&Call=Email&Format=HTML

  7. Patrick
    Tom Dubberke
    28/11/2009 at 1:43 pm Permalink

    Thanks for another juicy rumor, Patrick. I would also be interested to see how Contreras would do in NPB.


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