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Japanese Baseball Newsbeat

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Olympic manager, writer, Japan’s only new hall of famers

They elected Katsuji Kawashima, who was the manager of the 1996 Olympic team, and Kazuo Sayama, and author who writes about baseball.  No players were selected.  But it’s not like they didn’t have any good candidates.  Randy Bass won a pair of triple crowns (in an admittedly very short career), Alex Ramirez was a huge slugger in the 2000s, and then there are old favorites like Masahiro Doi, long-time slugger for the Buffaloes (among others), and Isao Shibata (leadoff man for the great Giants teams of the 60s and 70s).  There’s also Kazuhiro Kiyohara looking in from the outside.  He’s an all-time great, but he’s being kept out for non-playing reasons (he was arrested for drug possession, which was a huge scandal).

Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 14, 2021 at 04:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, japanese baseball

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Eric Thames To Sign With NPB’s Yomiuri Giants

Slugger Eric Thames is in agreement on a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, as first reported by Sports Hochi. Reports out of Japan have pegged the one-year contract’s value in the vicinity of $1.2MM, though the precise number remains unclear. Thames is repped by Apex Baseball.

Thames becomes the second former Brewers first baseman to join the Giants in as many days, as Justin Smoak is also reported to be wrapping up a deal to join the Giants. That could mean that one or both will spend ample time at designated hitter, and Thames of course has plenty of experience playing the outfield corners as well.

The 2020 season was a tough one for Thames, who inked a one-year pact with the Nationals last winter. The 34-year-old had a productive three-year run with the Brewers (.241/.343/.504 with 72 homers and a 118 wRC+), but his lone season in D.C. resulted in a .203/.300/.317 batting line through 140 trips to the plate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 04:49 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: eric thames, japanese baseball

Justin Smoak finalizing deal with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants

Veteran first baseman Justin Smoak is finalizing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal will guarantee him somewhere in the $6-7 million range, sources said.

Smoak, 34, will join a Giants team that won the Central League but lost in the Japan Series this past season. The Tokyo-based Giants are Japan’s oldest professional team.

Smoak, a longtime major league first baseman/designated hitter, spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants, with five home runs and just a .176 average between the two.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, justin smoak

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Rangers To Sign Kohei Arihara

The Rangers are in agreement with right-hander Kohei Arihara, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (Twitter link). It’s a two-year contract in the $6-7MM range, reports Mark Feinsand of (via Twitter).

Arihara, 28, has spent the past six seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. In 836 career innings at Japan’s highest level, Arihara compiled a 3.74 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. He has been especially productive over the past two years. Arihara posted a minuscule 2.46 ERA with a career-best 8.8 K/9 in 2019. This past season, he managed a 3.46 mark with 7.2 K/9 across 132.2 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 26, 2020 at 10:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, kohei ahara, rangers

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Oscar Colas Declared Free Agent By Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball has declared outfielder/pitcher Oscar Colas a free agent, reports’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). The 22-year-old was recently declared a free agent by Japan’s SoftBank Hawks after an ugly dispute between player and team. Colas and his family publicly alleged that he was deceived when signing his original contract — a deal he believed to be three years in length but one that held several club option years. Jim Allen outlined the saga in a thorough piece for the Kyodo News earlier this summer, and fans unfamiliar with Colas and his story will want to read Allen’s story for full context on the situation.

Turning to the future for Colas, he’ll now be eligible to sign with a team beginning on Jan. 15, 2021. That’s the official kickoff date for the 2020-21 international signing period — a date that was pushed back from its typical July 2 commencement as teams placed their focus and resources elsewhere while seeking to ramp up for shortened 2020 season.

Given his age and lack of professional experience, Colas is restricted to signing a minor league contract and is subject to international bonus pools. A team cannot exceed its league-allotted bonus pool in order to sign Colas, and teams aren’t allowed to trade international pool space for the 2020-21 period (another concept agreed to as the league sorted out return-to-play conditions prior to the season).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban players, japanese baseball

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Yomiuri Giants star Sugano to be posted

American baseball fans—and executives—glimpsed the dominance of Japanese star Tomoyuki Sugano at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, when he fanned six in six innings against Team USA at Dodger Stadium without allowing an earned run.

Nearly four years later, the right-hander is on the verge of becoming a more permanent member of the North American baseball scene…..

Sources say the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the MLB teams with interest in Sugano, whose NPB credentials are comparable to those of Kenta Maeda and Masahiro Tanaka. Boston’s potential interest was documented recently by Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal.

Sugano won the Sawamura Award as NPB’s top pitcher in 2017 and ‘18, and he went 14-2 with 131 strikeouts and a 1.97 ERA in 137 1/3 innings this year. In his eight-year NPB career, Sugano is 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA and 1,214 strikeouts in 1,360 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 12:08 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, tomoyuki sugano

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

NPB players who could be in MLB in ‘21

Player transfers from Nippon Professional Baseball are open, as well, with Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano the most prominent candidate to move to MLB for the 2021 season.

The posting window for NPB players began Sunday—one week later than usual, due to schedule changes related to COVID-19—and continues until Dec. 12. If NPB clubs make players available to MLB teams during that time, a 30-day negotiating period follows in each instance.

One source said no NPB team had issued a posting notice as of Monday morning. That will change in the days and weeks ahead. The modified, 120-game regular season won’t end for every NPB club until Saturday, so multiple teams will wait until later in the month to make official announcements.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2020 at 10:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, npb



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