A brief look at Hanshin’s free-agent past




For the past eight seasons, right-hander Yuki Nishi had been plugging away in the Orix Buffaloes’ rotation, pitching a minimum of 117 innings a season while only posting an ERA over four once.

This week he joined the Hanshin Tigers after filing for domestic free agency, and the Nikkan Sports published a nice little summary of the Tigers’ free agent history.




Here are some takeaways:

Since the current free agent system was imposed by the Yomiuri Giants on NPBs 11 other teams in 1993, Hanshin has signed 12 players who filed for free agency to leave other clubs. Six of those came directly from local rival Orix.

The 12 incoming free agent total is third highest in NPB. Here’s the list by current franchise name:

  • Yomiuri 26
  • SoftBank 13
  • Hanshin 12
  • DeNA 9
  • Chunichi 7
  • Orix 6
  • Yakult, Rakuten 4 each
  • Seibu, Lotte 3 each
  • Nippon Ham 2
  • Hiroshima 0

On the flip side, here is the rankings of franchise by the number of players leaving as free agents:

  • Seibu 18
  • Orix 12 (including Nishi)
  • SoftBank 11
  • Hanshin 10
  • Hiroshima, Chunichi, DeNA 9 each
  • Yakult, Yomiuri 8 each
  • Lotte 7
  • Rakuten 3



And finally, the players the Tigers have acquired through the free agent system:

  • 1993 Kazuhiko Ishimine OF Orix
  • 1994 Yukihiko Yamaoki P Orix
  • 1999 Nobuyuki Hoshino P Orix
  • 2001 Atsushi Kataoka IF Nippon Ham
  • 2002 Tomoaki Kanemoto OF Hiroshima
  • 2007 Takahiro Arai IF Hiroshima (OF Masato Akamatsu)
  • 2010 Akihito Fujii C Rakuten
  • 2010 Hiroyuki Kobayashi P Lotte (IF Takuya Takahama)
  • 2012 Takeshi Hidaka C Orix
  • 2015 Akifumi Takahashi P Chunichi
  • 2016 Yoshio Itoi OF Orix (P Kazuyuki Kaneda)
  • 2018 Yuki Nishi P Orix

(Players in brackets left Hanshin as free agent compensation)




Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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