Tag Archive > Eric Hinske

2010 Foreign Player Candidates

» 12 November 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 3 Comments

There’s always a high turnover among foreign players in Japan. This year will be no different, with 30+ players already gone from their 2009 employers. By the end of next season, we’ll have seen 35-45 new players in Japan.

Like most years, the biggest needs around the league are corner outfielders, pitchers, and first basemen. There will be a couple third base and DH spots open as well.

This is mostly my own speculation. Some of the names came out of the Japanese media, but many have not, so take this list with a grain of salt.

Possible Returnees

  • CJ Nitkowski - seemed like he had a deal to go back to Japan before Doosan snapped him up off waivers from SK
  • Rick Guttormson - Orix is looking at bringing Gutto back from Korea; has an NPB no-hitter to his name
  • Brad Thomas - Thomas has spent the last year or two in Korea, is on Hanshin’s list
  • Gary Glover – Yet another NPB vet in Korea, Glover had previously pitched for Yomiuri
  • Mitch Jones - didn’t get a chance in his stint with Nippon Ham, hit 35 home runs in the hitter-friendly PCL this year
  • Val Pascucci – has been productive in three AAA seasons since returning from his stint with Chiba Lotte
  • Buddy Carlyle - has been better with Atlanta than he was with Hanshin during the early 00’s
  • Winston Abreu - lit up AAA again this year, got lit up in the majors; did well in his tenure with Lotte

Korean Imports

  • Kim Dong-Ju – Lotte is reportedly ready to jump on a plan and sign this guy once the FA season opens
  • Kim Tae-Gyun – Hanshin was scouting Korea over the summer, and this Kim was a name that showed up in reports
  • Lee Beom-Ho- ditto for Lee

NPB Migrants

  • Termel Sledge – won’t be back with Nippon Ham next year; Yokohama, SoftBank reportedly interested
  • Greg LaRocca – has been productive when healthy, could get a shot somewhere else if Orix chooses not to retain his services
  • Dan Johnson – batting average side, put in a productive year for Yokohama, still wasn’t retained
  • Seth Greisinger – has put up three good years in Japan, may not fit into Yomiuri’s plans for next year; Hanshin would gladly take him
  • Brian Sikorski – posted a great year for Lotte; if they don’t keep him, Yokohama is interested

4A Veterans

  • Mike Hessman - tenured AAA slugger, doesn’t hit for average but walks and has a power bat
  • Lenny DiNardo – coming off a great AAA season, has never been able to strike MLB hitters out
  • Bobby Korecky – reliever with nothing left to prove at AAA
  • Kevin Frandsen – doesn’t fit the power-hitting mold NPB teams usually like, but can play multiple positions and hit for average
  • Matt Murton – another sharp hitter who has mastered AAA pitching
  • Chris Shelton – has had two productive MLB seasons, continues to perform at AAA
  • Brad Eldred – another veteran AAA slugger, though his average has dropped in the last few years
  • Wily Mo Pena - I thought he was on his way to Japan when the Mets released him during the season
  • Charlie Haeger - has come up on Hanshin’s list
  • Rich Hill - he has a Japan-style curveball
  • Jason Dubois – perhaps the most well-rounded of the AAA sluggers I’ve listed here, Dubois hits for reasonable average and gets on base, at least at AAA
  • Scott Strickland – was good with the Expos a few years ago, hasn’t gotten another chance
  • Evan MacLane – rumor is that he’s headed to Japan rather than resigning with the Cardinals

Fringey MLB Guys

  • Marcus Thames - Hanshin was interested in him a few years ago, but Detroit held on to him and he played pretty well
  • Eric Hinske – SoftBank was interested last year, and is again this year
  • Chris Bootcheck – has the velocity to succeed in Japan
  • Denny Bautista – another hard thrower who’s bounced between AAA and MLB

Who are some other good candidates?

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Potential NPB Returnees

» 22 October 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 8 Comments

It looks like we could to see a wave of Japanese major leaguers make their respective ways back to Japan this offseason. I don’t expect all these guys to go back to Japan, but some of them will, and I’ve listed in order of probability of actually returning.

  • Kenji Johjima – appears to be headed to Hanshin, perhaps as early as the 25th.
  • Masahide Kobayashi – Hanshin, Orix, Yokohama and Lotte have all be mentioned as suitors for KobaMasa.
  • Yasuhiko Yabuta – Yabuta’s contract with the Royals quietly expired earlier in the month, and he hasn’t been in the news lately but I’ve seen both Yokohama and Lotte mentioned as interested.
  • Ken Takahashi – is weighing a return to Japan against taking another shot at MLB. Hiroshima seems to be the obvious destination.
  • So Taguchi — Orix wants to bring Taguchi back to where he spent the first part of his career.
  • Tomo Ohka — I think he’d rather stay in 3A than go back to Japan, but there has been speculation that Yokohama would have him back. Ohka started his career by the bay.
  • Hideki Matsui – For a while during the summer, it looked like both Hanshin and Yomiuri were going to go after Matsui, but his MLB stock has risen and that talk has mostly died down.
  • Akinori Iwamura – Aki has stated that his first preference is to remain in Tampa Bay, but Hanshin is reportedly interested in bringing him in. Since Yakult posted him they should still own his NPB rights, so I’m not sure if that move is feasible.

And as a special bonus:

  • Eric Hinske — Hinske wouldn’t be an NPB returnee, but the Hawks are reportedly interested in signing him this year. They had him on their list last offseason as well.

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SoftBank Still Looking For a Bat. Still.

» 18 February 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

After slumping to a surprising 6th-place finish in the Pacific League last year, the SoftBank Hawks went into the offseason looking to acquire some offense, but only came away with Chris Aguila, who himself admits to being more of a gap hitter. It had been reported that the Hawks were after Nelson Cruz and Eric Hinske, but Cruz couldn’t be pried away from Texas and Hinske signed with Pittsburgh.

The Hawks haven’t given up on finding a power hitter for the 2009 season. They’re now targetting guys who are now in camp with MLB teams, but fall off active rosters as the teams head North. Team COO Takeuchi says, “even for the same player, the salary is many times different after being dropped from the majors. We’ve reached out but haven’t had any concrete financial discussions yet”. They have a list, but no names are public yet.

Of course, I should point out that Manny Ramirez is still unsigned, and Barry Bonds hasn’t “officially” retired yet.

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Offseason Changes: SoftBank Hawks

» 11 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Coming: Justin Germano, Kameron Loe, Chris Aguila, Arihito Muramatsu, Brian Falkenborg, manager Koji Akiyama

Going: Jeremy Powell, Rick Guttormson, CJ Nitkowski, Jason Standridge,  Michael Restovich, Naoyuki Ohmura, manager Sadaharu Oh

Staying: DJ Houlton

Trending: neutral

Synopsis: SoftBank didn’t get much out of it’s foreign roster in 2008, hence the high turnover. The Hawks had reportedly been after Eric Hinske and Nelson Cruz, but so far haven’t landed either. Germano and Loe should be useful pieces, and a bit more MLB-caliber than the guys they replace. The Hawks did get the worse of the Muramatsu-Ohmura trade with Orix.

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SoftBank Interest in Eric Hinske?

» 12 January 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

Jon Heyman noted an alleged interest in Eric Hinske from an NPB team last week, which I previously hadn’t heard of. I completely missed this Sponichi article from November that says the SoftBank Hawks were looking at him. SoftBank has since acquired Chris Aguila out of the Mets system, so it’s unclear whether they’d still be interested in Hinske.

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