The kotatsu league: Eagles land Chargois

The Rakuten Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League announced Thursday they have completed the signing of former Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever J.T. Chargois.

The right-hander, who just turned 29, has relied primarily on his fastball and slider, has been striking out well over one batter per inning in his 60 games out of the Dodgers’ bullpen the past two seasons.

In a Japanese language statement released by the Eagles, Chargois expressed appreciation to Rakuten for giving him this opportunity to take the next step in his career.

“We have signed Chargois in the belief that he will be able to help our chances of winning by pitching in the late innings in relief,” said the Eagles general manager, former Dodger pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii.

“Regarding our reasons for acquiring him, we believe his fastball is strong enough to dominate over the course of an inning. He also has late movement on his breaking ball. He is a fighter who can learn the most important lessons Japan can teach and with that knowledge return to the major leagues. We want him to be a success here.”

The Sendai-based Eagles, who began operating as an expansion franchise in 2005 out of the ashes of the merger of the PL’s Orix Buffaloes and Kintetsu Buffaloes, finished third in the PL last season, but have never finished better than fourth in any even-numbered year.

The Eagles are looking to end that frustrating pattern in 2020 by moving left-handed closer Yuki Matsui to the starting rotation.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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