Tag Archive > Ryoji Aikawa

Orioles in on H. Takahashi

» 30 November 2009 » In mlb, mlb prospects » 1 Comment

Sponichi is reporting that Baltimore is looking at free agent lefty Hisanori Takahashi, where he would potentially re-join former Yomiuri teammate Koji Uehara.

There’s no indication of whether the O’s view Takahashi as a starter or reliever, but international scouting director John Stockstill said that if the team does make him an offer, it won’t be until January. Baltimore has become active in the Japanese free agent market; last year they were in on Kenshin Kawakami, were the only MLB to look at Ryoji Aikawa, and eventually signed Uehara and Ryohei Tanaka. I could see them picking up Hideki Matsui this offseason as well.

For more on Takahashi, please see my profile of him, and his velocity data.

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Johjima Opts out

» 21 October 2009 » In international baseball, nichibei » Comments Off on Johjima Opts out

As previously reported in Japanese, Kenji Johjima has decided to opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Seattle Mariners. Johjima was the first Japanese catcher in the big leagues, playing in total of 462 games in the span of four seasons.

His NPB power bat did not translate well for him in the big leagues and it became a struggle to earn regular playing time last season with the Mariners, as he appeared in only 71 games. A pair of injuries limited his playing time as well.

Earlier this week, there was speculation that an opt out move was in the works, citing Johjima’s cancelled off-season Mariners PR work. Johjima is known to be quoted in saying, “I do not feel strongly to live and die in the majors for the rest of my career. I would like to take back to Japan what I learned from the States, and want to go back while I can still contribute to a team.”

There have been reports already that the Hanshin Tigers are interested and his former team, Softbank Hawks, should be another possibility. Johjima should still be one of the best catchers in Japan, once landing with a team and Japanese fans should be happy to get him back.

Now the question is when will we see another Japanese catcher be to challenge for an opportunity in the majors, and who will it be? Motonobu Tanishige and Ryoji Aikawa both failed to garner offers in their attempts to move over as free agents.

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Free Agency Results

» 17 February 2009 » In mlb, npb » 1 Comment

A look on the seven NPB players who qualified and elected to file for free agency after 2008, where I predicted them signing and where they actually signed.

Koji Uehara (P, Yomiuri Giants): Signed with Baltimore; I predicted St. Louis.

Kenshin Kawakami (P, Chunichi Dragons): Signed with Atlanta, which is where I predicted.

Ken Takahashi (P, HIroshima Carp): Signed a minor league deal with Toronto; I predicted a major league deal with the Mets. 

Ryoji Aikawa (C,  Yokohama BayStars):  Signed with Yakult; I suggested that he might get a minor league deal with Detroit. I thought I predicted Rakuten as an NPB destination but I can’t find that now.

Daisuki Miura (P, Yokohama BayStars): Stayed with Yokohama; I predicted he’d sign with Hanshin.

Toshihiro Noguchi (C, Hanshin Tigers): Signed with Yokohama, which is where I predicted.

Norihiro Nakamura (3B, Chunichi Dragons): Signed with Rakuten, which is where I predicted.

So I got 3/7. Not too bad. The last two were pretty poorly kept secrets though, so it’s more like 1/5.

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Offseason Changes: Yokohama BayStars

» 13 February 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Coming: Dan Johnson, Les Walrond, Ryan Glynn, Tom Mastny, Toshihiro Noguchi, Kosuke Kato

Going: Ryoji Aikawa, JJ Furmaniak, Matt White, Dave Williams, Larry Bigbie, Mike Wood, Travis Hughes, Takuro Ishii, Takahiro Saeki (retirement)

Staying: Daisuke Miura

Trending: unknown

Synopsis: Held on to their most valuable free agent in Miura, swapped out an ineffective group of foreigners for a mostly unproven group. On paper, the additions of Glynn, Johnson and Mastny look good. Noguchi is somewhat of a step down from Aikawa. Overall, it doesn’t look like the ‘Stars made any acquisitions that will get them out of the cellar in ’09.

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Offseason Changes: Tokyo Yakult Swallows

» 10 February 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Coming: Jaime D’Antona, Hei-Chun Lee, Ricky Barrett, Ryoji Aikawa, Ryosuke Morioka

Going: Adam Riggs, Dicky Gonzales, Sean Douglass, Wilson Valdez

Staying: Aaron Guiel, Chang Yong Lim, Ryota Igarashi

Trending: slightly upward

Synopsis: Aikawa arrives to give Yakult their first regular catcher since Atsuya Furuta retired, while hope springs eternal for untested foreigners D’Antona, Lee, and Barrett. I don’t think any of these guys puts Yakult into playoff contention, but they should be more effective than the group they replace.

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Aikawa Agrees Yakult; Lotte Cuts Ties with Three

» 16 January 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on Aikawa Agrees Yakult; Lotte Cuts Ties with Three

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Player Acquisitions: Aikawa, Fernandez

» 15 January 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

  • Orix signed Jose Fernandez to a one-year, 100m yen ($1.1m) deal with performance bonuses. This gives the Buffaloes four import batters — Fernandez, LaRocca, Alex Cabrera and Tuffy Rhodes — and since Rhodes no longer counts against the foreign player limit they can use them all in the lineup at the same time. Assuming, of course, they’re all healthy and three of them can play in the field. Fernandez is joining his fourth NPB team, which may be a record for foreign playeres. I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head that’s been with more than three.
  • Catcher Ryoji Aikawa has given up on getting an MLB contract and will begin negotiating with Yakult. Yakult looks like Aikawa’s only option at this point, which is good as they’ve wanted him all along.

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Orioles Waiting on Kawakami

» 02 January 2009 » In mlb prospects » 4 Comments

Updated, Jan 2: The rumor of a final offer from the Orioles to Kawakami has been debunked — Pete Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun has the details. I should note at this point that it was only Sanspo that ran this report, other Japanese sources have said simply that Kawakami and the Orioles are “deep in negotiations“.

Sanspo has published a report saying that the Orioles have made their final offer to Kenshin Kawakami, and are waiting for a response. According to the article, the O’s have concerns about the health of Kawakami’s throwing shoulder, and are offering an incentive-laden deal. Agent Dan Evans is holding out for a higher base salary. Given that it’s an incentive-laden deal, I’d speculate that it would be a short term contract as well. The concerns over Kawakami’s arm are a bit eyebrow-raising for me; Kawakami missed time with a strained back and an undisclosed minor injury last season, but had otherwise been pretty healthy recently.

Rumors persist that the Orioles are interested in Koji Uehara as a starter, and Baltimore was the only club to show any interest in catcher Ryoji Aikawa at all.

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Free Agency Watch: Uehara, Aikawa

» 12 December 2008 » In mlb, mlb prospects » Comments Off on Free Agency Watch: Uehara, Aikawa

The Winter Meetings came and went without too many significant moves — a sign that MLB management is just as stuck by the bad economy as everyone else is.

On that sobering note, there are some rumblings on Koji Uehara and Ryoji Aikawa to share:


  • Sanspo is reporting that Texas is working on 3-year, $10m+ proposal for Uehara. Team president Nolan Ryan is quoted as trusting Jim Colborn’s evaluation of Uehara, but they need a little more time to decide on a direction. The problem is, Texas prefers Uehara has a reliever, and he’s looking for a rotation job. The Mets met with Uehara’s agent in Las Vegas, and are planning to meet with him again. NY seems to prefer him in a bullpen role as well. 
  • Sponichi repors that Ryoji Aikawa is getting a look from the Orioles, who seem intent on acquiring a Japanese player this offseason. The article speculates that the O’s might want him to help attract Uehara or Kenshin Kawakami — which I find spurious as you’d rather have those guys throwing to someone who knows the league. Nikkan Sports contradicts the Sponichi report, saying that he’s inching closer to joining Yakult.

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Padres, White Sox, Brewers, Indians Not In On NPB Free Agents

» 02 December 2008 » In nichibei » Comments Off on Padres, White Sox, Brewers, Indians Not In On NPB Free Agents

Yahoo Japan Sports has a piece on four teams’ lack of interest in Japanese free agents. Warning, translations of translations coming up:

  • San Diego’s Kevin Towers: “We don’t have much room in our budget this offseason. We’re not going to be active in acquiring players”.
  • Chicago’s Kenny Williams: “We really like Uehara, Kawakami, Takahashi, and Aikawa,” before adding, “we don’t have the budget to get involved in the Japanese market”.
  • Cleveland’s Mark Shapiro: “We know Uehara, Kawakami and Takahashi but we’re not making it a priority to acquire them. This offseason we have budget limitations and looking to one or two players; an infielder and an experienced closer”.
  • Milwaukee’s Doug Melvin: “We won’t acquire a Japanese free agent”.
It’s notable that all of these GMs with the exception of Melvin have signed a Japanese free agent in the past. I’m a little surprised by Williams as I saw the White Sox as a dark horse candidate for Kawakami. 

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