Tag Archive > Leron Lee

Remaining Free Agents

» 17 January 2012 » In mlb, nichibei, npb » 13 Comments

With spring training a mere two weeks away, NPB teams are largely done making offseason roster moves. But Buster Olney’s observation that there are a number of established MLB players that are still available on the free agent market got me wondering if any would be fits in Japan. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Kosuke Fukudome – There has been surprisingly little discussion of a Fukudome return in the Japanese media, the only rumor of note being that Hanshin was considering him as a replacement for Matt Murton, who they successfully re-signed.
  • Kenshin Kawakami — Kawakami’s name has been similarly absent in the Japanese media this offseason. The only news I’ve seen on him is from his personal blog, saying he’s begun working out and hasn’t decided on a team for 2012 yet. It’s reasonable to assume that most NPB rotations would benefit from having him around.
  • Dan Johnson — Johnson played for Yokohama in 2009, and was solid aside from a .215 batting average. Since then, he’s returned to US with the Rays organization, where he’s played well in Durham but been overmatched in Tampa Bay, and developed a penchant for clutch home runs. He does enough things well to be of value to an NPB team.
  • Derrek Lee – Had they not already signed Josh Whitesell, Lee might have been a first base match for Lotte, an organization that once employed his father and uncle (Leon Lee and Leron Lee). Derrek spent part of his youth in Japan.
  • Marcus Thames — Thames has appeared on NPB team’s foreign player candidate lists in the past, but surprising he’s only gotten one previous mention on this site. Power was the rarest skill in Japan last year, and Thames has shown plenty at both the 3A and MLB level.
  • Bill Hall — Hall is something of a personal favorite; I thought he would have a better MLB career than he’s had. He still has at least two solid strengths – a power bat and a strong throwing arm – that match up with teams in need of third base help (Yokohama?).

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NPB Links in the MLB Playoffs

» 05 October 2008 » In mlb, nichibei » 1 Comment

Fun fact: a Japanese player has appeared in every World Series since 2002, beginning with Tsuyoshi Shinjo with the San Francisco Giants. This year, I’ve noticed a number of NPB connections on the eight MLB playoff teams.

Chicago Cubs

  • Scapegoat Kosuke Fukudome played 10 years for the Chunichi Dragons.
  • Derek Lee’s father, Leon Lee, and uncle, Leron Lee, both played 10+ years in Japan. Derek has said that he would like to finish his career in Japan.
  • Alfonso Soriano came up through the Hiroshima Carp Domican Academy and played briefly in Japan before joining the Yankees.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Takashi Saito are NPB veterans. 

Philedelphia Phillies

  • Manager Charlie Manual played for the Yakult Swallows and Kintetsu Buffaloes in the late 70’s and early 80’s. 
  • Reserve bat Matt Stairs played for the Chunichi Dragons before sticking with an MLB team.
  • Bench outfielder So Taguchi played for the Orix Blue Wave alongside Ichiro.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Though neither one is on the playoff roster, Gabe Kapler and Joe Dillon both spent part of a season with the Yomiuri Giants.
  • Solomon Torres pitched in Korea before making his MLB comeback.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Man of the hour Akinori Iwamura came over from the Yakult Swallows two years ago.

Chicago White Sox

  • Former Softbank Hawk DJ Carrasco is on the White Sox’ playoff roster.

Boston Red Sox

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.

LA Angels of Anaheim

  • Anyone know of any?

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