NPB Bullet Points: Player Personnel

» 31 August 2010 » In nichibei, npb »

A roundup of player acquisition notes from around the ‘net.

  • Yomiuri is extending the tryout of their mystery player by another week or two.
  • Sponichi reports that SoftBank is going to drop injured ace Kazumi Saito to ikusei status after this season. Saito hasn’t pitched in an ichi-gun game since 2007.
  • It’s no surprise that Koji Uehara wants to continue playing in MLB, but that hasn’t stopped him from appearing in NPB rumors. Hanshin and Yokohama are reportedly interested.
  • Hideki Matsui has ruled out a return to Japan. A quote from Sponichi: “[it’s not an option]. Please think it through. How would I play on artificial turf with my knees? Even if I want to go back I wouldn’t be able to play. Under the circumstances, it’s impossible.”
  • It looks like Orix manager Akinobu Okada is trying to recruit retired Hanshin speedster Norihiro Akahoshi out of retirement. Post-retirement comebacks are rare in Japan, Hanshin would have to release their rights to him, and he’d have to prove that he’s medically fit to play, so there are significant hurdles here.
  • Former Carp ace Colby Lewis did an interview with Chunichi Sports. The whole thing is worth translating, but for now I’ll just do his answer to the inevitable question about Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma: “I think Darvish is a player who should come to the majors as soon as he can. No one knows what he’ll be like or in what role he’ll be used in if he waits until he’s 26 or 27. I think Japan should change the service time requirements of it’s free agency system. I think Iwakuma would also succeed in the majors. If pitchers can show velocity it’s easy to if how they make it in the majors.” (note: this is a translation of a translation)
  • And finally, one in English: Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner has a report on some of the 3A Isotopes players’ brushes with Japan, including former NPB’ers Scott Dohmann and Michael Restovich, and NPB hopefully John Lindsey.

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  1. Patrick
    31/08/2010 at 2:28 pm Permalink

    I don’t know what kind of twist Chunichi Sports put in there, but from what is written, Lewis thinks that playing in the MLB should take the highest priority. Shorter service time? But what kind of compensation for a team losing a player should be there?

    As for posting money, in reality, it’s the money needed to pry a good player out of a team’s control. “Just to negotiate” is a phrase repeated in the US media a lot by people who really don’t understand or have little regard to the NPB. I understand that baseball players are not the smartest people, but Lewis should know better.

  2. Patrick
    31/08/2010 at 9:38 pm Permalink

    Well, on the one hand he talked about how he liked Hiroshima and wanted to stay there longer, but on the other hand he makes the kinds of comments you mentioned. (btw, my translation was a quick hack job this morning; I would like to spend more time on it).

    I think I find this statement the most problematic: メジャーでプレーする能力があってプレーしたい選手は、20歳でも、メジャーでプレーすることが可能であるべきだ (I will translate it some other time).

    Obviously 20 year-olds can move to MLB, just not if they’re under contract with NPB clubs. Kind of an important piece of context.

    What do you make of this?

  3. Patrick
    31/08/2010 at 10:04 pm Permalink

    Yeah, I saw that Chunichi article too. Chunichi Sports is in that kind of mood, isn’t it. Just to be clear, I’ve never had any vesting interest in or problem with Lewis’ decision. I am not going to read too much into what he said or didn’t say.

    As for Nakajima and Aoki, I haven’t followed them that closely. Nor do I have any inside info. I just paste what I found.

    スポーツ報知 – 2008/10/22 8:00




  4. Patrick
    01/09/2010 at 7:55 am Permalink

    Lewis is entitled to his opinions, and by all accounts he seems like a nice guy. I just disagree with the implied sentiment that NPB players should get to go to MLB whenever they want. I think that contracts should be honored. That said, I would love to see the NPB rules revised to allow for flexibility for players, and to give NPB teams a better chance to compete for players.

    The Aoki article is obviously from 2008. I think around the same time, Yakult was talking about a 10-year contract for Aoki, but obviously that never worked out.

  5. Patrick
    John Brooks
    05/09/2010 at 12:57 pm Permalink

    To add to the discussion, I always wondered why NPB didnt have some kind of system of draft compensation for teams who lose players to MLB via free agency. I dont know how well the league would take to the idea to help replace top players who are posted via the posting system, to add a draft compensation. Though wouldnt it be more valuable to lower market teams that arent Yomiuri and Hanshin to be acquire players through the draft instead of signing gaijin who are a lot of times hit and miss. I know the Giants and Tigers can afford the price of high priced foreign players, but even they should like the system if there were somekind of compensation in place when Uehara left. I be interested in what someone thought.

  6. Patrick
    John Brooks
    05/09/2010 at 1:03 pm Permalink

    That said, I agree with Patrick that players should fulfill their draft and contract obligations, but I still figure the free agent system is highly flawed at 9 years. At that time many pitchers are already out of their prime. And I’m not bought on the doom and gloom some subscribe to that if the free agent system was lowered, that players depart to MLB in some kind of mass numbers that would kill NPB. Plus, I think this change also help NPB teams be more competitive, even though arguements would be that the Giants and Tigers abuse the system.

    The major reason I’m convinced of this, is what I mentioned on Michael Westbay’s Japanese Baseball, a long time ago, I think when Tuffy Rhodes returned to the Buffaloes, is from a quote a official from the Chiba Lotte Marines came up, even though I was talking about high school and college players(who people feared would go to MLB following Tazawa), is that many players will elect to stay in NPB, due to a sense of loyality and the familiar culture in Japan.

  7. Patrick
    07/09/2010 at 10:43 am Permalink

    To add to the discussion, I always wondered why NPB didnt have some kind of system of draft compensation for teams who lose players to MLB via free agency.

    A sandwich-round thing wouldn’t work in NPB, because the draft is only 10 rounds and many teams only draft 6-7 players anyway. I think we would see some fur fly if the rules were altered to give NPB teams a second pick in the first round lottery. That might actually be interesting.