NPB Bullet Points: Okajima, Pinto, Aoki, Whitesell

» 27 December 2011 » In mlb, nichibei, npb »

A couple of hot stove notes for the evening…

  • Sanspo reports that Milwaukee started negotiations with Norichika Aoki in in the backup player range, around $1-1.5m. Additionally, since the Brewers lack a scouting presence in Japan, they intend to work Aoki out at their Arizona facility before making a decision on him.
  • Sports Hochi reports that Hideki Okajima is in the final stages of negotiations with the Yankees on a minor league deal with a non-roster camp invite. Hochi cites a source familiar with situation as saying the two sides could “reach an agreement as soon as around the New Year.”
  • Sponichi reports that Softbank is working on acquiring lefty Reynel Pinto. Pinto would be a rotation candidate for the Hawks, who have said goodbye to starters Toshiya Sugiuchi, Tsuyoshi Wada and DJ Houlton this offseason.
  • Also via Sponichi, The Chiba Lotte Marines have announced that they have signed Josh Whitesell. Whitesell spent the last two seasons with Yakult.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    Dan Koch
    27/12/2011 at 10:35 pm Permalink

    Wouldn’t that constitute a tremendous pay cut for Aoki? I would’ve figured his pay is up around 4-5 oku in the NPB, so that’s about a 75% reduction in salary. He’s really got to be committed to challenging the majors to take that kind of deal.

  2. Patrick
    27/12/2011 at 11:02 pm Permalink

    I believe Aoki was around 3.3-3.5 oku in 2011. He likely wouldn’t get much of a raise after the year he had, but it’s still a big cut. I actually think Aoki should perform well enough to play regularly in MLB; must write more about that.

  3. Patrick
    27/12/2011 at 11:09 pm Permalink

    Josh in the PL is probably a good move for both him and the Marines, he should be able to play regularly mainly as a DH.

  4. Patrick
    28/12/2011 at 7:20 am Permalink

    Considering Kosuke Fukudome got 4 years/$44 million just before 2008, Aoki’s offer must be shocking to him. In my humble opinion, Aoki may be more successful in MLB than Fukudome…

  5. Patrick
    28/12/2011 at 8:52 am Permalink

    Lotte signed Jose Ortiz as well. 1B and DH were big holes for Lotte last year so it makes some sense, but I think Chiba Marine QVC Stadium is a tougher hitting environment than Jingu. And if they’re taking a scrap heap approach, I’d love to see them give Mike Hessman a shot.

  6. Patrick
    28/12/2011 at 10:11 am Permalink
  7. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    28/12/2011 at 6:09 pm Permalink

    I’m still confused as to why everything thinks that Aoki will adapt well to the MLB. He failed to adjust to the unified ball in 2011. That suggests to me that he may not be familiar with the process of making adjustments. Will he figure something out attempting to adjust in his second year in a row? Jim Allen tried to explain it to me, but it just sounded like John Gibson’s “intangible heart” argument.

    I think that such a drop in pay is reasonable, perhaps with incentives for Aoki to prove that he is capable of making the adjustment. I think that Milwaukee is going about this the right way.

  8. Patrick
    Dan Koch
    28/12/2011 at 6:23 pm Permalink

    Aoki’s statistics with the unified ball were pretty close to what I would’ve expected out of him in MLB. If he *does* happen to hit that way in MLB, he’ll be starter-quality, although not a particularly good starter in CF. Somewhere around Nyjer Morgan or Juan Pierre (five years ago) — slap enough singles to hit .280, be fleet-footed out in CF, and try to acquit yourself.

    I doubt he’ll hit better than that, but for some reason, I don’t suspect his performance will take another dip, either. Players seem to be able to keep their contact skills in moving from NPB to MLB, and Aoki’s power already comes pre-shrunk in the wash.

  9. Patrick
    Christopher Pellegrini
    28/12/2011 at 7:21 pm Permalink

    I think it’s fair to say that as far as offense goes very few players were able to adjust to the new ball.

  10. Patrick
    29/12/2011 at 12:47 am Permalink

    My pet theory agrees with Dan and I think that the new ball pretty much gives numbers already translated to MLB performance (though with a lot of environmental adjustment caveats, just like for new imports in Japan). Will be interesting to see how that theory plays out in the years ahead (if NPB doesn’t change the ball specs again immediately for 2012).

    And I wonder how badly the pitchers will decline now in the new translation.

  11. Patrick
    29/12/2011 at 2:29 am Permalink

    I have question for you patrick, What minor league players in 2011 that had good season that would catch any japan team eye? Is their even a minor league player avaible that would be worth bringing over to japan in 2012 to play?

  12. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    29/12/2011 at 7:09 am Permalink

    Thank you +Dan Koch for the explanation. So Aoki’s drop was consistent with the league and slap hitters translate well to MLB. I guess my problem is that I keep reading the praises for Aoki as expecting him to duplicate his two 200+ hit seasons in the Majors.

    +Simon – The Commissioner has already stated that the NPB will continue to use the unified ball in 2012, a decision that I was happy to see. His reasoning was very similar to what I wrote in the 1月号 Baseball Magazine (which came out in November), but he said it more eloquently and with many fewer words.

  13. Patrick
    29/12/2011 at 9:41 am Permalink

    I think Aoki acquitted himself to the new ball ball than many of the slap/gap hitters — Yasuyuki Kataoka, Eishin Soyogi, Munenori Kawasaki, Eiichi Koyano took significant steps backwards.

    I’m starting to draft a post weighing Aoki’s pros and cons in my head. Hopefully I actually finish writing it.

  14. Patrick
    31/12/2011 at 4:58 pm Permalink

    My concern is rather with whether Aoki’s defensive abilities will still be competitive as a starting outfielder (not necessarily CF) in Major League baseball. With Ichiro as the almost sole exception, I think all Japanese position players were eventually questioned their competence in defense when they moved to the Majors.

    Being a bad hitter may at least give him a fighting chance as a back-up player. But being a bad outfielder gives him nothing.