Changes for 2012: Yomiuri Giants

» 06 February 2012 » In npb »

Coming: Toshiya Sugiuchi, DJ Houlton, Shuichi Murata, John Bowker, Scott Mathieson, Yoshito Ishii, Takayuki Takaguchi

Going: Shugo Fujii, Alex Ramirez, Seth Greisinger, Rusty Ryal, Chih-Lung Huang, Micheal Nakamura, Saburo Ohmura, Jonathan Albaladejo, Carlos Torres, Josh Fields, Brian Bannister, Shinji Takahashi, Toshimasa Konta, Kazunori Tsuruoka

Staying: Ryota Wakiya

As usual, Yomiuri did lots of reshuffling this year, including a couple of significant moves.

Let’s start with the pitching. The Kyojin-gun took advantage of Softbank botching negotiations with ace Toshiya Sugiuchi, and scooped him up with a four-year deal. Sugiuchi was always my favorite Softbank lefty, and he’ll be a great addition to Yomiuri’s rotation. Yomiuri also raided Softbank for another starter, American DJ Houlton. Houlton’s four year’s in Japan have gone like this: mediocre, quite good, bad, great. Which of course, suggests that he’s due for a down year, if you believe such things. Houlton’s numbers may regress from his 19 wins and 2.29 ERA, but at his best he’s good for 170 innings of work, which is a valuable commodity.

At the plate, Yomiuri’s main moves essentially boil down for swapping Shuichi Murata and John Bowker in for Rusty Ryal/Josh Fields and Alex Ramirez. Initially this felt like a wash to me, but Murata is younger than Ramirez and plays a difficult position to fill, and maybe playing for a winning team will revive his motivation. Bowker simply needs to not be a total bust to eclipse the results of Ryal and Fields. Outfield depth is a bit of a concern with an unproven Bowker and a usually unhealthy Yoshinobu Takahashi, so a return form for recent non-performers Yoshiyuki Kamei and Tetsuya Matsumoto would be well-timed. Or maybe Kosuke Fukudome would be a fit.

So another offseason of the Giants doing what the Giants do — spending money. But it appears to be money well spent, addressing needs rather than just stacking up sluggers because they can. Expect them to compete for the Central League title this year.

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  1. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    07/02/2012 at 6:59 am Permalink

    – So another offseason of the Giants doing what the Giants do — spending money.

    I think that you’re inferring that the Giants just buy up other teams’ FA players each off season. But in a little study that I recently did, I found that they’ve been absent from the FA market for the past couple of years.

    Granted, my research was only concerned with domestic free agents and did not include foreign players who were free to move. But after 2006, the Giants sat out of the 2007 and 2008 free agent markets, got Fujii in 2009, then sat out 2010 before getting active again after 2011. It seems to me that they had tapered their hunger for purchasing free agents under their previous general manager, and with him thrown out, have gone back to their old ways.

  2. Patrick
    07/02/2012 at 8:50 am Permalink

    They did try to get Lim a couple years ago, but Yakult out-bid them. Which offseason was it when they got Rami-chan, Kroon, and Greisinger? But overall you’re right. I was referring more to when they acquired Rhodes, Kokubo, Ogasawara et al. Kiyotake did put more emphasis on development, and I hope they continue with it. I’ve had a post called “Giant Development” in draft status for about two years now.

  3. Patrick
    07/02/2012 at 7:38 pm Permalink

    With Kiyotake gone, and after last season’s disappointment, maybe they’ve reverted to their old ways. Big money clubs can’t stand pat in front of their fans when they disappoint them and there are free agents available.

    I don’t see how Fukudome would be a fit, would it be him or Takahashi in centre? Then again, Giants are known for doing something like that.

  4. Patrick
    07/02/2012 at 9:49 pm Permalink

    Maybe, but they did address actual team needs at 3B and the rotation, unlike the past where they’ve stacked up slugging first basemen because they could.

    Chono’s got CF on lock down. I guess the front runners for LF and RF are Bowker and Takahashi, but Bowker’s a first year guy and Takahashi hasn’t played a full year since 2007. They could play Fuku in RF, and Yoshinobu at 1B as well.

  5. Patrick
    11/02/2012 at 8:02 pm Permalink

    Bowker will do.ok.He has power at the plate and should do well against japanese pitching. His short coming is speed the outfield. I watched him for couple of years when he was in Fresno -AAA- and with SF. I thought he would make the giants last year but they shipped him to the Pirates and he disappeared.He has potential to put up big numbers.