Tag Archives: Hideo Nomo

Japan’s Rule 5

On Thursday, the players union held a working group session with NPB officials, when they discussed bringing about a kind of Rule 5 draft that would make surplus talent available to other teams. And though it might seem like something NPB owners would never go for, this one is probably going to happen.

And the reason it’s going to happen is that while NPB is defined by its rules, it is governed by organizational inertia that keeps it moving forward the way it always has, at least until it’s challenged. The reason NPB is going to accept this is because the union is likely holding a gun to its head.

When talks began on this subject a year ago, there was hope it could be implemented in 2020, but the coronavirus intervened, preventing NPB from instituting its version of MLB’S Rule 5 draft. According to Nikkan Sports, the plan last year focused on each team nominating eight players for the draft so that they might find teams willing to give them more playing time.

“The association is proposing setting specific qualifications in terms of service time in days and years, but that is the area where the two sides are farthest apart,” said Tadahito Mori, the association’s secretary general. “I would like to have it implemented this season.”

That, however, seems unlikely. Although the teams are not unwilling to talk, they don’t seem to have much interest in moving forward while the coronavirus pandemic remains a concern. But, NPB is just stalling.

The reason the union is going to get what it wants is that NPB already has a draft for players that teams have no plans for, called the Selection Draft. It is still on the books, and I see the new “breakthrough draft” as a way for NPB to negotiate its way out of a rule it wished didn’t exist but does.

The Selection Draft is supposed to be held within seven to 10 days after the new player draft, and each team is required to make one fifth of its roster available for other teams to pick through and claim if they so choose for the cost of one-year’s salary and up to 2 million yen, plus consumption tax, currently 10 percent.

I can easily see the union going to owners and say, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Give us a draft that suits our purposes, or we’ll force you to do the one that’s currently on the books.”

In my experience, Japanese unions make their biggest breakthroughs in Japan when companies are careless about their own rules. When I was an indentured servant at Yomiuri, the union reached a settlement in the area of $270,000 – not because of the blatantly hideous labor policies that really existed but because of a poorly worded contract that represented a trivial violation of the law.

To avoid a court case and a much costlier settlement the company agreed to pay its contract staff two years of overtime and night pay it had been holding back and never would have paid without the trivial contractual miss-step.

Returning to baseball, this is just the latest example of NPB’s not really knowing what its own rules are. We’ve seen over and over the gaps that exist between the way the owners insist the game works and the way NPB’s own rules are actually written.

The owners “knew” Hideo Nomo couldn’t just retire and play in the States. Then they knew that agents were not allowed to represent players in contract negotiations. But those were just things owners said that had no basis in reality.

So as unlikely as it may seem, I suspect that either the players association is going to get its draft THIS YEAR or the owners are going to once more face up to their own incompetence.

NPB 2020 Nov. 4

Through their first 16 games, the Lotte Marines have been the SoftBank Hawks’ worst nightmare, but all that appears to be changing.

Wednesday’s games

Other news

Senga goes to top of class

Kodai Senga (11-6) got a late start to the season but qualified for the Pacific League’s ERA title with eight innings in the SoftBank Hawks’ 2-0 win on Wednesday at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium, over the Lotte Marines, who fell into third place, a game behind the Seibu Lions for the final playoff spot.

The Hawks’ win left them tied in their season series against Lotte after the three-time defending Japan Series champs starting the season 4-11-1 against the Marines.

With nine strikeouts over eight innings, Senga now leads the league with a 2.16 ERA and is tied with Orix’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto for the strikeout lead with 149 and tied with Hideaki Wakui for the lead in wins.

The Hawks scored on solo homers by Alfredo Despaigne, his sixth, and Ryoya Kurihara, his 17th, off former major leaguer Chen Wei-yin (0-3), and have now beaten the Marines in seven straight games. Yuito Mori notched his 32nd save.

Spangenberg, Lions feast on rookie Yoshida

Corey Spangenberg homered for the second straight night and drove in four runs as the Seibu Lions tattooed rookie Kosei Yoshida (0-2) for eight runs over two innings in a 10-3 win over the Nippon Ham Fighters at MetLife Dome.

Zach Neal (6-8) allowed three runs over five innings to pick up the win. Shuta Tonosaki homered, drove in two runs and scored three, and Reed Garrett worked a scorless inning of relief for the Lions.

Buffaloes bounce Eagles

The Orix Buffaloes broke an eighth-inning tie with two runs off Alan Busenitz (1-4) in an 8-7 win at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome over the Rakuten Eagles, who fell 3-1/2 games out of the final playoff spot with four games left to play.

Orix lit up Hideaki Wakui for six runs over five innings before the visitors came back to tie it.

Endo goes distance for Carp

Atsushi Endo (5-6) threw a four-hitter for the Hiroshima Carp in a 5-1 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Hiroshima’s Mazda Stadium.

Hisayoshi Chono went 2-for-3 with two walks a homer three RBIs and his first stolen base since he was with the Giants two years ago, while Jose Pirela had three hits for the Carp.

Giants captain Hayato Sakamoto went 0-for-4 to remain three hits shy of 2,000 in his career.

Fujinami goes 6 scoreless innings in Tigers’ win

Shintaro Fujinami overcame three two-out walks to go six scoreless innings in the Hanshin Tigers’ 3-2 walkoff win over the Yakult Swallows at Koshien Stadium.

Yusuke Oyama homered in the ninth off Yugo Umeno (4-2) to end it and make a winner out of closer Robert Suarez (3-1) after the Swallows tied it with single runs in the seventh, off Suguru Iwazaki, and in the eighth, off Jon Edwards.

Takahashi lifts Dragons over ‘Stars

Dragons captain Shuhei Takahashi scored twice and hit a tie-breaking eighth-inning home run in a 5-4 win at Nagoya Dome after the DeNA BayStars tied it on home runs by Neftali Soto and Jose Lopez.

Soto’s 25th made it a 4-1 game in the fifth and Lopez’s 12th, with two on, tied it in the sixth.

Kodai Senga fastest NPB starter to 1,000 Ks

SoftBank Hawks right-hander Kodai Senga, whose family name literally means “1,000 celebrations,” notched his 1,000th strikeout in his 855-1/3 inning on Wednesday night at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

Only Kyuji Fujikawa, the longtime former closer of the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers, who will retire this year, reached 1,000 in fewer innings. Fujikawa notched 92 of his strikeouts in 102 career innings as a starter, but he was primarily used as a reliever whose 243 saves are fourth-most in NPB history.

Senga, however, took over the Pacific League record from Hall of Famer Hideo Nomo. Senga started his career as a reliever and has pitched 82 career innings out of the bullpen. Signed after being taken in the developmental draft, Senga notched his first strikeout on April 30, 2012, fanning Lotte catcher Tomoya Satozaki, who was working the game as an analyst on TV Tokyo.

Kyuji FujikawaHanshin Tigers771-2/3
Kodai SengaSoftBank Hawks855-1/3
Hideo NomoKintetsu Buffaloes913

Active roster moves 11/4/2020

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/14

Central League


GiantsP95Hayato Horioka


GiantsP49Thyago Vieira

Pacific League


HawksOF54Alfredo Despaigne
FightersC68Ryo Ishikawa
BuffaloesP21Daichi Takeyasu


HawksP44Rick van den Hurk
HawksOF4Wladimir Balentien
HawksOF60Go Kamamoto
FightersP35Takahiro Nishimura

Starting pitchers for Nov. 5, 2020

Pacific League

Marines vs Hawks: Zozo Marine Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Manabu Mima (9-4, 4.21) vs Nao Higashihama (9-1, 2.02)

Buffaloes vs Eagles: Kyocera Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Daiki Tajima (4-6, 4.21) vs Wataru Karashima (1-3, 5.46)

Central League

Dragons vs BayStars: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yudai Ono (10-6, 1.91) vs Kentaro Taira (4-5, 2.30)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuki Nishi (11-5, 2.03) vs Yuto Kanakubo (0-0, 0.00)

Carp vs Giants: Mazda Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kazuki Yabuta (1-2, 4.75) vs Angel Sanchez (8-4, 3.05)