Tag Archive > Eric Stults

Offseason Changes: Hiroshima Carp

» 24 January 2011 » In npb » 2 Comments

Coming: Chad Tracy, Dennis Sarfate, Bryan Bullington, Kiyoshi Toyoda, Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara

Going: Jeff Fiorentino, Justin Huber, Vinnie Chulk, Eric Stults, John Bale, Ken Takahashi, Shinjiro Kojima, Hayato Aoki

Staying: Gio Alvarado, Mike Schultz, Dioni Soriano

Summary: Perhaps the biggest story of Hiroshima’s offseason was the players they didn’t land. The Carp tried unsuccessfully to lure Hiroki Kuroda back in the mix, and lost out to Softbank for prized free agent Seiichi Uchikawa, despite his wife being a Koi fan.

Having lost out on the two Japanese stars, most of Hiroshima’s reinforcements for 2011 are of the suketto variety. Out goes the ineffective group of Fiorentino, Huber, Stults, Bale and Chulk; in come newcomers Tracy, Bullington and Sarfate joing holdovers Alvarado, Schultz and Soriano. The headliner of this year’s import class is Tracy,  the Carp’s highest paid and most accomplished first year import. The other five members of Hiroshima’s foreign roster are all pitchers, and will have to compete amongst themselves for the three remaining ichi-gun spots.

The fact that Soriano is lefthanded may give him a little bit of an edge on the somewhat lefty-thin Carp, but what the team really needs is quality innings. Last season, only Yokohama’s dreadful performance saved Hiroshima from having the least effective staff in Japan. Despite the presence of Sawamura Award winner Kenta Maeda, the Carp surrendered 737 runs in 2010; the next worst was Seibu with 642. Losing Colby Lewis hurt, but so did the fact that eight of the 13 pitchers who threw at least 30 innings for the Carp had an ERA of 5.00 or higher. Getting 150 or so innings of 4.00 ball out of Bullington or Alvarado would go along way for the Carp. So would healthy returns from Kan Ohtake and Katsuhiro Nagakawa. The Carp also spent their first four draft picks on hard-throwing, older prospects last year, so one of them may pay early dividends.

At the plate, Hiroshima managed to finish fourth in the Central League in run production in 2010, despite hitting the fewest home runs. What they lacked in power, they made up for by leading the league in steals with 119, and striking out less than any team other than Yakult. Since Tracy is the only significant lineup change for 2011, expect to see more of the same this season.

Overall I like the group that Hiroshima will field this year better than last year’s, but I don’t see how they make the playoffs without one of the other teams faltering significantly.

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Hiroshima Adds Stults; Hanshin to Acquire Standridge

» 31 March 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Eric Stults’ is indeed heading to Japan, with the Hiroshima Carp emerging as the victor for his services. According to the Chugoku Shimbun, Stults gets a salary of about $700k plus performance bonuses, with a $50k signing bonus and and option for second year. The apparent loser in the Stults derby, the Hanshin Tigers, is apparently set to add Jason Standridge.

I don’t know what happened with the negotiations, but this is the second time in recent memory the Tigers didn’t get the pitcher they were after: during the offseason, Rakuten beat Hanshin to the punch on Juan Morillo. I wonder if the fact that more of Hanshin’s acquisition targets get leaked to the media than any other team has something to do with that. Or maybe they’re naming guys that they really aren’t interested in.

Anyway, getting Stults is an interesting move for the Carp. Rotation depth is a good thing for any team, and the Carp lost Colby Lewis in the offseason and have Kan Ohtake on the shelf. But if I had to pick an area for the Carp to improve on, I’d say their lineup could use a little more pop. I really liked the Andy Phillips acquisition last season. And adding Stults does introduce a roster squeeze for the Carp, as they’ll have to choose which four of Stults, Giancarlo Alvarado, Mike Schultz, Justin Huber and Jeff Fiorentino to carry. Still, this gives them the chance to carry the guys who are contributing the most regardless of position.

Hanshin getting Standridge was a little bit of a surprise for me. Their big issue right now is instability in their rotation, and I’ve always thought of Standridge as a reliever… but that’s kind of a mis-perception on my part. He started in Japan with SoftBank a couple years ago, and has starting experience at several minor league levels. Apparently one of the things Hanshin likes is that he has Japan experience and knows a bit about what’s getting into. According to Nikkan Sports (linked above), Hanshin was looking at guys on the fringes of MLB rosters, but wanted someone who they could sign and have on board quickly, to get the team through April and May.

If waiting was an option, they might have taken a look at Cleveland lefty Jeremy Sowers (my own speculation here). Sowers is a polish/command starter who has been back and forth between the Majors and 3A for the last four seasons. He’s never had any trouble putting up strong 3A numbers, but outside of some initial success hasn’t been effective at the MLB level.

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Add Powell to Hanshin’s List

» 27 March 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 5 Comments

Casey Fossum has started the season in minors, and Hanshin continues to hunt for reinforcements. According to a Sports Hochi report from a couple days ago, the Hanshin Tigers have added former NPB’er Jeremy Powell to their shopping list. Powell has extensive experience in Japan, joining the old Kintetsu Buffaloes franchise midway through the 2001 season, and hanging around with Yomiuri and SoftBank until 2008. He’s pretty not too far away from having enough service time to shed his foreign player status, though he did miss time with injuries while in Japan. Powell put up a 3.74 era in 98.2 innings for Pittsburgh’s 3A club last year.

So this brings Hanshin’s list to:

  • Powell
  • Eric Stults
  • Seth McClung
  • Jo-Jo Reyes
  • Jack Taschner

All indications are that Stults remains Hanshin’s preferred target. Word is that Stults being shopped by the Dodgers since he’s out of options and is no longer a candidate for the team’s  fifth rotation spot. Stults probably has the most MLB upside of anyone on this list (though Reyes is kind of a wild card), and though Hanshin would pay a decent transfer fee for him, LA may prefer to get a player back.

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Hanshin Looking to Import More Pitching

» 21 March 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 2 Comments

Edit: Sanspo adds Jack Taschner to the list here.

The Central League season hasn’t even opened, and already the Hanshin Tigers are worried about their rotation. Staff ace Minoru Iwata has left the team with pain in his throwing elbow, solid righty Yasuyuki Kubo has suffered from gastroenteritis, and new import Casey Fossum is coming off a bad spring training start. Fossum has also been kind of a question mark this spring, reportedly struggling with poor velocity. The Tigers see him as a starter and if he can’t crack the opening day rotation, he’ll start with the farm team, rather than in the top team’s bullpen.

The solution Hanshin is eyeballing is to import another arm. Sports Hochi gives us three names:

  • Eric Stults (Dodgers)
  • Jo-Jo Reyes (Braves)
  • Seth McClung (Marlins)
  • Jack Taschner (Pirates)

Lotte was after Stults during the offseason, but he’s in the mix for a starting job with the Dodgers. Hanshin was linked to Reyes earlier in the offseason, but nothing came of it. Reyes is an interesting option given that he’s younger and has more of an injury history than the typical Japan-bound player. Like so many other pitchers that go to Japan, McClung brings a mix of good velocity and middling command to the table. I’m not sure why Taschner is an option if they are looking for a starter.

Hanshin’s foreign player roster is already maxed out with Fossum, Randy Messenger, Matt Murton and Craig Brazell, with Taiwanese right Kei-Wen Cheng waiting in the wings. Brazell’s and Murton’s spots are likely safe, so if a new pitcher is added, he’ll have to compete with Fossum and Messenger for roster time.

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Chiba Lotte Still After Stults

» 24 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 5 Comments

Sponichi is reporting that the Chiba Lotte Marines are sending a rep Stateside at the beginning of the year to negotiate with/for Dodgers pitcher Eric Stults. The Marines have been interested in Stults for a couple of months, and apparently the Dodgers turned them down once already.

In the event the Marines are unable to land Stults, the Marines are preparing a new list of candidates, which could include Yankees farmhand Romulo Sanchez. I don’t think I need to repeat my opinion, but I will — why negotiate for a pitcher who is under contract when Lenny DiNardo is available as a free agent?

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Chiba Lotte Imports Pitching

» 03 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

The Chiba Lotte Marines like what they see in Eric Stults. A source with the team quoted in Sponichi said, “he’s got good breaking pitches and can be a shutdown pitcher in Japan. By all means we want him.” Stults is currently on the Dodgers; 40-man roster, so Sponichi speculations that acquiring could take $900k-$1m, but that should be affordable with Bobby Valentine, Naoyuki Shimizu and Tasuku Hashimoto coming off the books.

Meanwhile, the additions of Bryan Corey and Bill Murphy are reportedly looking done deal-ish. The Marines are also looking at Yankees fireballer Romulo Sanchez, though the are prioritizing Stults.

No update on the old story about Lotte bringing in Greg Maddux as a spring training instructor next season.

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Moves & Notes, December 1, 2009

» 01 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

A couple of player personnel notes to pass along…

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