ChuSpo: Chen to MLB for 2012

» 25 December 2010 » In mlb prospects, npb »

On Christmas Eve (in my time zone, anyway),  Chunichi Sports published the latest on pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, who has been vocal about his desire to move to MLB. Since the report is brief, I’ve translated it in its entirety:

Chen to the Majors Next Offseason

Regarding pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (age 25), who is looking to move to the big leagues, we learned on the 24th that the Chunichi ball club intends to allow him to move to America as a free agent. An official contract is expected in January, as the finer points such as salary are to be worked out. Although it’s assured that he’ll remain next season, it looks like Chunichi will lose their rights to him at the end of next season.


大リーグ移籍を視野に入れるチェン・ウェイン投手(25)に対して、中日球団は来オフに自由契約による米移籍を容認する方向であることが24日、 分かった。年俸など細部については今後詰められ、来年1月に正式契約の見込み。来季残留は確保されたものの、来季終了後にも中日は保有権を失うことになり そうだ。

Some context is missing here, so let me fill that in. Chen has not yet signed a contract for 2011, which is what the January agreement refers to. He will not be eligible for tenured free agency next year, so Chunichi will grant him his release. This is a big advantage for Chen as it lets him avoid the posting system.

Normally I wouldn’t bother to post this, since the level of detail is so low and there are no attributed quotes. But I figure that Chunichi Sports knows something about what’s going on with the Chunichi Dragons, and Chen has been quite vocal this offsesason.

To all who happen to be reading this, Merry Christmas!


Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 7:33 am Permalink

    I don’t get it. Chunichi gains nothing from this.

  2. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 9:53 am Permalink

    What was in his contract that made his move to MLB so difficult? He is obviously not Japanese and does not fall under the same NPB free agency guidelines.

  3. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 10:49 am Permalink

    I almost wonder if he had a case for immediate free agency, and Chunichi basically promised not to hassle him, or make him go through any sort of litigation in exchange for a clean break after the year.

  4. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 3:46 pm Permalink

    Here’s the situation as I understand it. Frequent commenter passerby explained there here a while ago, and I’ve seen in other places as well.

    Foreign players are nominally subject to the nine-year free agency term / posting rules, but when they sign with NPB teams it is standard practice to included contractual provisions that force the team to release the player (“jiyuu keiyaku”) should the two sides not come to an agreement for the following season. This is sometimes referred to as a “side letter”. Chen’s contract with Chunichi apparently does not include this type of agreement, so he’s currently stuck waiting around for free agency. I guess since he signed as an amateur free agent he didn’t think to negotiate an escape clause into his deal. The result is that he was subject to the worst of both worlds — the foreign player limit and nine-year tenure free agency requirement.

  5. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 5:55 pm Permalink

    Well. I said it before in previous comments that Chen will not use post system to go to MLB.

    According to Ta-Feng Chen, there’s no such restriction or side letter about foreign players. And I’ve seen that formal foreign player Will Flynt said before there’s no such side letter.

    And about this “side letter” issue that most Japanese media don’t understand. According to Alan Nero, this is just a way that Chunichi Dragons took advantage of Chen one year ago when they exchanged contract because Chen didn’t bring his agent with him.

    We all know that when you work an agreement with a foreign company or individual, the contract in each side’s language will be presented and both side will sign both version of contract. This is also the case when NPB club sign a foreign player. Both the club and the player will sign both English version and Japanese version of the contract. According to Alan Nero, this was also what happened when Chen and Chunichi exchanged contract at the end of 2008.

    Basically, the English version and Japanese version of the contract should be identical. But due to some weird translation problem it’s not the case in NPB. The Japanese version of the contract doesn’t include the expire date of the contract.

    So the Chunichi took the advantage last year by not presenting English version to Chen. Then claimed that because the Japanese version of the contract has no expire date, Chen would not be able to get out of it.

    This was the only time a NPB club did this trick to a foreign player. That’s why no one knows about this mysterious “side letter” thing (even Yomiuri Giants don’t know such thing).

    The funny thing is, this was also the first time in Chen’s contract to not included expire date. Before the end of last year. Chen’s contract was just like everybody else. His 2009 contract also had an expire date :p (So it’s not all other American or Korean players are smarter to ask the “side letter”, simply because all of them sign both English & Japanese version of contract. And this “all” includes Chen before 2009)

    So when Alan Nero said to Chunichi that the agency would bring this issue to court, Chunichi side has no choice but to grant Nero’s wish. The Dragons know that their claim has no chance of winning the case.

    So it’s no wonder that Chunichi will allow Chen to go to MLB as free agent.

  6. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 7:17 pm Permalink

    For reference, here’s a link to Lester850’s earlier comments:

  7. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 7:38 pm Permalink

    Why do Alejandro Quezada and Ramón Ramírez move to MLB through posting system?

    Is Chen in same situation like them ?

  8. Patrick
    26/12/2010 at 7:46 pm Permalink

    Ah, thanks for the explanation!

  9. Patrick
    27/12/2010 at 1:37 am Permalink

    To aomori:

    All foreign players who moved to US through post system went to Hiroshima Carps’ baseball school. And in Robinson Checo’s case, Hiroshima had his right before he found a way to get around it.

    That explains everything.