Tag Archives: Robert Suarez

The kotatsu league: Buffaloes Jonesing for proven big-league power

The Orix Buffaloes announced Tuesday they had signed veteran major league outfielder Adam Jones to a two-year deal, according to Kyodo News. Junichi Fukura, the Pacific League club’s general manager, said he expects the 34-year-old to be able to adjust to Japan’s game.

Here’s Jones’ agent, Nez Balelo, talking at the baseball winter meetings about his client’s move:

Nez Balelo: “We didn’t kick around Andruw Jones.”

“A lot of foreign batters struggle with inside pitches, but from the video we’ve seen, it appears he can handle those,” Fukura told reporters at the baseball winter meetings in San Diego.

The contract is reported as being worth $8 million.

HERE’s a link to my review of veteran major-league home run hitters coming to Japan and playing more than one season.

Akiyama, Kikuchi in town for winter meetings

Free agent outfielder Shogo Akiyama arrived at the site of the winter meetings on Tuesday, while Mike Seal, the agent for Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi revealed to Kyodo News that his client, too, is in San Diego with roughly three weeks to go before the deadline for Kikuchi to sign a contract.

DeNA BayStars outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, whose posting period will end this week, is also currently in southern California.

Johnson takes his leave of Tigers

Right-handed reliever Pierce Johnson will not return to the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers for a second season, the Daily Sports reported on Tuesday.

Here’s Johnson’s NPB player page.

Johnson’s 40 holds was third in NPB behind Pacific League leader Naoki Miyanishi of the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 43, and Chunichi Dragons lefty Joely Rodriguez‘s 41. Rodriguez has since agreed to a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Johnson’s curveball was rated by Delta Graphs as the most effective of any right-handed pitcher with over 40 innings last season, while his four-seam fastball was well above average.

According to the Daily Sports report, his agent, John Boggs, said he was in talks with nine to 10 big-league clubs.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have reached an agreement to sign pitcher Robert Suarez, who was released by the SoftBank Hawks.

The kotatsu league: Moves aplenty

Tigers announce Bour agreement

The Hanshin Tigers announced Thursday that they have come to terms with Justin Bour. The team’s director of baseball operations, Osamu Tanimoto said, “He reminds one of (two-time triple crown batter Randy) Bass.”

@thehanshintiger might have said: “Welcome to the monkey house”

The comparison is not utterly without merit since both came to Hanshin as left-handed hitters with some pop who drew walks, but their ages and career paths prior to signing with Hanshin are so different.

Kyodo News Plus’ story is HERE.

Unlike Bass, who was at the age of 21 one of the best Triple-A hitters in America and then got better, Bour came out of college and didn’t make it to Triple-A until he was 26. The following year he had 446 plate appearances for the Marlins. Bass had 366 plate appearances over six major league seasons, most coming in his Age 27 season with the San Diego Padres in 1981.

It’s not hard to look at Bour’s major league career and see Bass doing the same or even a little better. Of course Bass came to Japan at the age of 29, while Bour is nearly two years older.

Bass’ Japanese batting stats are HERE, in Japanese unfortunately.

Although Bass took a couple of years to really master the Japanese strike zone, he had two seasons when he walked more often than he struck out — something that had been routine for him in the minors.

I’m not saying Bour has no chance to be nearly as good, but Bass — whose bid for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame is gaining momentum in the expert’s division, is a fairly optimistic target.

Sugano wants 20 wins before moving to majors

Kyodo News reported that Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano has set a target of 20 wins for next season after a 2019 campaign that was marred by injury and ended his bid for an unprecedented third straight Sawamura Award. The Kyodo News story as published by Nikkei Shimbun is HERE.

Sugano’s player profile is HERE.

“I want to try and win 20 games,” he said after signing his 2020 contract. “I understand what I am capable of, and I think it’s important to go into the offseason having set oneself such an issue to attend to.”

On Wednesday, Giants owner Toshikazu Yamaguchi left the door open a crack for the possibility that Sugano could be posted, even while asserting that the club has not changed its official policy of rejecting the posting system altogether.

Yamaguchi said, “The case of (pitcher Shun) Yamaguchi was an individual exception…Sugano, of course, sat out a year as an amateur (to sign with the Giants) and so that is something that could be taken into consideration.”

On Thursday, Sugano said, “My desire (to go to MLB) remains unchanged. But my focus is on next year. I want to take care of that business, aim for a championship, and after that, I expect there will be various discussions.”

No such luck for Senga

Asked whether the Giants move to discuss posting had changed the landscape for his team, SoftBank Hawks owner Masayoshi Son, said in essence, “No, no, and hell no.”

“Why should we do anything that’s not in the team’s best interest.”

This does not bode well for star right-hander Kodai Senga, who will not be able to file for international free agency until Nov. 2024 at the earliest, — when two months before he turns 32. Although some said hell had frozen over when the Giants posted Yamaguchi, it seem

Hawks ditch Miranda, Suarez

The SoftBank Hawks announced Thursday they will not offer contracts to to left-hander Ariel Miranda and right-hander Robert Suarez. Suarez had been a bullpen workhorse in 2016, but has not been as effective after needing elbow surgery after the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

After eight impressive starts in 2018, Miranda was much less effective this season over 18 games.