The Hanshin Tigers released first baseman Justin Bour on Friday after he cleared waivers. Bour was dropped from the team’s active roster on Oct. 23 and there was some confusion at the time about his future with the club.
The Tigers are infamous for giving up on first-year players without any kind of real chance to make adjustments, although they gave Bour most of a full year to get acclimated. Jefry Marte, who was hurt much of the year, was called up when Bour was dropped and played well the rest of the season.
Bour means there is still a first baseman on the market, after the Yakult Swallows agreed to terms with soon to be released SoftBank Hawks captain Seiichi Uchikawa.
Uchikawa, one of two players to win batting titles in both of Japan’s top leagues, was also the first Central League star in his prime to sign directly with a Pacific League club after filing for free agency. His move from the BayStars to the Hawks signaled the start of the Hawks’ current dynasty.
In addition to keeping star second baseman Tetsuto Yamada from filing for free agency by signing him to a seven-year extension, the Swallows also locked up closer Taichi Ishiyama, who was eligible to move to another NPB team as a domestic free agent.
Norichika Aoki, who has achieved a remarkable career renaissance since returning from the majors after the 2017 season, has also reportedly agreed to a multi-year extension.