A Flurry of Trades
With the July 31 player aquisition deadline passed, all the trades for this season are in the books. I didn’t cover them closely this season, so here’s a recap, roughly in reverse chronological order:
Masafumi Togano to Rakuten, Hideki Asai to Yomiuri (Sponichi): In the final deal of this year’s trading season the Giants and Eagles swapped righties. I haven’t seen enough of Togano to have an opinion on him, but Asai has gottne a long look at Rakuten and apparently no longer fits into their plans. Verdict: even.
Koji Mise (RHP) to Chunichi, Masaumi Shimizu (C) to SoftBank (Sponichi): SoftBank needed catching depth after Katsuki Yamazaki went down with an injury, and found it in Shimizu. Shimizu has yet to appear in a game for SoftBank as Hidenori Tanoue is doing all the work behind the plate. Mise holds the distinction of being the oldest RoY winner in recent memory (of all time?), bu hadn’t done much lately for the Hawks. He has a 15.00 ERA in six appearances with Chunichi. Verdict: draw.
Yuya Kamada (RHP) to Rakuten, Koki Watanabe (LHP) to Yakult (Sanspo): A swap of two guys with similar career numbers who are about the same age, but throw with different hands. Watanabe has seen action as a LOOGy for Yakult, while Kamada languishes on Rakuten’s farm. Verdict: I’ll give Yakult the edge here.
Tomohito Yoneno (C) to Seibu, Minoru Yamagishi to Yakult (Daily Sports): Another deal necessitated by an injured catcher, this time Seibu’s Ginjiro. Yoneno has so far provided unused catching depth for Seibu has Toru Hosakawa and Tatsuyuki Uemoto carrying the load. Yamagishi hasn’t made an appearance for Yakult’s ichi-gun team. Verdict: a carbon copy of the Mise-Shimizu deal.
Masayuki Hasegawa (RHP) and Go Kida (PH) to Orix, Yuichiro Mukae (OF) to Hiroshima (Daily Sports): I’ve already written about what a good deal this was for Orix. To reiterate: Orix gets a potentially serviceable starter and an established bench bat for an outfielder whom they were never going to use. Verdict: Orix wins by unanimous decision.
Yuji Yoshimi (LHP) to Lotte, cash to Yokohama (Sanspo): When this deal happened, I thought it was an inspired pickup up for the Marines. Yoshimi is once-promising lefty who bounced back from injuries to eat up 88+ average innings last year for Yokohama. That might not sound like much, but a similar performance would have been a big help for Lotte. Verdict: Lotte had the right idea.
Kenji Sato from Lotte to Nippon Ham in an uncompensated (musho) trade (Nikkan Sports): Here’s another inspired pickup. Nippon Ham found a 21 year-old kid who wasn’t getting at-bats with Lotte’s ni-gun team and got him for nothing, and so far he’s hit .344/.469/.442 at Kamagaya. Sure it’s a limited number of at-bats, but Nippon Ham found some upside at a cost of zero. Verdict: small win for Nippon Ham.
Takehito Kanazawa (RHP) to SoftBank, Hisao Arakane (OF), Keisuke Kaneko (IF) to Orix (Nikkan Sports): The story here is Arakane, who is currently sporting an .888 OPS through 159 PA’s with Orix. Nothing in his statistical track record hinted at this kind of ability, so we’ll see if he keeps it up. Kanazawa, who Orix wasn’t using, is getting regular work with SoftBank. Kaneko is with Orix’s farm team. Verdict: Orix wins by split decision.
Teruaki Yoshikawa (RHP) to SoftBank – Shotaro Ide (OF) to Yokohama (Sponichi): Not much to say about this one. Yoshikawa has gotten six innings of work in for the Hawks, Ide is hitting .200 for the BayStars. Verdict: incomplete.
Shintaro Ejiri (RHP) to Yokahama, Yuya Ishii (LHP) to Nippon Ham (Sponichi): I had the impression that Ejiri was pretty good, but he’s been pedestrian by the Bay. Ishii’s only pitched 9.2 innings for Nippon ham, but he has an 8:0 K:BB ratio and is lefthanded. Verdict: my gut still says Yokohama on this one.
Yusuke Kawasaki (LHP) to Hanshin, cash to Lotte (Sanspo): I figured this was a budget reduction move for Lotte, since Kawasaki has had some success in the past. But I guess they knew something I didn’t, because Kawasaki’s has a 5.06 ERA for Hanshin and has been injured since June. Verdict: I’ll call this one in Lotte’s favor, since they wound up getting a different lefty (Yoshimi) who can start. But if Kawasaki returns to his previous form, Hanshin wins.
So quite a bit of activity this season, with every team making at least one trade. None of these deals are going to have any impact on the pennant race in either league, but Orix managed to acquire some interesting options for expendable players.