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Tag:Japan
Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 3:42 pm
 

Brad Penny signs with Japan's Softbank Hawks

Brad Penny

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brad Penny is indeed headed to Japan, agreeing to a deal with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League, according to the team's official website.

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According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (via NPB Tracker), Penny signed a one-year deal worth $3 million plus performance bonuses, however, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the deal is worth $4 million with another $3.5 million in performance bonuses and a $4.5 million mutual option for 2013. It's the largest contract given to an American pitcher without prior NPB experience, Rosenthal added in another tweet. Sanspo (again, via NPB Tracker) notes Penny will leave for Japan this week in time to do join the team's camp on Feb. 9.

NPB Tracker suggests Penny will be expected to fill the No. 2 spot in the Hawks rotation, which lost three starters from 2011.

Penny, 33, was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA for the Tigers last season, making just one appearance in the ALCS, giving up five runs in what was already a rout in the deciding Game 6 against the Rangers.

A two-time All-Star, Penny has a career record of 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA in parts of 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox and Tigers. He was third in Cy Young voting as a member of the Dodgers in 2007 when he went 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Report: Brad Penny has offer from Japanese team

Brad PennyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Right-hander Brad Penny has an offer from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

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Penny, 33, was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers last season. Penny made just one appearance in the postseason for the Tigers, starting Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rangers and was pounded for five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings, giving up homers to Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in a 15-5 loss to Texas.

In 12 seasons with the Marlins, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals and Tigers, he's 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA.

The two-time All-Star has also heard from two big league teams, according to the report.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:05 am
 

Failed imports may replace Darvish in Japan

Kei Igawa Kenshin Kawakami

By C. Trent Rosecrans


If you're a Japanese team and you lose your best player to the big leagues, what do you do to replace him? Well, besides cashing a check for more than $51.7 million, you turn to former big-league pitchers.

The Nippon Ham Fighters (and once again, let me stress that it's the Nippon Ham… Fighters, not the Ham Fighters) are looking at former Japanese big leaguers Kei Igawa and Kenshin Kawakami, according to Daily Sports in Japan (via YakyuBaka.com). The Rangers hope it's not an even trade, as neither Igawa nor Kawakami lived up to expectations in the United States.

Igawa, 32, was posted after the 2006 season and the Yankees paid a posting fee of more than $26 million before signing to a five-year, $20 million contract with New York. For all that money, the Yankees got 13 starts and three relief appearances out of the left-hander, and he hasn't appeared in a big-league game since 2008. In MLB, he went 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA. Last year he was 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A. With the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League, he led the league in strikeouts three times and won the 2003 Eiji Sawamura Award, Japan's Cy Young equivalent.

Kawakami, 36, signed with the Braves as an international free agent in 2009, meaning the Braves didn't have to pay a posting fee. He won the Sawamura Award and Central League MVP in 2004. With the Braves, Kawakami was 8-22 with a 4.32 ERA in 41 starts and nine relief appearances in 2009 and 2010 before being outrighted to Double-A after the 2010 season. He struggled in Double-A in 2011, going 2-4 with an 8.41 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts) for Double-A Mississippi.

As Matt Snyder already pointed out, the fact that other Japanese pitchers have failed, doesn't mean Darvish will. Of course, that didn't stop our Taiwanese friends to make the comparison in one of their infamous videos, where Walker "Tex-xas" Ranger is handing over the checks to Darvish to face off Albert Pujols.



The Rangers will have a press conference with Darvish to make the signing official Friday night at 7 p.m. Texas time at Rangers Ballpark.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:30 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:14 pm
 

Mariners agree to 1-year deal with Iwakuma

Hisashi Iwakuma

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hisashi Iwakuma, the Japanese pitcher the A's couldn't reach an agreement with last offseason, has signed a one-year deal with the Mariners, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

Reports out of Japan -- including one quoting Iwakuma -- in the last week had said Iwakuma had settled on the Mariners over several other teams, including the A's. Last year the A's reportedly bid $19.1 million for the rights to negotiate with Iwakuma.

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According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Iwakuma will make $1.5 million, with another $3.4 million available in bonuses tied to innings pitched, games started and awards. He will make $200,000 for 20 starts, another $250,000 for 22 starts, another $300,000 for 25 starts and $400,000 for 30 starts.

Last year the A's won the bidding for the posting fee for Iwakuma, 30, but could not reach a deal. Iwakuma returned to Japan and pitched for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, going 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA, missing time with shoulder problems.

He will likely slide in to the fifth spot in the team's rotation behind Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, Jason Vargas and Charlie Furbush.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:41 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 12:50 pm
 

Yankees can't agree to deal with Japanese SS

Hiroyuki NakajimaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Yankees announced on Thursday that they were unable to come to an agreement with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. Last month he Yankees won the bidding on Nakajima's posting rights with an bid worth approximately $2 million.

"We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement released by the team. "We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season."

Nakajima's 2012 season will be with the Seibu Lions, where he's hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 21 steals last season. He was expected to be a backup infielder with New York -- as you might have known, they already have a shortstop in Derek Jeter, third baseman in Alex Rodriguez and a second baseman in Robinson Cano. The Yankees are expected to re-sign Eric Chavez as a backup infielder.

Because the Yankees did not agree to a deal with Nakajima, they do not have to pay the posting fee.

Next season Nakajima will be an international free agent and able to sign with any team he wishes, bypassing the posting system.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 1:08 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 1:10 am
 

Report: Mariners close to signing Iwakuma

Hisashi IwakumaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners are close to signing Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, according to Nikkan Sports (via YakyuBaka.com).

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The A's won the bidding for Iwamura's posting fee last offseason, but were unable to reach an agreement with him in the 30-day window, so he returned to Japan for the 2011 season, where he went 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 games. In parts of 11 seasons in Japan, he went 107-69 with a 3.25 ERA and started three games -- including the championship game -- for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In the WBC, he finished with a 1.35 ERA in three starts, two against South Korea and one against Cuba.

Iwakuma, 30, was limited by right shoulder problems in May, but went on to pitch well the rest of the season. Iwakuma exercised his international free agent option, allowing him to sign with any Major League team.

There had been reports that as many as five teams had interest in Iwakuma, and then recently the number was listed at four, including the A's, Twins and Mariners. The Pirates and Nationals were also rumored to be interested in Iwakuma at some point.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 17, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Brewers win bid for Japanese OF Aoki

Norichika AokiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Brewers won the rights to negotiate with Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, the Yakult Swallows announced (via Yasuko Yanagita of Japan's Hochi Shimbun).

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Saturday (Japan time) the Swallows noted they'd accepted a $2.5 million bid on Aoki, whom Yahoo's Jeff Passan referred to as "Ichiro Lite, with an emphasis on Lite."

The Brewers will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Aoki, who has played center field for the Swallows, but also left field for Japan's national team.

The Brewers have Nyjer Morgan in center field, with Corey Hart in right and Ryan Braun in left. Braun, of course, is facing a possible 50-game suspension to start the season.

Aoki hit .292/.358/.360 in 2011, down from his career averages in all departments. He is one of just four players to record 200 hits in a season in Japan. 

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 12:26 am
Edited on: December 17, 2011 7:48 am
 

Swallows accept $2.5 million bid on OF Aoki

Norichika AokiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Yakult Swallows have accepted a $2.5 million posting fee for outfielder Norichika Aoki, the team announced at a press conference on Saturday. Which team bid the $2.5 million on Aoki is not yet known. Whichever team it is will have 30 days to negotiate with Aoki, who will turn 30 next  month.

The three-time Central League batting champion hit just .292/.358/.360 in 2011, but was a career .336/.411/.472 in his first seven years. He is one of just four players to collect 200 hits in a season in Japan, joining Ichiro Suzuki, ALex Ramirez and Matt Murton.

"All I could do was wait, so I feel relieved now," Aoki said (via YakyuBaka.com). "I feel as if I am now one step closer to realizing my dream. I will allow my agent to handle the rest while I focus on my practices to make sure I am fully prepared." 

Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweets Aoki at $2.5 million is a bargain, calling him "Ichiro Lite, emphasis on Lite."

Aoki is a left-handed hitter, throwing right-handed. He won three Gold Gloves earlier in his career, but his throwing arm could limit him to left field in MLB.

Aoki appeared for Japan in both World Baseball Classics, earning All-Tournament honors in 2009, when he played left and batted third for Japan.

The Mets, Nationals and A's have all been rumored to be interested in Aoki.

Check out the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker to see all of the off-season's movements

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com