Archive > November 2010

I Disagree About a Few Things

» 19 November 2010 » In npb » 6 Comments

The other day, NPB held its awards ceremony and announced the winners of this year’s MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Best Nine awards. Gen over at Yakyu Baka has transcribed all the winners (MVP/RoY, Best Nines), which saves me the trouble of doing it here. I don’t plug Gen often enough, so here’s another link — go and look at his site.

I published my picks about a month ago, and amazingly, the NPB voters mostly agreed with me. But there were a few differences.

Pacific League MVP — my pick: Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Lotte SS), winner: Tsuyoshi Wada (Softbank SP)

Wow. I don’t think I can disagree with this more strongly. NPB MVP voters have an annoying habit of favoring players from the league winner. That, combined with Wada’s one win more than Softbank teammate Toshiya Sugiuchi, was enough to propel him to the award. Nishioka had a historic year in which he drove Lotte’s league-leading offense with 206 hits and 121 runs (17% of Lotte’s total). Penalizing him because his team finished 2.5 games out of first is both archaic and illogical. Then again, maybe the voters were punishing him because he is a bit of a prima donna, or because he’s bolting for MLB.

Pacific Leage RoY — my pick: Keisuke Kattoh (Softbank RP), winner Ryo Sakakibara (Nippon Ham RP)

I didn’t realize Sakakibara was eligible; I guess that’s why I’m not an official voter. Kattoh finished second, no complaints.

Pacific League Best Nine P — my pick Yu Darvish (Nippon Ham), winner Tsuyoshi Wada (Softbank)

Not much to say here — Darvish was superior to Wada in every category except wins. I would have put Sugiuchi and Chihiro Kaneko ahead of Wada as well, so he would have been my fourth choice for this award.

Pacific League Best Nine 2B — my pick Tadahito Iguchi (Lotte), winner Kensuke Tanaka (Nippon Ham)

I was actually kind of on the fence about this one. In the end I took Iguchi’s glove, power and walks over Tanaka’s batting average. The voters didn’t agree though, and Iguchi finished in third. In second was Softbank’s Yuichi Honda who hit .296 and led the PL with 59 steals.  Yasuyuki Kataoka would have been my third choice, but he finished a distant fourth despite better overall numbers than Honda.

Pacific League Best Nine OF — my picks Teppei (Rakuten), Yoshio Itoi (Nippon Ham), winners Takumi Kuriyama (Seibu), T-Okada (Orix)

I picked T-Okada as the DH on my Best Nine, so I can live with him winning as an outfielder. I just don’t see how Kuriyama beats either Teppei or Itoi though, particularly Itoi, who was superior in slugging, on-base percentage, and base stealing.

Pacific League Best Nine DH — my pick Okada, winner Kazuya Fukuura (Lotte)

Fukuura put up a respectable .295/.354/.475 line, but didn’t get enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.

Remarkably, the voters and I only disagreed on one Central League award:

Central League Best Nine SS — my pick Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri), winner Takashi Toritani (Hanshin)

I succumbed to the shiny allure of Sakamoto’s 31 home runs on this one. Toritani had a better batting average and on-base percentage, and made fewer errors.

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Brief Nishioka Update

» 18 November 2010 » In mlb prospects » 4 Comments

Sports Hochi has an update on the Tsuyoshi Nishioka posting from the GM meetings. Here are the key points:

  • The Orioles will bid on Nishioka.
  • The Mariners and Padres are taking a serious look at bidding. Hochi makes it sound like they will both bid.
  • The Giants are not going to bid.
  • The Diamondbacks find the budget required for posting problematic.
  • There are at least some who think Nishioka can stick at shortstop.

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The Third Baseman Market Closes

» 17 November 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 7 Comments

Two weeks ago, when I asked readers at my other job to help me generate a list of new sukketo candidates, I noted the need for two new third baseman in NPB 2011. I specifically had Rakuten and Hiroshima in mind when I wrote that, and both teams added a player to man the hot corner today.

Rakuten opened up third base early in the off season, when they parted ways with veteran Norihiro Nakamura. Nori was part of an anemic Rakuten offense that finished last in runs in 2010. Though his .266/.329/.397 line was an improvement from his dreadful .222 performance in 2009, it was still an obvious position to upgrade. Enter Akinori Iwamura. Rakuten officially announced their signing of Aki on the 17th. Sanspo is calling the deal a two-year, 400m yen ($4.8m) pact, while Sports Hochi says that it includes incentives and an option year that could make it a three-year, 1bn yen ($12m) deal. That’s a bit more than I would have expected Aki to command, but Rakuten has money to spend with Hisashi Iwakuma and Nori coming off the books, and Iwakuma’s posting bounty being added to the income side of the ledger. And obviously Aki doesn’t count as a foreign player, so Rakuten keeps their roster spots open to pursue more bats (Wladimir Balentien? Edit: Nope, he’s joining Yakult).

Meanwhile down in Hiroshima, the Carp are closing in on signing Chad Tracy. The Chugoku Shimbun reported that the Carp were finishing up their inquiry with MLB on Tracy on the 16th, but it seems like this deal will happen. The Carp have relied on foreign players such as Scott Seabol and Scott McClain at third base since losing Takahiro Arai to free agency a few years ago, but I didn’t expect them to go after a guy with Tracy’s level of MLB experience. The Chugoku Shimbun called him the player with the most MLB experience that Hiroshima has ever imported, and I’d have to agree with them on that. Playing Tracy at third and Kenta Kurihara at first should be a big improvement at the plate and in the field over the experiment of Kuri at third and Justin Huber at first last season.

With the departure of Edgar Gonzales, we may see Yomiuri add a utility guy that can handle some third, but aside from that, I think every NPB team has their third baseman for 2011.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-14

» 14 November 2010 » In Uncategorized » 3 Comments

  • best pic of the Japan Series: #
  • Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07: Lotte takes a 2-1 lead: # Agent Don Nomur… #
  • Sanspo puts Anaheim in the mix for Hisanori Takahashi #
  • Also, Sanspo says Tak2 is looking for multi years at $4-6m. NYM offered one year at $1.5m plus bonuses. #
  • You drive a hard bargain, @nymets945 in reply to nymets945 #
  • Nishioka has requested posting; discussion with team to take place the 13th. #
  • Sorry, slight translation miss on that last tweet. Nishioka discussion to take place some time after the 13th. #
  • Chunichi will not post Wei-Yin Chen this year: #
  • Okay Twitterers, got any suggestions on interesting people I should follow? #
  • Thanks for all the Twitter suggestions. I discovered this one today: @mr_t_facts and highly recommend it. #
  • Lim Close to Yakult Return: Sports Hochi had reported that Yakult closer Chang-Yong Lim is close to a deal to re… #
  • A single FF for this FF: @JCoskrey #
  • Sanspo has Kuroda ready to re-sign with LA, for one-year, about 1bn yen ($8m). Hiroshima and Yomiuri showed interest #
  • Screwed up the exchange rate, 1bn yen == $12m. Thanks @DavidYoungTBLA #
  • The Kuroda report of one year/$12m is all over the Japanese media. #
  • Japan-Korea Club Championship #
  • Sanspo: Rakuten has basic agreement with Aki Iwamura turns out I was wrong about his NPB rights belonging to Yakult. #

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The Latest on Nishioka

» 13 November 2010 » In mlb prospects, npb » 5 Comments

The idea that the Chiba Lotte Marines would post Tsuyoshi Nishioka has been a bit of a head scratcher for me. I get why Nishioka would want to be posted, but it makes little sense for the Marines, as he’s coming off a big year, has three years left before free agency, and doesn’t project to command a huge posting bounty. And just as a general observation, postings are talked about a lot more often than they actually happen.

Then I read yesterday in Sanspo that Lotte made a conditional agreement last offseason to allow Nishioka to move to MLB. Sanspo didn’t offer any hints as to what those conditions might be, but it’s pretty likely that they were met, as Lotte won the Japan Series, and Nishioka had the best year of his career by nearly every measure. If Sanspo’s report is accurate, it would explain why the first news reports of the Nishioka posting were seemingly sourced from Lotte’s front office. It would also make a Nishioka posting a lot more likely. Another interesting point is that Nishioka was apparently moved to tears by the fans chanting his name in the 9th inning of Saturday’s Japan-Korea Club Championship.

The Sanspo report says that Lotte and Nishioka plan on coming to a resolution by the 17th (JST), so it won’t be long before we know one way or another.

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Lim Close to Yakult Return

» 12 November 2010 » In npb » 2 Comments

Sports Hochi had reported that Yakult closer Chang-Yong Lim is close to a deal to return to the Yoyogi area of Tokyo. Here’s what his agent had to say: “We’ve arrived at an agreement (on terms). It’s not 100% but we’re 90% there. They’ve rated these last three years very highly.” It’s said to be a three year deal worth a total of 1.2 bn yen (about $15m at the current exchange rate), so Lim will join Kyuji Fujikawa and Hitoki Iwase among Japan’s most highly paid pitchers. This also means that Lim will be off the market, so Yomiuri will need to find a different replacement for Marc Kroon.

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Hanshin Import Pitching: Messenger, Jeng, Fossum

» 09 November 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Alright, here we go.

Hanshin is hanging on to pitcher Randy Messenger. The news that Hanshin wants keep him broke over the weekend, and I heard from a reliable source on Monday that the two sides have agreed to terms for next season. Messenger didn’t light up the Central League in year one, but he’ll remain in the picture for both bullpen and rotation innings in 2011.

In the same Sanspo piece, it was reported that Taiwanese righty Kai-Weng Jeng has agreed to a deal for next season that will pay him 10m yen. Jeng signed out of a Taiwanese college in 2009.

In older news, Hanshin announced a few weeks ago that they will not offer Casey Fossum a contract for 2011. No word yet on Jason Standridge.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07

» 07 November 2010 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-11-07

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Iwakuma Update

» 06 November 2010 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

So I’ve already tweeted, the bidding portion of Hisashi Iwakuma’s posting process has come to a conclusion. All that’s been reported so far is that more than one team submitted a bid, but the rumor is that the Mariners put in $13m.

Rakuten has until the 11th to decide whether or not to accept the bid, but I doubt it will take them that long to announce their decision. My guess is that they had already decided how much they are willing to accept, and will make an announcement within a day or two of the Japan Series ending. Early on in this process Rakuten had suggested they wouldn’t accept a bid that was too low. Nikkan Sports had speculated that Rakuten would want 1.5bn yen, which I mistakenly tweeted as Rakuten hoping for $16-17m. Lazy Twitter reporting at its finest; this was Nikkan Sports’ own speculation, and 1.5bn yen is actually about $18.5m at today’s rate.

I’ve been following Ken Rosenthal’s updates on Iwakuma, and he has the Mariners, Rangers and A’s in on the bidding.Seattle’s involvement has been widely reported, and the Rangers’ bid comes as no surprise to me. Texas employs Pacific scout Jim Colborn, and has been in on most of the big pitchers to come out of Japan, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Junichi Tazawa, and Yusei Kikuchi (though Kikuchi ultimately stayed home). Oakland makes sense as they have Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez coming off the books, and Iwakuma would do well in the Colliseum. And although this isn’t exactly corroborated information, I’ll add that Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura tweeted that he dreamed that the Diamondbacks on November 4th.

For everything else on Iwakuma, I’ll refer back to my FanGraphs post on him from last month.

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Source: Rasner Re-ups With Rakuten

» 05 November 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 5 Comments

According to a reliable baseball source, Darrell Rasner has agreed to terms with the Rakuten Golden Eagles on a contract for next season. My source indicated that it’s a one-year deal with a team option for 2012. I spoke with Rasner’s agent, Matt Sosnick of Sosnick Cobbe Sports, and he was able to confirm the agreement.

Rasner bounced back from a rough debut season to put up 152.2 serviceable innings in 2010. With the impending loss of ace Hisahi Iwakuma, Rakuten will look to Rasner to provide stability as a mid-rotation innings eater.

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