The Nippon Ham Fighters will have their captain, center fielder and leadoff hitter Haruki Nishikawa, back for the 2021 season in Japan’s Pacific League after his posting deadline expired without a contract on Saturday afternoon.
The 28-year-old slap-hitting on-base machine, who was unlikely to match the $1.9 million he’d received the past two years in Japan, had stated his desire to go as a pursuit of learning things he couldn’t in Japan. One has to love that, but without power and with another slow winter free-agent market, it was going to be a tough slog for a guy on a 30-day deadline.
Sugano takes the next step
Although Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has been cleared for takeoff to the majors via the posting system, there was no word yet whether he will go ahead and test the waters in MLB’s petri dish next season until Thursday night in Japan. At that point, Kyodo News‘ Japanese side reported that the right-hander had indeed asked his team to file the paperwork to post him.
The story suggested that Sugano will see what the market its like but is not 100-percent sold on moving to MLB this winter.
The Sugano posting so far has been an inversion of the regular process. Prior to 2019, there were two posting patterns, one for 10 teams and another for the SoftBank Hawks and the Giants
Teams other than SoftBank and Yomiuri
- Player speaks to media after meeting with team officials in December to discuss next year’s contract.
- Player tells the media that he’s told the team he wants to be posted.
- Team says it will be considered.
- The following year, the team posts the player.
SoftBank Hawks posting
- Player tells the media he wishes to be posted.
- Team tells the player to forget about it and focus on baseball
Yomiuri Giants posting
- Team denies any players will ever be posted.
- Sugano tells everyone he’ll go when he can but never says he asks to be posted.
- Team calls report that Shun Yamaguchi will be posted “untrue.”
- Team posts Shun Yamaguchi.
- One team official said policy toward posting players has not changed and that there are no exceptions — except Yamaguchi.
- Another team official said policy toward posting players has not changed but that Tomoyuki Sugano is an exception.
- Team reveals Sugano is free to go if he likes.
- Sugano at some point reveals whether he will go or not.
Nishikawa joins Arihara in posting que
The Nippon Ham Fighters revealed Thursday that they have posted center fielder and leadoff man Haruki Nishikawa, who now joins ace pitcher Kohei Arihara in pursuit of major league work.
This past week, Hirokazu Sawamura filed for free agency, saying he would be open to offers from all 30 MLB clubs and all 12 in Japan. His teammate, Ayumu Ishikawa was allowed to go but decided against it this winter, citing the coronavirus situation in the States as one reason to stay put.