Tag Archive > Randy Messenger

NPB Bullet Points: Spring Training Notes

» 14 February 2012 » In nichibei, npb » 9 Comments

While pitchers and catchers are just now showing up to MLB camps, NPB spring training has been in full swing for a couple of weeks. Here’s a collection of random news stories from around the league. All links are in Japanese.

  • Chunichi has signed outfielder Victor Diaz, who had been in camp with the team on a try out basis. Diaz has MLB experience with the Mets and Rangers and played in Mexico last season.
  • Sumo wrestler Hakuho spent a day in camp with Yomiuri. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
  • Hanshin righty Randy Messenger tweeted about a soba restaurant he enjoyed.
  • Japan newcomers Scott Mathieson and John Bowker got to try eel.
  • A Sponichi report from February 8th indicates that the Nippon Ham Fighters will give Korean lefty Yoon-Hee Nam a tryout. Nam, 24, was a first-round pick of Doosan in 2006, but opted to sign with the Texas Rangers instead. He pitched five seasons in the Rangers’ system, reaching high A in 2010.
  • Softbank is working out two young Dominican pitchers, Juan Carlos Paniagua and Wanel Mesa.
  • One of the more interesting positional battles (for me anyway) is for Orix’s cleanup spot, where newcomer Dae-Ho Lee is taking on incumbent T-Okada. Lee has the lead in the “huge gut” category.
  • NPB legends Masaichi Kaneda and Katsuya Nomura turned up at Yomiuri’s camp. They both have quite an eye for fashion, particularly Nomura.

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Changes for 2012: Hanshin Tigers

» 04 February 2012 » In npb » 3 Comments

Coming: Hayata Itoh (1st round draft pick), Shingo Matsuzaki, manager Yutaka Wada

Going: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Kodai Sakurai, Ikuro Katsuragi, Keiji Uezono, manager Akinobu Mayumi

Staying: Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge, Takashi Toritani, Kyuji Fujikawa

Hanshin’s biggest change this season is in the dugout, where Yutaka Wada replaces Akinobu Mayumi, who failed to lead the Tigers to a Central League crown or a Japan Series appearance in three years at the helm. Wada is a Hanshin lifer, having spent his entire 16 year playing career with the team, followed by another 10 years in various coaching roles in the Tigers organizatoin. Wada also occupies a special place in Hanshin lore, as the last active player from Hanshin’s legendary 1985 championship team at the time of his retirement in 2001.

Wada inherits a roster that is largely unchanged from 2011, a team finished fourth in the Central League despite outscoring its opponents by 39 runs. In a small league though, run differentials are deceiving, and a big chunk of those 39 runs came from blowing out Yokohama a few times. Rookie outfielder Hayata Itoh figures to get a serious look during spring training, as center field is a hole, and left fielder Tomoaki Kanemoto is on his last legs after a venerable career. Retaining Matt Murton was a big win for Hanshin, as they can count on his steady bat in right.

Hanshin made no significant changes to its pitching staff this offseason. Hiroyuki Kobayashi is working on a move to the rotation after a so-so season in middle relief; I wonder if lefty Daiki Enokida could make a few starts as well. Depth is always a plus, and while Hanshin had four starters pitch 150+ innings with 3.00 or lower ERAs, lefties Minoru Iwata and Atsushi Nohmi both struggled with injuries prior to 2011. On the farm, Taiwanese prospects Ikketsu Sho and Kai-Wen Cheng both put up good numbers at ni-gun last year, and righty Takumi Akiyama has shown promise as well.

Hanshin is beginning to age at some positions, but overall still has a talented veteran roster. That coupled with regression from of last year’s top three should see the Tigers back in playoff position this year.

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Messenger to Return to Hanshin

» 20 October 2011 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

I heard from a source earlier in the evening that Randy Messenger has agreed to a contract to return to Hanshin for 2012. I spoke with Messenger’s agent Matt Sosnick, who confirmed that it’s a one-year deal with an option for 2013.

Messenger had a strong second-year effort for the Tigers, posting a 12-7 record with a 2.88 ERA and 120 strikeouts over 25 starts and 150 innings pitched. Messenger with 12th among Central League pitchers in ERA, 11th in strikeouts, and 15th in innings pitched.

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Offseason Changes: Hanshin Tigers

» 29 January 2011 » In npb » 8 Comments

Coming: Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Akihito Fujii, Ryota Arai, Robert Zarate, Marcos Vechionacci

Going: Casey Fossum, Akihiro Yano, Satoru Kanemura, Daiyu Kanemura, Keisuke Mizuta

Staying: Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Jason Standridge, Randy Messenger

Summary: Hanshin’s offseason starts with the successful retention of the team’s foreign core — Murton, Brazell, Standridge. Messenger also received a contract for 2011, despite his disappointing results last season. The fact that Hanshin’s foreign roster isn’t overcrowded may mean that incumbent Kai Wen Jeng gets a few innings at the ichi-gun level, or that the Tigers will seek reinforcements if Standridge or Messenger stumble. Beyond that, Hanshin’s only significant acquisitions were scooping up Kobayashi after he failed to land an MLB contract, acquiring catcher depth in Fujii, and trading for Takahiro Arai’s brother Ryota. Reports of a Jeff Williams comeback have unfortunately not yet come to fruition.

With the return of Murton and Brazell, Hanshin will again field a strong offense, though it is a good bet they will see some regression. The Tigers lineup was spectacular in2010, with five regulars who batted .300 or higher (and Brazell right behind at .297) powering the team to a league-top 740 runs. Hanshin’s lineup will be good in 2011, but Keiichi Hirano is not going to hit .350 again, and Kenji Johjima is on the shelf recovering from knee surgery until sometime after the season starts. And as good as Murton and Brazell are, it would be unrealistic to expect them to match their superb 2010 results. That said though, Hanshin still has an offense rivaled only by Yomiuri in the Central League.

Hanshin’s rotation has a lot more question marks than its lineup. Yasutomo Kubo has been a godsend, last year becoming the first Hanshin pitcher to throw 200 innings since Kei Igawa back in 2006. Standridge was something of a godsend in 2010 as well, finished second on the team with 126.1 innings. Then 42 year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi contributed his brand of six-inning appearances, but only 19 times. The laws of the universe dictate that he’ll have to stop someday, but who knows when that will be? Beyond those three guys, Hanshin’s rotation is filled with a bunch of question marks. Minoru Iwata, Atsushi Nohmi, and Yuya Ando have all had success in the past but are coming off injuries. Touted 2009 draftee Kazuhito Futagami didn’t throw a pitch last year; Takumi Akiyama threw many with considerable success, but he’s still only 20. Naoto Tsuru finished last season well and could be poised for a breakout. Hanshin’s bullpen also remains a strength, anchored by ace closer Kyuji Fujikawa.

Overall I see Hanshin as a team with a lot of talent, but one that is kind of on the edge. Despite their thin rotation, the Tigers finished one game out of first last season. If their stable pitchers hold steady and a couple of the question marks pan out, they could be dominant. If they falter and the injury guys don’t come back, Hanshin’s bullpen will be overworked and we’ll see a lot of high scoring games.

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Hanshin Import Pitching: Messenger, Jeng, Fossum

» 09 November 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Alright, here we go.

Hanshin is hanging on to pitcher Randy Messenger. The news that Hanshin wants keep him broke over the weekend, and I heard from a reliable source on Monday that the two sides have agreed to terms for next season. Messenger didn’t light up the Central League in year one, but he’ll remain in the picture for both bullpen and rotation innings in 2011.

In the same Sanspo piece, it was reported that Taiwanese righty Kai-Weng Jeng has agreed to a deal for next season that will pay him 10m yen. Jeng signed out of a Taiwanese college in 2009.

In older news, Hanshin announced a few weeks ago that they will not offer Casey Fossum a contract for 2011. No word yet on Jason Standridge.

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Hanshin Notes: Murton, Brazell, Fossum

» 12 December 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

A couple of Hanshin Tigers foreign player items of note in the news today:

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Hanshin Signs Messenger

» 10 December 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 8 Comments

The Hanshin Tigers have signed Randy Messenger for 2010. The big righty gets a one-year deal worth approximately $600k, and will take over Scott Atchison’s role in the bullpen.

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Murton to Hanshin

» 08 December 2009 » In international baseball, nichibei, npb » Comments Off

The Winter Meetings kicked off without any blockbusters, but one move that will affect the NPB landscape was the Colorado Rockies shipping Matt Murton to the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers have kicked the tires on numerous pitchers, and are close on Randy Messenger, but this is the first position player they’ve landed.

With Hanshin’s recent track record of finding sukketo who fit the puzzle offensively, this will be an addition worth keeping an eye on. This is the Tigers’ first signing since dismissing US scout Tom O’Malley, who was let go earlier this offseason.

On another note, the Tigers are leaning toward bringing back Craig Brazell as well.

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Johjima at it Again

» 28 November 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Holiday and business activity kept me away from blogging this week, but after a relaxing Black Friday spent mostly away from the computer and the shops, I’m ready to get going again.

Kenji Johjima is reportedly making more scouting recommendations to his new employer. This time, though, the Hanshin Tigers have their sights set a little more realistically. Randy Messenger was the main guy mentioned in Sanspo’s latest report. Messenger nearly joined the Carp in mid-season 2009 but Hiroshima and Seattle couldn’t come to an agreement on a transfer fee.

Eric Hull and Jason Bulger were the other two guys mentioned on Hanshin’s list; Hull makes sense, while they’re probably a year too late on Bulger.

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Hiroshima After Pitching

» 22 July 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

I never posted on this when it happened, but around the time that Hiroshima added Andy Phillips and subtracted Scott Dohmann, there were rumblings that the Carp were going after another pitcher.

Baseball sources indicated to me today that the Carp had a deal with Seattle AAA pitcher Randy Messenger, but couldn’t work out a financial arrangement with the Mariners.

The Carp are gunning for a playoff spot, so we’ll watch this space.

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