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.