The kotatsu league: Kansai buzz

Tuesday’s news in Japan centered on the Hanshin Tigers and the Orix Buffaloes.

Jefry Marte‘s greatest Hanshin hits from 2019

Marte back for 2020

The Hanshin Tigers provided the real news on Tuesday, by announcing that first baseman Jefry Marte would be back for 2020 after concluding a $1.3 million contract after a debut season in which he posted a .381 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging average.

Marte’s NPB page is HERE.

He was quoted by the team in a press release as vowing to build on his first season by going all out from camp to win the pennant.

Jones in talks with Buffaloes

The Orix Buffaloes have been in talks with veteran big-league outfielder Adam Jones on a multiyear contract according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. Although the Buffaloes and their predecessors, the Orix BlueWave and Hankyu Braves have a history of big performances by foreign players, none have ever come with the kind of experience Jones had prior to arriving in Japan.

The Nikkan Sports indicated one obvious advantage to playing in Japan, being able to compete in the 2020 Olympic baseball tournament, which the majors will “support fully” by preventing its top players from participating.

Rodriguez to Rangers

The Texas Rangers added to their reputation as NPB’s biggest trading partner by signing lefty middle reliever Joely Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth 5.5 million, the Dallas Morning News confirmed after an initial report by MLB Network.

Rodriguez’s English language NPB player page is HERE.

The 28-year-old led the CL in holds and hold points (holds plus relief wins) in 2019. He threw his changeup a lot more in Japan and got a higher percentage of swings and misses, which could be a good sign when he returns to MLB.

Chicago’s Fighters

The Chicago Cubs’ 2020 coaching staff for new manager David Ross via Yahoo Sports, includes former Nippon Ham Fighters Andy Green and Terrmel Sledge. The Cubs also have former Fighter Yu Darvish, and Jim Adduci — whose dad played for the Taiyo Whales in 1987.

Here’s Sledge talking about being an MLB coach and playing in Japan.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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