2010 Free Agents Etc

Yes, it’s definitely very early to post something like this but this gives people the chance to follow players over the course of the season. It also lets me easily answer some very frequently asked questions.

Note that of the 83 players who qualified for free agency after the 2008 season, only seven actually filed. SEVEN. Most of the guys listed here won’t file, but I’ve included the ones that I think are most likely to.

International Free Agents

There are no stars in this group but a few useful players:

Ryota Igarashi (RHP, Tokyo Yakult Swallows): Igarashi declined to file for domestic free agency last offseason, with an eye toward a future move to MLB. 

Saburo (OF, Chiba Lotte Marines): Saburo was going to look for an MLB contract until he remembered he was having a kid in March and decided to stay home. He resigned on a one-year deal and could make another attempt to make the leap after this season. 

Hisanori Takahashi (LHP, Yomiuri Giants): Like Igarashi, Takahashi turned down a chance to move to another NPB team in favor of giving himself the option of moving MLB after 2009. 

Masafumi Hirai (RHP, Chunichi Dragons): Hirai had a run of several good seasons for Chunichi before regressing last year. He didn’t file for free agency after last season because of his poor performance.

Shinobu Fukuhara (RHP, Hanshin Tigers): Fukuhara is a talented pitcher who’s put up good numbers when healthy. 

Yoshinori Tateyama (RHP, Nippon Ham Fighters): Tateyama is a career Fighter and has been a pretty good reliever for them.

Tomochika Tsuboi (OF, Nippon Ham Fighters): I think Tsuboi would have been a useful MLB’er at one point, but he’s clearly on the downside of his career and the window of opportunity is probably closed.

Colby Lewis (RHP, Hiroshima Carp): The Carp wisely excercised Lewis’s option year after the 2008 season.

Tasuku Hashimoto (C, Chiba Lotte Marines): Hashimoto qualified for domestic free agency last year, and Hanshin was rumored to be interested, but he decided to stick around for Bobby V’s last year with the Marines.

Domestic Free Agents

Shinnosuke Abe (C, Yomiuri Giants): Abe met the service time requirements for domestic free agency within the first week of the season. 

Atsushi Fujimoto (IF, Hanshin Tigers): The free agency compensation rules may discourage other teams from signing the scrappy utility infielder, whi

Norihiro Akahoshi (OF, Hanshin Tigers): It seems like just yesterday that Akahoshi took over for Tsuyoshi Shinjo and won the Rookie of the Year award.

Masayuki Hasegawa (P, Hiroshima Carp): I’ve always thought Hasegawa has a lot of talent but he hasn’t been able to maintain success over a number of years.

Shugo Fujii (LHP, Nippon Ham Fighters): Shaggy lefty will qualify for free agency for the first time in his career. 

Osamu Hamanaka (OF/DH, Orix Buffaloes): Oft-injured slugger may draw some interest as a bench bat.

Akihito Fujii (C, Rakuten Eagles): All-glove, no-bat catcher reaches free agency at age 32.

Posting Candidates

I don’t expect any significant players to be posted if the economy continues to slump, but a few players ranging from fringy to useful could be exchanged.

Tsuyoshi Wada (LHP, SoftBank Hawks): Wada had asked to be posted but wanted to help SoftBank return to competitiveness after 2008′s last place finish. He’s slight of build and might profile better as an MLB reliever.

Nagisa Arakaki (RHP, SoftBank Hawks): I’ve always thought Arakaki could thrive in MLB, but he developed a bad case of wildness last year. He’s buried in the SoftBank rotation that includes Wada, Toshiya Sugiuchi, Shota Ohba and Kenji Ohtonari. Has requested posting in the past; if SoftBank can get a few bucks for him without sacrificing competitiveness maybe they’ll take him up on it.

Koji Mitsui (LHP, Saitama Seibu Lions): Seibu attempted to post Mitsui twice last offseason, but he didn’t draw any takers either time. If he has a decent season and Seibu feels like they can live without him, he may get another look.