Tag Archive > Hayden Penn

Offseason Changes: Chiba Lotte Marines

» 20 February 2011 » In npb » 4 Comments

Coming: Bob McCrory, Kazunori Yamamoto, Takayuki Takaguchi, a player to be named from Hanshin

Going: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Bryan Corey, Juan Muniz, Akira Otsuka, Koichi Hori, Yuta Shimoshikiryo

Staying: Bill Murphy, Hayden Penn, Tae-Kyun Kim

Summary: You gotta have wa. After a decidedly wa-challenged Bobby Valentine farewell campaign in 2009, first-year manager Norifumi Nishimura made that single word his team’s slogan last year. He was a rewarded with a lineup that scored 88 runs more than they did in 2009, leading to a 13 win upward swing in the standings, a playoff berth and a Cinderella Nippon Series win. One good turn deserves another, so Nishimura has brought back the wa slogan for 2011.

The two big changes for Lotte this year were both subtractions: the Twins-bound Tsuyoshi Nishioka; and Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who is headed to Hanshin after failing to attract a suitable MLB offer. Nishioka leaves the bigger gap to fill, and I’ve already written a bit about the candidates Lotte has to take his place. Kobayashi was outstanding in his first year as Lotte’s closer, but his shoes will be easier to fill. Kobayashi’s departure leaves an opening for a guy like Tatsuya Uchi to step up to, and Bob McCrory was signed as well. Lotte is also still owed free agency compensation from Hanshin, which will either take the form of a player, or cash the Marines can use to sign another import.

Losing Nishioka hurts, but should his absence should be offset from a healthy season from Takashi Ogino. Aside from that the lineup is populated with steady performers. The only obvious regression candidate is the hot-and-cold Toshiaki Imae, who seems to be just as capable of hitting .250 as he is .320, and completely lacks the stabilizing presence of walks in his arsenal. On the plus side, Tae-Kyun Kim could improve in his second trip through the Pacific League, and maybe we’ll see Shoitsu Aomatsu find a little more power.

On the defensive side of the ball, Yuki Karakawa is reportedly healthy which will be a big boost for the rotation. Hayden Penn’s peripherals actually weren’t that different from Bryan Corey’s, but he won a Nippon Series game and should be a solid rotation presence. If those two guys are healthy and effective, the rotation should be deeper, though still not as good as Nippon Ham or Rakuten.

So what are the odds of a Lotte repeat? The Pacific League is incredibly balanced this year, so they have a shot but not a guarantee.

And on a final, semi-related note, our old friend Ryo Shinkawa will be working as Nishioka’s translator in Minnesota this season. Congratulations, Ryo and best of luck to both you and Nishioka!

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Lotte to Audition Yabu

» 21 July 2010 » In npb » Comments Off

Looks like the Chiba Lotte Marines are bringing Keiichi Yabu in for an audition on July 26. Last time we heard from Yabu, he was training in Arizona and hoping to play in a US-based independent league. If Yabu has anything left in the tank, I expect Lotte to sign him.

With Yuki Karakawa and Shingo Ono on the shelf, Lotte’s rotation has been short staffed. Bill Murphy stepping into a starting role has been a boost, none of the other options tried –Ryoji Katsuki, Yuji Yoshimi, Bryan Corey — have stuck. Karakawa should be back soon and Hayden Penn is on his way, but a little extra depth never hurt.

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Chulk to Hiroshima

» 21 July 2010 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

Sponichi tells us that the Hiroshima Carp are wrapping up a deal with Vinnie Chulk. There have been rumblings about this on this side of the Pacific as well, and the Carp could use a bullpen arm with Mike Schultz on the shelf following hernia surgery. Chulk will join Hayden Penn in moving from the Pirates organization to Japan.

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Deadline Talent

» 19 July 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 3 Comments

Last autumn, I compiled a list of guys who I thought would be good candidates to play in NPB this season. A couple of them made it over, most did not.

I didn’t rank my selections, but there were four guys that I liked better than the rest. One of them was Matt Murton (easy for me to say now, yes); let’s take a look at how the others have done Stateside this season:

  • Mike Hessman – having a 3A career year with a .985 OPS, but missed time with a stress fracture in his right hand, and is just beginning to rehab.
  • Lenny DiNardo – was having a typical DiNardo 3A campaign with a 3.52 ERA and plenty of groundball outs, but has been on the shelf since late May, I believe with a hamstring injury.
  • Kevin Frandsen -bounced from San Francisco to Boston to Anaheim, and is currently on the Angels’ 25-man roster. My FanGraphs colleague Marc Hulet gave his work with the Angels a moderate thumbs up a couple weeks ago. For what it’s worth, I kind of saw Frandsen as a spiritual successor to Bobby Rose in Yokohama.

Suffice to say, none of these guys will be playing in Japan this season. The July 31 player acquisition deadline is looming, and more than half the NPB teams have looked outside of Japan for reinforcements, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hayden Penn turned out to be the last.

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New Imports: Penn, Caraballo

» 08 July 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 9 Comments

Update on Penn: Pirates beat writer Dejan Kovacevic has tempered the Penn discussion a bit, saying that it’s only an inquiry so far. Here’s a more complete translation of what originally appeared in Sponichi: “Team representative Ishikawa has traveled to America and is in the midst of negotiations. It appears that an agreement is impending, with an official announcement to happen following a decision on the acquisition.” Originally that was one Japanese sentence but I busted it into two for readability.

A couple of items to note as we inch toward NPB’s July 31 player acquisition deadline…

  • Just as I praise the Orix Buffaloes for a series of out-of-the-box moves, they go and make another, signing outfielder Francisco Caraballo out of the independent Baseball Challenge (BC) League. Caraballo hadn’t played higher than 2A ball in America, but moved to Indy ball in Japan last year where he lead the Island League in home runs (18) and RBI (76). This year he was hitting .364 with 15 HR and 46 RBI in 37 games for the Gunma Diamond Pegasus of the BC League. Thanks to the always-on Passer By for the tip on this one.
  • Meanwhile, Chiba Lotte is closing in on an agreement to bring in Hayden Penn, who is currently playing for the Pirates’ 3A affiliate. Rotation depth is Lotte’s weakness, particularly with Yuki Karakawa on the shelf, and the Marines have a foreign roster spot to allocate, so another starter is a sensible acquisition.

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