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.
- Cy Sneed P Swallows
- Jose Osuna IF Swallows
- Domingo Santana IF Swallows
- Robbie Erlin P Fighters
- Mike Gerber OF Dragons
- Randy Rosario P Dragons
- Ronny Rodriguez P Fighters
- Mel Rojas Jr OF Tigers
- Raul Alcantara P Tigers
- Brandon Dixon IF Eagles
- Adam Conley P Eagles
- Fernando Romero P BayStars
- Eric Thames 1B/OF Giants
- Justin Smoak 1B Giants
- Colin Rea P Softbank Hawks
- Kohei Arihara RHP Fighters: 2-year contract with Texas Rangers
- Hirokazu Sawamura RHP Marines: 2-plus year deal with Boston Red Sox.
Moving in Japan
… via free agency
… non-tendered players
- Seiichi Uchikawa 1B Hawks to Swallows
- Atsushi Nomi LHP Tigers to Buffaloes
- Ren Kajiya RHP Hawks to Tigers
- Kosuke Fukudome OF Tigers to Dragons
- Stefen Romero OF Eagles to Orix
- Kodai Miyadai LHP Fighters to Swallows
- Nick Martinez RHP Fighters to Hawks
Notable players staying put
- Tomoyuki Sugano RHP Giants – posted, did not sign MLB contract
- Yudai Ono LHP Dragons
- Tetsuto Yamada 2B Swallows
- Taichi Ishiyama RHP Swallows
- Tatsushi Masuda RHP Lions – free agent
- Yasuhiro Ogawa RHP Swallows – free agent
- Frank Herrmann RHP Marines – non-tendered, re-signed
- Robert Suarez RHP Tigers – non-tendered, re-signed
- Haruki Nishikawa OF Fighters – posted, did not sign MLB contract
- Takahiro Matsunaga LHP Marines – free agent
Tomoyuki Sugano – posted, unsigned
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.
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.
- Sugano and the posting system
- Sugano’s jballallen.com profile
- Sports info solutions blog – a nice scouting report
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.
Haruki Nishikawa – posted, unsigned
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
Hirokazu Sawamura – free agent
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.
Takayuki Kajitani – signed Yomiuri Giants
Kajitani has reportedly agreed to a four-year 800 million yen deal with the Yomiuri Giants who will give him No. 13.
Yasuhiro Ogawa – re-signed Yakult Swallows
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.