Archive > 21 November 2010

Condition Oakland

» 21 November 2010 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » 13 Comments

Further Edit: Apparently, the four-year, $30m figure that Sponichi reported is inaccurate.

Update, Sunday Night: It’s being widely reported that Iwakuma will return to Rakuten next season. The Mainichi Shimbun has a piece with quotes attributed to Iwakuma’s agent (Don Nomura) as saying “the two sides won’t sit down at the negotiating table again” and “after our first proposal, we were thinking we had a compromise through negotiation, but the Athletics seemed to think ‘if you can’t take this price, you don’t have to come here’. That wasn’t a condition we could accept.”

Meanwhile, Sponichi is saying that Iwakuma was looking for a deal for four years, $30m, but the A’s were only offering $3.5 – $3.75 annually. Paraphrasing Sponichi, that’s about what Iwakuma has been making in Japan, and he’s used to seeing starting pitchers who move to MLB get a big raise relative to their last season in NPB. Such are the perils of the posting, in my opinion.

I thought Rakuten might try to post him again this offseason, but the rules stipulate that under this scenario, the player can’t be posted again until November 1 of the following year. By then, Iwakuma should have completed enough service time to qualify for free agency.

Sunday Afternoon: Interesting news from my fellow Bay Area-ian, Susan Slusser: negotiations between Oakland and Hisashi Iwakuma are not going well and the two sides are far apart on a deal. Supposedly, the A’s are offering a deal of about fours year, $15m, while Iwakuma’s side is looking for about $15m per year. Barry Zito money, to use a particularly poor comparison. Shinya Tsuruta of Chunichi Sports puts negotiations at three years, $20m, which sounds a lot more reasonable.

The news broke yesterday in Japan, while I was taking a day off from writing. Sponichi had the first coverage of the story that I saw, and called the idea that Iwakuma might remain with Rakuten a “worst case scenario.” Tsuruta also pointed out that Iwakuma will take part in Rakuten’s Fan Appreciation Day on the 23rd, though his participation is qualified with the quote “it’s just as the words say, an event to show appreciation to the fans.” But the idea he could stay in Sendai is picking up steam. Iwakuma was signed for 2011 at 300-400m yen ($3.6-$4.8m), so I assume he would play for Rakuten under the terms of that contract should he and the A’s fail to work out a deal.

What no one seems to be saying is that Iwakuma is leaving a lot of money on the table in pursuing the posting route to the Majors. The posting system, by definition, assigns the player’s negotiating rights to a single team, and a large posting fee acts as a dis-incentive for the team to sign the player to a large contract (or rather, the posting fee is only viable if the player can be signed for a below-market rate). If Iwakuma were to return to Rakuten for 2011, barring injury he would be eligible for international free agency after the season. On the open market, I would expect him to command somewhere between $8m and $12m per season, for about three years. So in the end it will be up to Iwakuma to decide if getting to the Majors one year sooner is worth it.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-21

» 21 November 2010 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-21

  • The Latest on Nishioka: The idea that the Chiba Lotte Marines would post Tsuyoshi Nishioka has been a bit of a h… #

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Foreign Player Hits & Misses: Pacific League

» 21 November 2010 » In npb » 12 Comments

Since we’ve already looked at the Central League side, it’s time to examine the successful and not-so-successful new foreign players in the Pacific League:


Tae-Kyun Kim, infielder, Chiba Lotte Marines

In the first season of his three year contract, the stocky Korean first baseman paid dividends for the eventual champions.  Kim appeared in all but three of his team’s games, hitting .268/.357/.429 with 21 home runs and 92 RBI. While his lack of speed (0 SB, 24 GIDP) and high strikeout total (140) brought down his value, Kim showed some patience at the plate with 74 walks. The World Baseball Classic star hit .345 during that tournament in 2009; he posted an identical batting average in the 2010 Japan Series en route to the championship.

Bill Murphy, pitcher, Chiba Lotte Marines

The left-handed Californian had a pleasantly surprising season in Chiba prefecture. Appearing in 38 games, Murphy was able to win 12 games (coupled with 6 losses) with an ERA of 3.75 while limiting his opponents to a .244 batting average. He whiffed 125 batters in 144 innings of work (7.81 K/9IP ratio).  Murphy did struggle with his command, though, as he led the Pacific League in walks issued (84) and wild pitches (11).

Bobby Keppel, pitcher, Nippon Ham Fighters

Keppel was a reliable starter for a team that just barely missed making the Pacific League’s postseason. He won 12 games and lost 8 with a 3.35 ERA this past season.  In the United States, Keppel had never been a strikeout pitcher and he stayed true to form in Japan. In 158 2/3 innings he K’ed only 85 men, but was able to throw two complete games, including one shutout.


J.D. Durbin, pitcher, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

Durbin’s 2010 season in Japan was split between the Hawks’ ichi-gun and ni-gun teams. After passing a May tryout he was signed, but was ineffective at the top level soon thereafter. He worked 16 innings and gave up 12 runs, posting an unsightly 6.75 ERA and an equally unpleasant 1.62 WHIP. At ni-gun he was better, slimming his ERA to 3.68 while going 5-0 over 49 innings. Unfortunately for Durbin, Hawks management was unwilling to give him a second chance in 2011, and he was cut loose by the organization in September.

Beom-Ho Lee, infielder, Fukouka Softbank Hawks

Lee was signed out of Korea as a third-baseman with a nifty glove and a slugging bat. I was reluctant to include him on this list because I’m not really sure he had a full chance to prove his talents. In 48 games he came to the plate 139 times, hitting .226/.294/.355. The .649 OPS is weak, however he made only 1 error in the field. He might get more playing time in 2011 as Softbank modifies their roster this offseason. Keep in mind that he will still be behind Nobuhiro Matsuda on the Hawks’ depth chart, which could scuttle that plan.

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