Tag Archive > Nelson Cruz

Options for SoftBank

» 27 February 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

So we know at this point that SoftBank is looking to import a bat toward the end of spring training. Takeuchi-COO, if you’re your listening, here are a few options:

  • Dallas McPherson, 3B, Florida Marlins — hit 42 bombs in AAA last year.
  • Andy Marte, 3B, Cleveland Indians — former top prospect cleared waivers and is headed back to AAA.
  • Mike Hessman, 1B/3B, Detroit Tigers — quad-A type, hit for consistent power in AAA for the last seven years but hasn’t won an MLB job. Doesn’t hit for much average.
  • Craig Brazell, 1B/DH, Baltimore Orioles — SoftBank apparently passed on him after Seibu let him go last offseason, but he showed power in Japan last year. Probably needs an injury to make the MLB team.
  • Jeff Bailey, 1B/OF, Boston Red Sox — been pretty good in AAA the last few years.
  • Scott Thorman, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers — got a shot with the Braves but didn’t hit. Has been pretty good in the minors, looks like another quad-A guy.
  • Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers — the Hawks tried to get him twice last year. Even if Texas is willing to let him go, he won’t get through waivers. Still, SoftBank can dream.

Any other ideas for the Hawks?

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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 on Offseason Changes: SoftBank Hawks

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 Dominican Academy?

» 06 January 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off on SoftBank Dominican Academy?

Interesting news out of Fukuoka — the SoftBank Hawks have sent team COO Takanori Takeuchi* and head coach Koji Moriwaki on a business trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. On the agenda is to watch a handful of Winter League games, and look into creating ties with a baseball academy in the Dominican. Sponichi quotes Takeuchi as saying, “even to if it’s just to stimulate our farm team, we’re considering bringing in Dominican players (as instructional players). If possible we’d like to affiliate with an independent academy “. He added jokingly, “we were given an extra bag to bring back foreign players.” Nishi Nippon adds another quote from Takeuchi: “there are academies that are not affiliated with the majors over there. Going forward we’d like to build cooperative relationships.”

If SoftBank does indeed set something up, it would be the third NPB academy in Latin America. The Hiroshima Carp have an academy in the Dominican, and the Yakult Swallows have one in Brazil. Both have graduated players to the NPB level, but the Carp’s Academy has been particularly successful in that it’s produced MLB players Alfonso Soriano, Timo Perez, Robinson Checo, and Ramon Ramirez. 

*Takeuchi has an eye for talent. He was in the US during the summer trying to convince the Rangers to sell Nelson Cruz’s contract to SoftBank.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/11/07)

» 07 November 2008 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 4 Comments

Four Japanese Articles to share today:

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Hanshin’s Import 2009 Roster

» 05 November 2008 » In nichibei, npb » 5 Comments

Update: Sanspo is reporting that Hanshin also has Rays OF/DH Jonny Gomes on their list, as well Nippon Ham starter Ryan Glynn.

Daily Sports reports the Hanshin Tigers have added a few more names to their offseason shopping list. We already knew about Nelson Cruz, and now the Tigers are looking at Kevin Mench and Jose Bautista, both of whom finished last year with Toronto.

Hanshin is also looking at a couple of foreign players who are already in Japan: Rakuten’s Jose Fernandez, Seibu’s Hiram Bocachica, and Michael Restovich, who was just released by Softbank. Fernandez is the most accomplished hitter of the three, smacking 159 HR with a .293 avg over his six years in Japan, though he is suspect with the glove. Bocachica hit well when he was in the lineup, with 20 HR in 78 games, and he’s always been sound with the glove. Restovich… he’s coming off a bad year and would be a reclaimation project at this point.

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Hanshin Going After Nelson Cruz

» 22 October 2008 » In npb » 6 Comments

Sanspo is reporting that the Hanshin Tigers are planning to aggressively pursue Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz this offseason, to replace the disappointing Lew Ford. NPB interest in Cruz has been rumored before, and I actually thought this might have been the guy that SoftBank was really after when I was writing about Barry Bonds last summer.

This seems like a great move if Hanshin can pull it off. Cruz has always been solid at AAA but failed to impress in his one extended shot at the big leagues. He raked last year, to the tune of .342/.429/.695 in AAA and .330/.421/.609 with the Rangers. I thought there might be a place for him in the Texas outfield next season, so we’ll have to see what develops.

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