Hanshin Looking to Import More Pitching
Edit: Sanspo adds Jack Taschner to the list here.
The Central League season hasn’t even opened, and already the Hanshin Tigers are worried about their rotation. Staff ace Minoru Iwata has left the team with pain in his throwing elbow, solid righty Yasuyuki Kubo has suffered from gastroenteritis, and new import Casey Fossum is coming off a bad spring training start. Fossum has also been kind of a question mark this spring, reportedly struggling with poor velocity. The Tigers see him as a starter and if he can’t crack the opening day rotation, he’ll start with the farm team, rather than in the top team’s bullpen.
The solution Hanshin is eyeballing is to import another arm. Sports Hochi gives us three names:
- Eric Stults (Dodgers)
- Jo-Jo Reyes (Braves)
- Seth McClung (Marlins)
- Jack Taschner (Pirates)
Lotte was after Stults during the offseason, but he’s in the mix for a starting job with the Dodgers. Hanshin was linked to Reyes earlier in the offseason, but nothing came of it. Reyes is an interesting option given that he’s younger and has more of an injury history than the typical Japan-bound player. Like so many other pitchers that go to Japan, McClung brings a mix of good velocity and middling command to the table. I’m not sure why Taschner is an option if they are looking for a starter.
Hanshin’s foreign player roster is already maxed out with Fossum, Randy Messenger, Matt Murton and Craig Brazell, with Taiwanese right Kei-Wen Cheng waiting in the wings. Brazell’s and Murton’s spots are likely safe, so if a new pitcher is added, he’ll have to compete with Fossum and Messenger for roster time.