Chunichi in Pursuit of “Chen The Second”

» 04 January 2011 » In international baseball, npb »

Alright, let me start with a admission: I stole that headline almost directly from the Sports Hochi article that I’m getting the content from.

Anyway, Chunichi has found another Chen to go after: 20 year-old Kuan-Yu Chen. Like current Chunichi star Wei-Yin Chen, Kuan-Yu is lefthanded and a product of Taiwan’s National College of Physical Education. Kuan-Yu had previously worked out for the BayStars, and multiple NPB teams are reportedly interested in him.  Chunichi team president Junnosuke Nishikawa commented “it’s true that we’re moving [on him]. If we acquire him, I think it will be under the ikusei framework.”

In an unrelated note, I found this (English language) article about Genji Kaku’s son Sou Kaku while researching Kuan-Yu on the Taiwan Baseball blog. The younger Kaku is a player on Meji University’s rugby team.

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  1. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 1:59 am Permalink

    Ah, I remember seeing him go up against team Korea in the Asian Games finals. He got whooped, but I do remember him striking out Shin-soo Choo once (of course, it’s not really significant).

    I don’t think he’s got hot stuff like Wei-Yin, but he’ll make a decent pitcher nonetheless.

  2. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 5:33 am Permalink

    He wants out of his contract too.

    I wonder why they come to the NPB in the first place. Ikusei foreign players are not worth it if they can’t be kept until they become FAs. It’s like when the draft started to cover Puerto Rico. Why waste money?

  3. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 6:50 am Permalink

    Yeah ikusei foreign players would be practically worthless without ability to control the player for a number of years (maybe by locking them into semi-generous mid-term contracts when they graduate from ikusei? Unlikely.)

  4. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 9:20 am Permalink

    Signing players to fair deals would be a pretty innovative thing to do. Unfortunately it’s completely unlike Chunichi.

    The player in passerby’s article is Softbank lefty Yao-Shun Yang. His first real contribution at the ichi-gun level came last year.

  5. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 9:35 am Permalink

    I don’t know. At least Chunichi didn’t ice players in the minors so that “Major” service time would kick in later years like other teams 😉

  6. Patrick
    04/01/2011 at 9:39 am Permalink

    Yokohama seems to be the only team that offered a shihaika contract.

  7. Patrick
    05/01/2011 at 10:33 pm Permalink

    One of my friends spoke with Kuan-Yu Chen’s high school coach last Saturday. He confirmed that Chen will definitely sign with Yokohama. MLB team only offered $0.1M signing bonus. Yomirui only offered development contract. Chunichi DID NOT EVEN OFFER AN CONTRACT.

    Besides. Yokohama has monitored Chen for years. And according to Chen’s coach, Chen told him “the Bay Stars treated him nicely.”

  8. Patrick
    05/01/2011 at 10:51 pm Permalink

    To passerby:

    Taiwanese baseball association is controlled by a group of people who have strong relationship with Japan. Many of them played in Japanese amateur baseball. They act as agents to lure young players to Japan so they get partial of the signing bonus.

    Because those “important people” have the power to pick the national team. They tend to tell young players “if you let me send you to Japan instead of US, I will select you into the national team in asia games so your army service problem will be solved”.

  9. Patrick
    05/01/2011 at 11:50 pm Permalink


    A couple of points. First, there is a well-known, long history of deep divide of amateur and professional baseball in Japan. There is nothing to gain for amateur people in Japan when Taiwanese players go to the NPB. Second, agents can still get part of signing bonuses when Taiwanese players sign US teams.

    I guess in Kuan-Yu Chen’s case, Yokohama offered the most. My question then is, for those who end up in Japan, is it always the case that some NPB team offered the most (when there are offers from other countries)? Is there a way to hire an agent who doesn’t force a player to do something against his will and still receive some favorable treatment about military service?

  10. Patrick
    06/01/2011 at 6:57 pm Permalink

    Well. Those “important” people are not certified agents. They just use their power in the country to force players signing with them.

    And answer your question. No. If players don’t follow the order of those “important” people. Some consequences would follow.

    1. The player’s school may be punished if the player chooses to sign with MLB team instead of NPB. All of the player’s teammates may not be able to go to college because their team would be banned from any tournament.

    2. They will not pick the player into the national team. That means the player will not go back to the country or he will be forced to serve military.

    It’s not actually a surprise that Taiwanese baseball team loses to China in recent years. They simply don’t pick the best players available, but those who they represent.(so that’s a “if you sign with me I can get your military problem solved. if not, then you’re on your own, your teammates will be screwed, and you are not coming back home until you’re 40”)

  11. Patrick
    06/01/2011 at 6:59 pm Permalink

    And as far as I know. Many Taiwanese players went oversea didn’t sign with the team which offered the most.

  12. Patrick
    10/01/2011 at 8:44 pm Permalink

    Well, it’s official. Kuan-Yu Chen signed with Yokohama Bay Stars. it’s a 3 years contract.

    Signing bonus: 20M yen.
    Salary: 6M yen/year.

    With a couple of clauses:

    1. The club needs to get Chen’s approval before changing his pitching motion.
    2. If Chen is picked by the national team, the club can’t reject.
    3. 5M yen buyout if he’s released before the end of 2013 season.
    4. If the club doesn’t offer extension during 2013 season, Chen can freely negotiate with any team after the season.

  13. Patrick
    10/01/2011 at 10:44 pm Permalink

    Is it 6m yen for the first year or each of the three years? Aside from that, it sounds like a decent deal for him.