Making use of Twitter, he said, for the first time, new Texas Rangers pitcher Kohei Arihara left Japan for the United States on Sunday — see the translation below.
“I’m Kohei Arihara of the Texas Rangers, and I’m now departing for America, and I’ve begun using Twitter. Because of the coronavirus, it is a very difficult situation, I feel incredibly happy because I’m able to realize my dream of challenging myself in the major leagues. Although I am anxious about various things, I am going to give it my all. Here I go.”
— new Texas Rangers pitcher Kohei Arihara via Twitter
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The Nippon Ham Fighters have agreed to post ace pitcher Kohei Arihara and center fielder Haruki Nishikawa, both 28, Sports Nippon first reported Tuesday, news that has since been confirmed by multiple outlets.
The Fighters are one of the Pacific League’s two minor powers over the past decade, but unlike their growth spurt after posting Yu Darvish, the team has skidded since sending Shohei Ohtani to the majors in 2018. Now they will lose a quality leadoff man — if someone takes Nishikawa — and their best pitcher, Arihara.
Japanese teams used to be able to decline insufficient posting fees but have since signed away those rights to MLB, so their only return in a soft market for Japanese position players is going to be minimal.
Arihara should net them around $10 million in fees when all is said and done.
The Fighters are in an interesting position. The team is not positioned to win for the next few years, and they will open their own stadium in 2023. Once they leave Sapporo Dome, the club will turn into a money-making machine, that could fund massive development and allow them to challenge the SoftBank Hawks, something they are incapable of at this instant.
The Seibu Lions have also invested heavily in infrastructure around the team’s home base in Saitama Prefecture on the western outskirts of Tokyo. That will likely keep the Lions from tumbling to where the Fighters are now, but their stadium’s location is always going to be a bottleneck for future success.
With Arihara and Nishikawa going into the December posting market, and Lotte Marines right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa taking a pass, that leaves Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano left as the big name yet to decide. There has been chatter about Marines reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, and MLB teams ARE interested in his wild, fastball-forkball arsenal, but Sugano is the prize if he and the Giants decide the time is right.
Sugano will be an international free agent a year from now, and the Giants would love to keep him around to help at a third straight Japan Series defeat, I mean birth, but in the way few MLB teams and fans would understand, the Giants owe him the chance to go if he likes.
Sugano pitched OK in Game 1 of the Japan Series on Saturday, and the game could easily have gone the other way, but if you want to see the real deal, watch him in the 2017 WBC semifinal against the United States.
The Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association asked Monday if NPB could revise its player-entry procedures to account for players who begin their pro careers abroad following the abolition of its awful Tazawa Rule.
According to the Nikkan Sports, the union wants Japanese nationals who turn pro overseas to be treated in the same manner as imported players, who can negotiate to sign with a team of their choosing for whatever they can get.
NPB rules require Japanese nationals and non-citizens who finished their amateur careers in Japan to sign their first NPB contracts only after being selected in the annual new-player draft.
Even players with extensive major league experience can only enter NPP through the draft and then are subject to NPB’s salary structure. These limit first-year player salaries to15 million yen, roughly $160,000, along with a maximum signing bonus of 100 million yen ($950,000) and 50 million yen in incentives.
A Japanese national, such as Gosuke Kato, who has never lived in Japan but has played pro ball in his U.S. homeland for years, can only enter NPB on the same terms as an amateur in Japan. The was true for Mac Suzuki and more recently Junichi Tazawa. Had the draft rules been different, and had he not been banned from playing in NPB because of the Tazawa rule, Tazawa could have picked up his career this summer in NPB instead of turning to an independent minor league team.
Fighters to talk posting Arihara, Nishikawa
A pair of the Nippon Ham Fighters’ top players, ace right-hander Kohei Arihara, and centerfielder Haruki Nishikawa, reiterated their desire to move to the major leagues this winter via the posting system, Sponichi Annex reported.
Arihara’s 2020 season was in many ways the same as his 2019 second half, after he was unstoppable in the first half. He posted an 8-9 record and saw his ERA rise by a run.
Nishikawa, the ultimate Japanese slap-hitting up-the-middle defender, posted a career-high .430 on-base-percentage, largely because his .372 BABIP was near his career high and his batting average rose with it to .307.
Hawks exploit Lions rookie to gift Ishikawa
Nobuhiro Matsuda and Yuki Yanagita homered off Seibu Lions rookie Hiromasa Saito (0-1) in a three-run third inning, allowing Shuta Ishikawa (11-3) the chance to earn his 11th win as the SoftBank Hawks won 6-2 at PayPay Dome on Monday.
Matt Moore allowed a run over three innings, while Seibu starter Kona Takahashi threw two scoreless innings he needed to qualify among the league ERA leaders. Matsuda then tied it by leading off the third and Yangita put the Hawks ahead for good with his 29th home run, a two-run shot. By preserving the lead for three innings, Ishikawa tied for the league wins lead with SoftBank ace Kodai Senga and Hideaki Wakui of the Rakuten Eagles. The wins title is Wakui’s fourth and his first since 2015.
Senga and Ishikawa both won for the first time and became the first NPB pitchers to lead their league in wins after entering pro ball on non-roster developmental contracts. Senga also tied for the league-lead in strikeouts, while clinching the ERA title. Ishikawa posted the PL’s best winning percentage, .786.
Ukyo Shuto became the first Hawk to steal 50 bases in a season since 2011, the year the Hawks won the first of their six Japan Series titles during the 2010s.
Fighters end with win
Catcher Yushi Shimizu homered and drove in three runs to help the Nippon Ham Fighters erase an early deficit in a 7-4 come-from-behind season-ending win over the playoff-bound Lotte Marines at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
The Marines, who will open the playoffs in Fukuoka on Saturday, finished second for the first time since 2007.
Active roster moves 11/9/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/19
Wataru Matsumoto (6-6) and four relievers held the SoftBank Hawks to a run on hour hits and no walks in the Seibu Lions’ 3-1 Pacific League win at MetLife Dome on Sunday to move to within 1-1/2 games of the second-place Lotte Marines, who came from behind to tie the Eagles 3-3.
Shunsuke Kasaya (4-4) walked four and hit one, and three of those five free passes scored as the Hawks saw their six-game win streak end. The Hawks jumped out to 1-0 lead after Taisei Makihara’s leadoff double.
Takumi Kurihara singled in the tying run in the first for the Lions and contributed to Seibu’s third-inning go-ahead run with his second single. Takeya Nakamura drove in Seibu’s final runs, with a hard-hit ball the Hawks did well to get an out on and a double.
Marines come back to tie Eagles
The Lotte Marines’ Ikuhiro Kiyota hit a two-run first-inning home run and singled in the seventh to set up the tying run and complete the scoring in a 3-3 10-inning tie against the fourth-place Rakuten Eagles at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.
Kazuhisa Makita took over for the Eagles in the seventh with one out and two on. He walked Seiya Inoue to load the bases and surrendered Hisanori Yasuda’s game-tying single before pitching out of trouble.
Yuki Matsui took the mound in the ninth for the Eagles and prevented a loss by throwing two scoreless innings.
Nomura, Arihihara beat Buffaloes
Kohei Arihara (8-9) allowed a run in five innings and Yuki James Nomura drove in four runs with a single and a triple to pace the Nippon Ham Fighters to a 7-1 win over the Orix Buffaloes at Sapporo Dome.
Twenty-one-year-old Orix starter Hitomi Honda (0-1) gave up seven runs, three earned, in four innings in his pro debut.
BayStars win 2nd virus test
For the second straight day, the DeNA BayStars threw open the doors to Yokohama Stadium as 24,537 on Friday and 27,850 on Saturday became the first normal-sized crowds to watch a sporting event in Japan since February. Although asked to refrain from cheering and chanting, the home fans got to witness their team come from behind in a 6-5 walk-off win over the Hanshin Tigers.
The stadium is scheduled to be the main venue for softball and baseball when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics start in July 2021.
Just think. The rest of the world can put 2020 behind them when January arrives, but Tokyo will still be advertising “Tokyo 2020” on banners all over the metropolis through much of 2021 to remind of this shit storm of a year—at least until the whole thing is canceled and those banners go the way of the money wasted to secure this fiasco in the first place.
In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, in which people were crammed together to test the effectiveness of removing social distance, the Tigers showed that they could load the bases and not pose a threat to the BayStars, juicing the bags in the fifth, eighth and ninth without a run to show for it.
Otherwise, Neftali Soto, who likely won’t win a third straight CL home run title, hit his 23rd and 24th, closer Kazuki Mishima (2-1) earned the win for the hosts and Takayuki Kajitani singled in the game-winner off Jon Edwards (0-1).
Jerry Sands doubled twice and drove in a run for the Tigers, and Jefry Marte singled in a run in the Tigers’ four-run seventh.
Giants scrape past Swallows
Seishu Hatake (4-4) threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and Albert Suarez (4-4) allowed an unearned run in five innings to take the loss in the Yomiuri Giants’ 2-1 win over the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome.
Rookie right-hander Masato Morishita (10-3) pitched out of a couple of tight spots to go eight innings in the Hiroshima Carp’s 3-0 win at Nagoya Dome over the Chunichi Dragons. Geronimo Franzua finished up for his 18th save.
Dragons starter Yuya Yanagi (5-7) allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out 11 over 6-2/3 innings to take the loss.
Active roster moves 11/1/2020
Deactivated players can be re-activated from 11/11