Archive > November 2009

Five Players File For Free Agency

» 18 November 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb » 4 Comments

Out of the 87 players eligible to file for free agency this off-season, only five players filed for free agency including Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi declaring as international free agents.

The other three players filing for free agency are thought to make a move within the NPB. The Yakult Swallows remain the team interested in INF Atsushi Fujimoto and the Yokohama BayStars are the front runner for C Tasuku Hashimoto. LHP Shugo Fujii from the Nippon Ham Fighters has also declared free agency and his destination is still up in the air, but a re-connection with the Fighters is unlikely.

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Awards Announced

» 18 November 2009 » In npb » 1 Comment

The 2009 season is in the books, and the MVPs go to Yu Darvish in the Pacific League, with Alex Ramirez receiving the honor for the Central League. Darvish earns the award for the second time in his career and Ramirez obtains the award for the second straight season.

The Rookie of the Year award is received by Tokyo Yomiuri Giants outfielder Testuya Matsumoto, the first time in 51 years that two players from the same team received the RoY in consecutive years (Giants reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi took the prize last year). The Pacific League award goes to reliever Tadashi Settsu of the Softbank Hawks.

The Best Nine Awards have also been announced and the winners are as follows:

Central Pacific
P Dicky Gonzalez Yu Darvish
CA Shinnosuke Abe Hidenori Tanoue
1B Tony Blanco Shinji Takahashi
2B Akihiro Higashide Kensuke Tanaka
3B Michihiro Ogasawara Takeya Nakamura
SS Hayato Sakamoto Hiroyuki Nakajima
OF Seiichi Uchikawa Teppei
OF Norichika Aoki Yoshio Itoi
OF Alex Ramirez Atsunori Inaba
DH Takeshi Yamazaki

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The Sawamura Award and the Best of the Rest

» 17 November 2009 » In npb, pitching » 2 Comments

The 2009 season concluded with Hideaki Wakui of the Seibu Lions being honored with the Sawamura Award, but a number of pitchers had outstanding years and we wanted to take a closer look at them. Sawamura Award candidate are judged on how close they get to the following seven criteria:

  • Game Appearances… 25 or above
  • Complete Games… 10 or above
  • Wins… 15 or above
  • Winning Percentage… .600 or above
  • Innings Pitched… 200 or above
  • Strikeouts… 150 or above
  • ERA… Under 2.50

Obviously the only pitcher surpassing each of the criteria is Wakui with 11 complete games which made him the only true candidate for the award. An unwritten criterion necessary to win the Sawamura Award is strength and the ability to stay healthy. Even though Yu Darvish started out the season with a stellar performance, his injury in the second-half cost him his chance to win his second Sawamura Award.

G CG W Win Pct. Inn. K ERA
Hideaki Wakui 27 11 16 0.727 211.2 199 2.30
Yu Darvish 23 8 15 0.75 182 167 1.73
Toshiya Sugiuchi 26 6 15 0.75 191 204 2.36
Masahiro Tanaka 25 6 15 0.714 189.2 171 2.33
Wei-Yin Chen 24 5 8 0.667 164 146 1.54
Dicky Gonzalez 23 2 15 0.882 162 113 2.11
Kazuki Yoshimi 27 5 16 0.696 189.1 147 2.00

The Best Nine Awards are still up still unannounced, and there are a lot of worthy candidates for the top pitcher in both the Central and Pacific Leagues. Who is most deserving of the award?

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Interview with Hisanori Takahashi

» 17 November 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » 2 Comments

We mentioned on Twitter that Hisanori Takahashi has declared free agency and will try to catch on with an MLB club via twitter. Hochi sports conducted an one-on-one interview with Takahashi after making the decision and here is our English translation of it.

– When did you start considering the Major Leagues?

“The desire to accomplish my dream has gotten stronger since last year. After watching Koji Uehara play baseball overseas, my admiration for Major Leagues increased.”

– Was there a possibility of staying put?

“I received good terms from the Giants. Staying might have been the better decision, but I appreciate the organization understanding my selfish desire to attempt my dream.”

– What is memorable moment with the Giants?

“When we won the ON (Oh-Nagashima) match-up and won the championship in my rookie season at 2000. Throwing a shutout game in that series is unforgettable as well.”

– Which team do you hope to play for?

“A team that needs me. I would be happiest if the team uses me as a starter. I feel like I can best show my strengths when I am starting. I would like to stick with that.”

– Any hope toward your challenge to the Majors?

“If I did not have confidence, I would not be making this decision. It’s my one and only baseball life. I would like to challenge as if I am a rookie.”

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Matsui in Demand

» 16 November 2009 » In international baseball, nichibei, sports business » 5 Comments

Before free agent Hideki Matsui begins receiving calls for his service on the field, he’ll have a different set of suitors to field offers from: companies seeking him for endorsements.

According to reports, since the MVP performance in the World Series he has had eight offers to appear in commercials (three from existing sponsors and five additional prospective sponsors). Matsui’s price tag for each commercial appearance is estimated in the same range as Ichiro Suzuki, and his MVP performance could bring in up $10 million in earnings this off-season.

Media demand has also rocketed for Matsui, as he has received an estimated 100 requests for television and event appearances in his home country. Even though his home for next season has yet to be determined, it’s not an understatement to say his new team (if the Yankees does not re-sign him) will have an opportunity to develop a big presence in the Land of the Rising Sun.

That opportunity sets Matsui apart from the rest of the free agent pool, in some regards. The Japanese-language signage we’ve been seeing in Yankee Stadium during Matsui’s tenure with the Yankees is sure to follow him wherever he goes. Every news program in Japan will show highlights from Matsui’s game, so a well-timed advertisement behind the plate will reach millions of Japanese homes on a nightly basis. With this comes a revenue opportunity that teams won’t get with, say, Jim Thome.

As I was in New York last week the lack of Matsui merchandise in stores was not only obvious, but also well publicized. You can count on the Japanese business community not missing out on this opportunity and making the most out of his MVP performance in number of ways.

Patrick Newman contributed a few thoughts to this post.

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» 15 November 2009 » In npb » 1 Comment



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Hiroshima Cuts Ties with Four

» 15 November 2009 » In Uncategorized » 1 Comment

The Hiroshima Carp are turning over most of their import roster this offseason. On their way out are:

  • Scott Seabol
  • Scott McClain
  • Ben Kozlowski
  • Andy Phillips

Phillips had the best shot at returning, but Hiroshima’s impending acquisition of Justin Huber has ruled it out.

The Carp are working on new contracts for pitchers Colby Lewis and Mike Schultz.

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Four to Audition for Lotte

» 15 November 2009 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Four to Audition for Lotte

The Chiba Lotte Marines are bringing in four foreign players for tryouts from November 16:

  • Bryan Corey (Boston)
  • Bill Murphy (Toronto)
  • Chris Richard (Tampa Bay)
  • Julio Zuleta (Mexican League Reynosa)

Richard is an interesting option, Corey somewhat less so, and I don’t quite see where Richard or Zuleta fit with the recent addition of Kim Tae-gyun. Zuleta also stunk up the Mexican League last season.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-15

» 15 November 2009 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-15

  • Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-08:
    Shinjo returns from the 70's: #
    Twitter Weekly .. #
  • Shimizu Trade Finalized: The previously reported Naoyuki Shimizu deal to Yokohama is now complete. In an obviou.. #
  • Darvish pitched in Japan Series with a broken middle finger on his throwing hand! #
  • What’s Next for Matsui?: Hideki Matsui saw the ball well in this year’s World Series. I don’t.. #
  • Hanshin in Pursuit of Morillo: We’ve posted extensively on Hanshin’s offseason pitching shopping li.. #
  • Hisanori Takahashi to MLB? Gossip rag Gendai says he's signed with an agent: #
  • 2009 Foreign Player Rundown: By my count, there were 78 foreign players (including ikusei players) under contra.. #
  • Matsui Interest From Angels, Red Sox: The Hideki Matsui hot stove is warming up. Let’s see what the Japan.. #
  • Sanspo: Boston looking to bring back Saito: #
  • this is true @keithlaw I believe they're also repping Igarashi. RT @mlbtraderumors Wasserman Media Group Clients #
  • Interest for Igarashi: The market for Ryota Igarashi is showing it’s first signs of life. Sanspo has quot.. #
  • More on Matsui: It looks like the reports of Boston’s interest in Hideki Matsui drew quite a bit of atten.. #
  • 2010 Foreign Player Candidates: There’s always a high turnover among foreign players in Japan. This year .. #
  • Rasner Re-signs with Rakuten: According to a baseball source, Darrell Rasner has agreed to a deal to return to .. #
  • ラズナー楽天と再契約: 関係者によると、ダレル・ラズナーが楽天に復帰する契約に合意したというのが明らかになりました。楽天側は2010年のチームオプションを破棄したものの、新たな一 #
  • Golden Glove Winners: The 2009 Golden Glove Winners have been announced, and Nippon Ham dominated the Pacific L.. #
  • ね。 @daigofujiwara 僕ももちろん文句無いですが、2004年最多安打新記録を樹立した262安打で取れなかったのはどんな基準?と突っ込みたくなります。 #
  • Lotte Signs Kim: Lotte has made the first significant signing of this offseason, picking up 1st baseman Kim Tae.. #
  • Braves Interested in Kawagoe: Daily Sports has a report saying that the Braves have some interest in signing Hi.. #
  • The NPB-KBO Club Championship is on live now: #
  • Kudoh returning to the Seibu Lions for the first time since 1994: #
  • Japan-Korea Club Championship: Here it is, live on

    Watch live video from baseball?야구?野球?Béisb.. #

  • Disastrous 7th inning for Kia #
  • And the Giants scored again while I was typing that. #
  • Abe flies out to finally end it. Seven run 7th. #
  • Yes @Jbroks86 they playing the NPB-KBO game? #
  • Hiroshima After Huber: The Chugoku Shimbun is reporting that the Hiroshima Carp are close to a deal to acquire .. #
  • NPB-KBO Club Championship Notes: If you missed the NPB-KBO Club Championship, you can watched a Korean broadcas.. #
  • hearing that Juan Morillo has signed with a team in Japan. Don't touch that dial… #

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NPB-KBO Club Championship Notes

» 14 November 2009 » In international baseball, kbo, npb » 3 Comments

If you missed the NPB-KBO Club Championship, you can watched a Korean broadcast archived on here:,November-13-2009.

If you don’t see any video, try tweaking the time and date at the end of the url.

In a nutshell, Yomiuri beat Kia 9-4. It was a decent game until the 7th, when Yomiuri put seven runs on the board. Yakyu Baka has a write-up of the game, so I’ll limit my comments to a few observations. And here they are

  • This game failed to sell out Nagasaki’s rather small stadium. I wonder why they played in Nagasaki rather than the beautiful new stadium in Hiroshima?
  • The game felt like a spring training game spiked with a competitiveness, but the Giants did play all their starters. Last year, Seibu gave their foreign players the series off and let a number of their ni-gun kids play.
  • Kia’s starter, Yang Hyeon-Jong, was pretty good. He seemed to work mostly off of his breaking pitches, but seemed to have a respectable fastball, which I think he could have used more. In any event, I hope to see more.
  • Taishi Ohta pinch-hit at the end of the game, but looked completely fooled by You Dong-Hoon, who was otherwise hittable.
  • Wirfin Obispo is more of a “thrower” than a “pitcher”.
  • Tatsunori Hara took receipt of a huge trophy for his team’s victory.
  • Next year, the organizers are looking at bringing back the four-team format, and hosting the series in Taiwan. Good idea, in my opinion. I don’t think continuing to centralize this on Japan is in the best interest of Asian baseball.

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