Tag Archive > GG Sato

Hanshin’s Shopping List

» 16 October 2009 » In mlb, nichibei, npb » 9 Comments

The news about Hanshin’s list of offseason acquisition targets is flying fast and furious. It kind of reminds me of this old Onion article. Here’s what I’ve seen so far.

Via NPB Free Agency…

  • Shugo Fujii (Nippon Ham) — this probably makes the most sense of any of these acquisitions. Fujii wouldn’t make the Tigers a championship club on his own though
  • Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Lotte) — another rather low risk, medium reward type

Via Trade…

  • GG Sato (Seibu) — coming off a career year
  • Shunsuke Watanabe (Lotte) — can’t see Lotte moving him, but would be interesting to see how he adjusts to the Central League
  • Nagisa Arakaki (SoftBank) — one of my favorite pitchers, but has been hurt for the last two years

From Korea…

  • Brad Thomas (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — former Nippon Ham Fighter
  • Rick Guttoromson (Korea, Kia Tigers) — Sports Hochi reported on him and Thomas
  • Kim Tae-Gyun (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt tipped me off to this info on Kim
  • Lee Bum-Ho (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt also pointed out that if the already last-place Hanwha loses all these guys, they might as well field a him of himself, me and Shinsano

Possible MLB Returnees…

  • Hideki Matsui (NY Yankees) has been speculated over since the summer, seems like Matsui will get chances to stay in MLB
  • Masahide Kobayashi (ex Cleveland Indians) — makes sense, I wonder if they went after him during the season
  • Kenji Johjima (Seattle Mariners) — reports in the Japanese media say that he has an escape clause in his contract allowing him to return to Japan. Cot’s knows nothing about this. Hanshin is said to be prepared to offer 500m yen annually (about $5m), so for this to work Joh would have to take a pay cut, and the Mariners would have to not convince him to stay
  • Akinori Iwamura (Tampa Bay Rays) — saw some speculation about this a week or two ago, Iwamura didn’t say much other than that he would go where he was evaluated the most highly

There are also reports that Hanshin is going to be looking to the US market as usual, but I haven’t seen any legitimate names published yet. Hanshin sent team president Nobuo Minami to the States this season in an effort to learn how to evaluate US-based players. In the process, he had his picture taken with Bobby Cox, and met with the GMs of the Braves, Yankees, Mets, as well as front office personnel from the Red Sox.

What do NPB fans think? Would any of these moves make Hanshin the team to beat next year?

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Hanshin Notes: GG Sato, Brazell

» 09 June 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Here’s an interesting rumor: Sanspo is reporting that Hanshin wants to acquire Seibu’s GG Sato. I would be pretty surprised if this happened, not only because I don’t know if Sato is expendable for the Lions or if Hanshin is willing to give up what it would take to him, but also because only Sanspo is reporting this. Sanspo is probably the most gossipy of the sports papers I pay the most attention to, so I’ve learned to take this type of news from them with a grain or two of salt.

Still, I’m putting it up here because it begs a question of my more knowledgable readers: has a “blockbuster” trade ever happened in-season in NPB? Of the very few recent in-season trades I can recall off the top of my head, none have involved regular players. Can anyone think of one?

Meanwhile, Craig Brazell has gone 6/14 in his first four games with Hanshin, three of which the Tigers have won. I got to see a couple of his at bats over the weekend, and looked remarkably comforable at the plate considering he was just off the plane and had been in the Northern League. Even been for Hanshin is that the Brazell replica jersey is flying off the shelves at the Koshien Tigers Shop. Of the 22 player jerseys available, only Brazell’s is selling out.

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Not Exactly a New Phenomenon…

» 04 November 2008 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

Though Junichi Tazawa might be the first consensus NPB first round draft pick-caliber player to jump directly to MLB, he’s not the first to have considered it. And even when he signs, he won’t be the first amateur out of Japan to sign with an MLB organization.

The guys listed below have all either negotiated or signed with MLB teams before playing pro ball in Japan. None of the players listed elicited the kind of reaction Tazawa got, but none of them pursued an MLB deal with the same level of fanfare that Tazawa has now. 

Koji Uehara: came close to signing with the Angels out of college, but backed off because of language challenges and having to start in the minors. Went on to have immediate success in NPB, and subsequently make numerous requests to be posted. Finally coming to MLB this off-season. 

Hayato Terahara: taken directly from Gary Garland’s excellent site:

Dodgers V.P. Tommy Lasorda personally tried to sign the 18 year old high school phenom with a 98mph fastball, Hayato Terehara, laying on the blather very thick as only Lasorda can. Terahara ultimately decided to remain in Japan and was drafted by the Daiei Hawks after a lottery drawing between the Hawks and three other Japanese teams.

I was in Japan when this happened and while it was reported in the media,  Terahara didn’t really seem interested in signing with the Dodgers. Terahara spent several ineffective years with the Hawks, then got traded to Yokohama where he immediately blossomed into a frontline pitcher.

GG Sato: signed with the Phillies after college and played a couple of years in their system. Drafted by Seibu afterward with a late round pick and eventually became a pretty good player. Kind of a late bloomer.

Kazuhito Tadano: went undrafted in NPB because of his appearance in an adult film while he was in college, but the Indians were willing to give him a contract. Tadano pitched briefly in the show but never really did well enough in AAA to get an extended shot in the majors. Nippon Ham drafted him with their first pick in 2007, and he’s back in Japan now. 

Sho Nakata: drew interest from the Twins, and the Mariners reportedly had a $3M offer ready for him (can’t find the link now). Chose to enter into the NPB draft and was selected by Nippon Ham. Just wrapped up his first year with the Fighters’ farm team.

Robert Boothe: Grew up in Japan with an American father and Japanese mother. Boothe pitched in college but didn’t have must statistical success. Still, the five NPB teams that were said to be interested in drafting him backed off when he decided to sign with the Dodgers.

There’s a number of other lesser-known Japanese-born players playing affiliated ball in the US. JapaneseBallPlayers.com has a pretty comprehensive list of guys that are currenlty on US minor league rosters, as well as some notable former players.

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