The “kotatsu league” is borrowed from the late great Wayne Graczyk, who used it to describe the offseason player market in a country where families used to spend winter mornings and evenings in the living room sitting around the kotatsu, with hands and feet under the blanket kept toasty warm by the heater under the table.
Moving in Japan
… via free agency
… non-tendered players
Notable players staying put
Contract deadline: Jan. 7, 5 pm EST.
The posting system deadline came and went for Sugano, who reportedly has a four-year deal waiting for him back home with the Giants.
Read the Kyodo News English story
Sugano traveled to the United States, leaving Japan on New Years Day, to confer with agent Josh Wolfe, and ostensibly take a physical prior to completing any deal.
The Yomiuri Giants announced on Dec. 8 they had completed the filing process for Sugano. His posting process has been anything but typical, and virtually every story about his potential move in Japanese has included a reminder that he might well choose to play in Japan in 2021.
There may be MLB scouts out there who don’t think Sugano would be a plus to any major league rotation, but so far, I haven’t heard that. The key word for him is pitchability. He should be decent out of the box and get better from there.
Because of that, Sugano’s probably going to get an offer he won’t want to walk away from.
Kohei Arihara – posted, signed Texas Rangers
Contract: Signed a 2-year contract with the Texas Rangers worth, according to cbs.com, worth $2.6 million in 2021 and $3.6 million in 2022. His 2020 contract was reportedly 145 million yen, about $1.3 million, although Japanese contracts are never made public so that is only the figure the team and player agreed to report.
Contract deadline: Jan. 2, 5 pm EST.
In 2020, Nishikawa played out the final season of a two-year deal that reportedly paid him 200 million yen or roughly $1.8 million a year. He returns to the Fighters, however, his dream unfulfilled for the moment.
He spoke at an event in Sapporo in December in which he admitted hearing reports that his skills won’t play in MLB, but said he has some tricks up his sleeve Sankei Sports reported.
“I’ll be anxious (about the process) from start to finish, and then I’ll probably be anxious after that.”–Nippon Fighters center fielder and leadoff hitter Haruki Nishikawa
Sawamura has reportedly hired Ichiro Suzuki‘s agent John Boggs to represent him, and said he hasn’t ruled out talks with Japanese clubs.
Shoichi Ino– signed Yomiuri Giants
Multiple sources on Friday, Nov. 11, reported Ino has turned down the BayStars and the Yakult Swallows to sign with the Yomiuri Giants for a salary around 100 million yen.
Kajitani has reportedly agreed to a four-year 800 million yen deal with the Yomiuri Giants who will give him No. 13.
Nikkan Sports reported that Ogawa, who this year became the first pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter who had never before struck out 10 batters in a game, has drawn interest from the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters.
Instead, the right-hander decided to stay put with his original club.