Archive > December 2009

Hanshin Signs Messenger

» 10 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 8 Comments

The Hanshin Tigers have signed Randy Messenger for 2010. The big righty gets a one-year deal worth approximately $600k, and will take over Scott Atchison’s role in the bullpen.

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An Offer for Igarashi

» 09 December 2009 » In mlb, mlb prospects » 3 Comments

Sponichi has a brief report saying that Ryota Igarashi has received his first MLB offer — a one-year deal from an unnamed team. In the words of the source Sponichi cites: “it was a one-year, major league contract. His elbow (which he had surgery on in 2006) is not a problem, and they see him as someone who could perform in a middle relief role.”

The Orioles, Pirates, Giants and Rangers have shown interest in Igarashi, but there’s no indication that one of these teams made the offer.

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Darvish Signs for 2010

» 08 December 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on Darvish Signs for 2010

Yu Darvish has signed his 2010 contract. In 2009, the heralded righty went 15-5 with a 1.73 era over 182 innings, taking home the MVP award at the end of the season. In return, the Nippon Ham corporation is bumping his salary up 60m yen ($678k in the currently weak US currency) to 330m yen ($3.729m).

Darvish bumps Hisashi Iwakuma from the top spot as the highest paid pitcher in the Pacific League, though he’ll still trail Central Leaguers Kyuji Fujikawa and Hitoki Iwase for the overall lead. Darvish also crosses the 300m yen mark at a younger age (age 24 season) than any other player in NPB history, though Ichiro took home over 400m yen at age 25.

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Atchison to Boston

» 08 December 2009 » In mlb » Comments Off on Atchison to Boston

Boston’s signing of Scott Atchison was already all over the baseball blogosphere today, and I don’t really have anything to add to discussion but it does give me an excuse to post this. Enjoy!

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Murton to Hanshin

» 08 December 2009 » In international baseball, nichibei, npb » Comments Off on Murton to Hanshin

The Winter Meetings kicked off without any blockbusters, but one move that will affect the NPB landscape was the Colorado Rockies shipping Matt Murton to the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers have kicked the tires on numerous pitchers, and are close on Randy Messenger, but this is the first position player they’ve landed.

With Hanshin’s recent track record of finding sukketo who fit the puzzle offensively, this will be an addition worth keeping an eye on. This is the Tigers’ first signing since dismissing US scout Tom O’Malley, who was let go earlier this offseason.

On another note, the Tigers are leaning toward bringing back Craig Brazell as well.

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Recent NPB Transactions

» 06 December 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

I haven’t covered in-NPB transactions much since the Shimizu trade, so let’s catch up. Here’s a summary:

  • Yokohama signed catcher Tasuku Hashimoto away from Lotte
  • Yakult signed infielder Atsushi Fujimoto away from Hanshin
  • Lotte brought pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta back from the Royals organization
  • Nippon Ham signed pitcher Masao Kida away from Yakult
  • Lotte signed pitcher Hidetaka Kawagoe, released by Orix
  • Lotte signed pitcher Akichika Yamada and catcher Noaki Matoba, both released by SoftBank
  • Lotte extended a spring training invite to infielder Makoto Imaoka
  • Nippon Ham traded pitchers Yataro SakamotoSuguru Matsuyama and infielder Naoto Inada to Yokohama for pitchers Takeharu Katoh, Takahiro Matsuka and outfielder Yuta Sekiguchi
  • Yomiuri signed Masahide Kobayashi, formerly of the Indians
  • Yomiuri traded pitcher Hiroshi Kisanuki to Orix for pitcher Yasunari Takagi
  • Yomiuri is about to sign no longer shaggy pitcher Shugo Fujii

I think that brings us up to date… did I miss anyone?

Clearly Lotte, Yokohama and Yomiuri have been the most active in the last few weeks. Yokohama is clearly retooling, and I think they’re heading in the right direction. Signing Hashimoto is a solid move.

The deal with the most upside is Orix fleecing Yomiuri for Kisanuki. The Buffaloes basically got a guy who’s proven he can start effectively when healthy for a lefty reliever who has two good seasons to his name, most recently 2007. Yomiuri certainly knows more about Kisanuki’s health than I do, but it looks like a great deal for Orix to me.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-06

» 06 December 2009 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-06

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Hanshin Close on Messenger

» 06 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Hanshin appears to be making progress in their search for pitching.

Daily Sports is reporting that the Hanshin is  sending a representative to the States next week to finalize a deal with big righty Randy Messenger. He will, of course, be billed in the Japanese media as a former teammate of Kenji Johjima’s. But given that Messenger nearly joined the Carp in mid-2009, Joh’s influence in this signing may wind up getting just a tiny bit overstated.

Daily also mentions that the Tigers are still looking at Jason Bulger as well, and if he comes off the Angels’ 40-man roster they could make a play for him.

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Payano Weighing Japan Departure, US Return

» 06 December 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » Comments Off on Payano Weighing Japan Departure, US Return

“I won’t go back to Japan.”

That’s the quote Nikkan Sports lead with in their story on Nelson Payano’s contract situation with Chunichi.

The article suggests that the two sides have been negotiating, but are still a few dollars apart. Chunichi has reportedly offered $200k, a $50k raise from 2009, while Payano is looking for $250k. It doesn’t seem like an insurmountable gap, but Payano seems like he’s already made up his mind to go back to MLB affiliated ball. “I haven’t signed yet, but I feel that I want to play in America next year,” said Payano, later adding “I appreciate being able to play for a year with the Dragons, and the championship battle with the Giants is a good memory.”

According to the article, Payano already has interest from Korea and multiple MLB teams, including the Rockies.

I didn’t see Payano pitch this season, but my data indicates that he’s a primarily a fastball/slider pitcher.

Losing Payano would put Chunichi down a lefty reliever, a situation compounded by the Dragons’ failure to sign sixth-round draft pick Takahiro Suwabe. Look for Chunichi to rely on Domingo Martinez’s ability to locate Dominican talent once again to fill this role.

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Winter Meetings Preview

» 04 December 2009 » In international baseball, mlb, nichibei, sports business » Comments Off on Winter Meetings Preview

The MLB offseason is heating up, and figures to kick into full gear when the Winter Meetings open on Monday. As usual, there will be a number of story lines involving Japanese teams and players this year.

  • Hideki Matsui is the top Japanese name this offseason. His situation will evolve as talks with the Yankees occur and other key veteran sluggers find 2010 employers. Reports last week stated that agent Arn Tellem could call Matsui in anytime during the week, and Matsui has delayed his return to Japan to accommodate. Expect a full contingent of Japanese media keep the rumor mill jam-packed until this guy signs.
  • We could wind up with a better sense on the market for Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi. The market will be stronger for Igarashi, and the righty is already training in Arizona.
  • NPB foreign player rosters are filling up, but we frequently hear about a guy or two moving from MLB or affiliated ball over to Japan during the Winter Meetings.

Our own Ryo Shinkawa will be on the ground at this year’s Winter Meetings.

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