Wang set to join Fighters on 3-year deal

The Nippon Ham Fighters have reached an agreement on a three-year deal with 25-year-old Taiwan outfielder Wang Po-jung on Friday according to the Nikkan Sports.

You can see the original Japanese version HERE.

The contract for Wang, who has batted over .400 twice in his brief career, is worth a reported 400 million yen ($887,000) with additional incentives. His salary next year will be 90 million yen.

“They showed me respect, and are giving me a chance to perform on a new stage, and I am grateful,” Wang said in a statement released by the Fighters.

The Lamigo Monkeys’ star won CPBL’s triple crown in 2017, and has led the league in on-base percentage the past three seasons.

“I’m honored to be the first player from Taiwan pro baseball to join NPB through the overseas transfer system, although some pressure comes with that.”

“Going forward, I will pull my weight and not forget the desire I’m coming in with.”

Speaking at the Fighters’ minor league facility in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, Nippon Ham General Manager Hiroshi Yoshimura said that Wang’s age was a factor in the acquisition according to the Nikkan Sports.

“His age is the key to his coming to grips with Japanese baseball,” Yoshimura said. “Because he’s young, we expect him to get even better. We’d like him to be playing in our new ballpark (due to open in 2023).”

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)

writing & research on Japanese baseball