Tag Archives: SoftBank Hawks

Rodriguez: Defects in the system

Yariel Rodriguez, 26, is reportedly in the Dominican Republic seeking a contract with an MLB team, while Cuba’s baseball federation claims he is under control of the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League through 2024.

On the surface, this appears to be cut and dried but is complicated by Japanese teams’ habit of occasionally playing fast and loose with contract details.

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If things are as the FCB and the Dragons say they are, then Rodriguez is unlikely to be allowed to sign with anyone until Chunichi releases him, something that is unlikely to happen without Cuba’s approval. That process would likely play out like it did for Oscar Colas, who between his last at-bat for Japan’s SoftBank Hawks, and his contract with the Chicago White Sox, spent two seasons in limbo.

In December, Chunichi Sports reported an announcement by the FCB that the 26-year-old’s contract with the Dragons had been extended for two years, so Japan’s media is taking the Dragons and the FCB at their word that Rodriguez’s signature is on the contract.

My colleague Claudio Rodriguez of Beisbol Japones.com has supplied this photo of Rodriguez’s signing ceremony:

My dealings with Colas and his contracts and documents with the Hawks painted a picture of both Cuban officials and Hawks hirelings cutting corners because they held all the cards and are unused to scrutiny. Signatures on different documents didn’t remotely match, Colas’ mother’s signature on his first contract – necessary because he was a minor – was misspelled.

Continue reading Rodriguez: Defects in the system

A small step for Tanaka

At Nagoya Dome, Masahiro Tanaka allowed two runs over four innings of relief on Saturday as headlines trumpeted his “preseason game debut” as opposed to his practice game debut from two weeks earlier. Welcome to my world of nonsense.

Tanaka struck out six in his 70-pitch outing in a game in which he spent most of his time working on his slider until he got it right in the Rakuten Eagles’ 2-1 loss to the Chunichi Dragons.

“I used to be basically a slider pitcher. When I was able to get a tighter break on it, I could get swinging strikes,” he said, according to Nikkan Sports.

Manager Kazuhisa Ishii said, “He’s improving step by step. He’s not quite there with his mechanics, but I think he’ll be at a high level before long.”

And teams are now playing preseason games in front of fans for the first time since the end of last February. Here are some of the highlights from Saturday.

Buffaloes’ rookie looks good

In Yokohama, rookie Orix lefty Hiroya Miyagi, the Buffaloes’ first pick out of high school in 2019, struck out three and walked two in five scoreless innings in 5-0 win over the DeNA BayStars. Adam Jones went 2-for-3 with a home run for Orix.

Sasaki gets ready for 1st game

The Lotte Marines are inching closer to letting Roki Sasaki, their flame-throwing first pick from the 2019 draft, actually pitch in a game. On Friday, Sasaki threw in a simulated game.

Osera looks fit in 4 scoreless innings

Daichi Osera, tabbed to start on Opening Day for the Hiroshima Carp after coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September, threw four scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the Yakult Swallows.

Sands homers again against Hawks

Jerry Sands homered for the second straight game for the Hanshin Tigers in their preseason series against the four-time defending Japan Series champion SoftBank Hawks.