Tag Archives: Kazuhisa Ishii

NPB news: Feb. 1, 2023

Spring training starts today, unless you play for the Seibu Lions, who have said their camp will open in Feb. 6 in Miyazaki “because this is a WBC year,” although the logic of that seems to have escaped nearly everyone outside the organization.

Speaking of the WBC, Yu Darvish gave Japan some good news in what has been a spring of uncertainty about when its MLB players will be available. There is also some news about an umpire who decided to make some extra money on the side and who is now out of work, and words from some managers ahead of Japan’s first day of pro baseball training.

Continue reading NPB news: Feb. 1, 2023

NPB news: Nov. 15, 2022

On Tuesday, Japan had a weird trade and its first free agent signing of the autumn.

Weird trade

The Chunichi Dragons, who had the worst offense in Japan for each of the past two years as measured by offensive win shares, traded one of their better players from the past four years, second baseman Toshiki Abe, to the Rakuten Eagles for former ace pitcher Hideaki Wakui, who has had one good season in the past five.

This is a weird trade for two reasons, although not for the Eagles.

The Eagles get a 33-year-old (from December) who can play second or third, and even better, bats right-handed on a largely left-handed-hitting team, while giving up a 36-year-old who is occasionally really good but has a million miles on his arm.

The Dragons, who have one of Japan’s better pitching staffs will get a pitcher they probably will have no role for, so it makes no sense, except that the Dragons do so many things that make no obvious sense that it is fairly on-brand.

The other reason it’s weird is because both of these players have some established value. The rule in Japan is: never trade a player you think has the chance to be good for the other team, because that will be perceived as a mistake.

It’s so weird that one has to think there was a reason Abe had to leave Nagoya. My first guess is that it has to do with family, because he’s from a town in Iwate Prefecture, about 70 kilometers from Sendai.

Eagles manager Kazuhisa Ishii said the trade was initiated by the Dragons, so that’s as good a guess as any.

Seibu loses another free agent

Tomoya Mori added to the list of stars who have fled the domed stadium formerly known as Prince, but unlike their former ace Takayuki Kishi and their former all-star second baseman Hideto Asamura, Mori, the PL’s top catcher opted not for the Rakuten Eagles but to return home to Osaka, where he signed a four-year deal to play for the Orix Buffaloes.

Continue reading NPB news: Nov. 15, 2022