Tag Archive > Ryota Igarashi

Updates: Takahashi, Igarashi

» 11 December 2009 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

The respective markets for Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi seem to be heating up.

First on Igarashi… I’ve seen Arn Tellem quoted in a couple of places as saying “discussions are progressing. It looks like we’ll have a decision sooner than I thought.” Here’s the breakdown:

  • Sports Hochi says the countdown is running toward a move to the Mets, and that Omar Minaya is getting his intelligence on Igarashi from none other than Bobby Valentine.
  • An earlier Hochi report said that Igarashi’s camp negotiated with the Orioles on the 9th, who would pair him up in the bullpen with Koji Uehara. Hochi also named the Padres and Diamondbacks as interested.
  • Sponichi throws the Yankees in the mix, saying that he could backfill for Brian Bruney or, in the event he is traded, Joba Chamberlain. This feels the most speculative of the rumors we have so far, but Sponichi does quote the projected line on Igarashi’s contract is two years, $2-3m. It wasn’t clear if that $2-3m is annual or cumulative, but either way, two years at $1-3m seems like a reasonable range.

Takahashi is getting less ink but things do seems to be starting to move for him.

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An Offer for Igarashi

» 09 December 2009 » In mlb, mlb prospects » 3 Comments

Sponichi has a brief report saying that Ryota Igarashi has received his first MLB offer — a one-year deal from an unnamed team. In the words of the source Sponichi cites: “it was a one-year, major league contract. His elbow (which he had surgery on in 2006) is not a problem, and they see him as someone who could perform in a middle relief role.”

The Orioles, Pirates, Giants and Rangers have shown interest in Igarashi, but there’s no indication that one of these teams made the offer.

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Winter Meetings Preview

» 04 December 2009 » In international baseball, mlb, nichibei, sports business » Comments Off on Winter Meetings Preview

The MLB offseason is heating up, and figures to kick into full gear when the Winter Meetings open on Monday. As usual, there will be a number of story lines involving Japanese teams and players this year.

  • Hideki Matsui is the top Japanese name this offseason. His situation will evolve as talks with the Yankees occur and other key veteran sluggers find 2010 employers. Reports last week stated that agent Arn Tellem could call Matsui in anytime during the week, and Matsui has delayed his return to Japan to accommodate. Expect a full contingent of Japanese media keep the rumor mill jam-packed until this guy signs.
  • We could wind up with a better sense on the market for Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi. The market will be stronger for Igarashi, and the righty is already training in Arizona.
  • NPB foreign player rosters are filling up, but we frequently hear about a guy or two moving from MLB or affiliated ball over to Japan during the Winter Meetings.

Our own Ryo Shinkawa will be on the ground at this year’s Winter Meetings.

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Five Players File For Free Agency

» 18 November 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb » 4 Comments

Out of the 87 players eligible to file for free agency this off-season, only five players filed for free agency including Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi declaring as international free agents.

The other three players filing for free agency are thought to make a move within the NPB. The Yakult Swallows remain the team interested in INF Atsushi Fujimoto and the Yokohama BayStars are the front runner for C Tasuku Hashimoto. LHP Shugo Fujii from the Nippon Ham Fighters has also declared free agency and his destination is still up in the air, but a re-connection with the Fighters is unlikely.

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Interest for Igarashi

» 11 November 2009 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

The market for Ryota Igarashi is showing it’s first signs of life. Sanspo has quotes from a couple of key figures

  • Pirates GM Neil Huntington: “In acquiring(Akinori) Iwamura, we opened the door to getting Japanese players. We gave up a middle reliever to get Iwamura, so he [Igarashi] is a player we have interest in.”
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean: “It’s not our top priority, but he’s a player we’re looking into.”
  • Agent Arn Tellem: “There is high interest for stoppers in the majors. He’s a player that a lot of teams should show interest in, and we expect good results from him.”

Clearly a little agent-speak there at the end. As a side note, Igarashi and Iwamura played together with Yakult in Japan.

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Igarashi to Pursue MLB

» 08 November 2009 » In mlb prospects » Comments Off on Igarashi to Pursue MLB

Nikkan Sports and others are reporting that Yakult fireballer Ryota Igarashi has decided on pursuing an MLB contract for next season.

Igarashi has hooked on with star agent Arn Tellem for representation, and visited the States in October to take in the American League playoffs. The 30 year-old right gets by with an explosive fastball that reaches the upper-90’s and a hard forkball. For more, please see our profile of him, posted last June.

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The List of Free Agents

» 27 October 2009 » In international baseball, mlb prospects, nichibei » 2 Comments

It’s that time of the year again when each team starts to look forward to the offseason stove league, aside from the Giants and Fighters who are set to do battle for this year’s big prize. The main talks of the off-season will be centering around the movement of the free agents and today the list of qualifying players was released.

Potential candidates that might consider a move overseas are starting to buzz  around the rumor mill and Ryota Igarashi and Naoyuki Shimizu are two of  the bigger names in the news at this point. Toshihisa Nishi is another guy who wants to play in MLB, but he’s 38 and looking at MLB as a swansong. The situation might change once the offseason begins, but there have been no talks about big names being posted and it might be a relatively quiet offseason for new Japanese players coming to the States for a new challenge.


  • Fighters: Shugo Fujii (LHP), Hichori Morimoto (OF)
  • Golden Eagles: Yosuke Takasu (INF), Akihito Fujii (CA)
  • Lions: Yoshihito Ishii (INF)
  • Marines: Hiroyuki Kobayashi (RHP), Tadahito Iguchi (INF, under a three-year contract)
  • Buffaloes: Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara (LHP), Osamu Hamanaka (OF), Alex Cabrera (INF)
  • Giants: Shinnosuke Abe (CA)
  • Dragons: Hidenori (OF)
  • Tigers: Atsushi Fujimoto (INF), Norihiro Akahoshi (OF)
  • Carp: Ryuji Yokoyama (RHP), Yoshikazu Kura (CA)
  • Baystars: Atsushi Kizuka (RHP)


  • Fighters: Tomochika Tsuboi (OF), Yoshinori Tateyama (RHP)
  • Hawks: Hitoshi Tamura (OF, staying put)
  • Marines: Tasuku Hashimoto (CA), Naoyuki Shimizu (RHP), Shingo Ono (RHP),
  • Buffaloes: Hidetaka Kawagoe (RHP, has been released and will move on)
  • Giants: Hisanori Takahashi (LHP), Shigeyuki Furuki (INF), Alex Ramirez (OF), Kiyoshi Toyoda (RHP)
  • Dragons: Masahiko Morino (INF, under a multi-year contract), Motonobu Tanishige (CA)
  • Swallows: Ryota Igarashi (RHP), Kazuki Fukuchi (OF), Masao Kida (RHP, will move on)
  • Baystars: Shigeru Morikasa (OF), Toshihisa Nishi (INF, has been released and is looking to play in the States in ’10)

Note that the player’s status, where known, appears in brackets beside his name. We’ll update this page as the offseason progresses.

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Free Agents: Igarashi, Saburo

» 23 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » Comments Off on Free Agents: Igarashi, Saburo

Notes to share about a couple of FA-eligible players:

  • If Ryota Igarashi chooses to make the MLB jump, he’ll do so with agent Arn Tellem on his side. According to the Sponichi report, Igarashi is undecided on what he wants to do, and is also considering moving to another team in Japan. Tellem notably represents Hideki Matsui, and has to date negotiated $73m worth of contracts on his behalf. Igarashi is currently in the States taking in the ALCS.
  • Saburo Ohmura, known by his first name in Japan, is hinting that he’s going to stay put again this offseason. Saburo was eligible for international free agency last year, and announced that he was going to try MLB, but changed his mind and re-signed for one year with Lotte. After posting a career with a .314/.377/.514 slash line and 22 home runs, I thought we might see him take another shot at MLB. Maybe he’ll waffle again this year.

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Ryota Igarashi Eyeing MLB

» 06 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

One of the few free agents in the NPB this off-season, Yakult fireballer Ryota Igarashi is reportedly eyeing a move to the MLB. According to sources he has already been listing notable agents to help his transition and negotiation process. In the previous off-season he trained at one of the Athlete’s Performance training facilities, which increased his desire to play overseas.

Igarashi has made an impressive comeback from his elbow surgery in 2006 as he carries a 3.31ERA yielding 51.2 innings allowing 42H, 19ER, 20BB with 43K this season. Concerns for his elbow has diminished as specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum has gave him a clean bill of health during the previous off-season. Igarashi went on the injured list on August 30th with a hip injury, but he is currently back with the team and it did not seem serious (Bullpen Session Clip).

Igarashi has been one of the few NPB players who have been hinting a desire to play in the MLB this season. His pitching style has matured in recent years and he’s mixed in some occasional breaking pitches to compliment his power fastball. The real test for him will be how his fastball plays in a league with more power bats. The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are currently fighting for the last playoff spot and Igarashi has not commented on the report, but we should know more once the Swallows’ season concludes.

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Player Profile: Chang Yong Lim

» 26 June 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb » 1 Comment

A pair of Asian-born NPB pitchers are getting some attention from MLB teams. Today I’ll take a look at South Korean relief ace Chang Yong Lim.

Lim is best known among international fans for giving up the eventual game-winning hit to Ichiro in this year’s WBC Final. By day, however, Lim is the closer for the Yakult Swallows, and he’s been lights-out this year. Through 29.2 innings, he has yet to allow an earned run for the surprising Swallows, who at 36-22 are 2nd in the Central League.

Lim is a fastball/sinker/slider pitcher who relies on a rather unsual combination of velocity and a side-arm delivery. He pitches off his fastball, which usually sits in the 90-93mph range, but will reach 96/97mph. There were reports earlier in the year that he hit the magical 160kmph (100mph) mark on the gun, but I don’t buy it. Other reports put that pitch at 155kmph (97mph), which is more believable and still very good. You can get a sense of his mechanics from these clips of his 17th and 18th saves from this season, or this clip of him striking out a couple of Chunichi Dragons last year.

What prompted me to write about Lim now was the recent revelation that he’s looking for a US-based agent, first published in Japanese tabloid Nikkan Gendai and repeated in the Japanese edition of the JoongAng Ilbo, where I found it. However, the soonest we’re likely to see him Stateside is 2011, as Yakult holds an option on his services for next year, which they’ve reportedly already decided to excercise. While it’s unclear how much the option year is worth, he’s been an absolute bargain for the Swallows so far. He earned just $300k last year, and is making $500k this season. By comparison, bullpenmate Ryota Igarashi is making about $840k this season.

Lim’s interest in playing internationally dates back to 2002. According ot his Japanese Wikipedia entry, his KBO club Samsung posted in him to MLB in 2002, but ultimately didn’t get a bid they were happy with. Lim again attempted a move abroad in 2004, negotiating with Rakuten in Japan and, reportedly, several MLB clubs before resigning with Samsung.

Next time I’ll take a look at Chunichi lefty Wei Yin Chen.

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