NPB Roundup 12/7: Fujikawa set to begin training in LA; Eagles announce Childers and Rasner signings
Sanspo: The Rakuten Eagles officially announced that they have signed Darrell Rasner and Matt Childers. Rasner gets a 1 year deal worth 100M yen and the number 17. Childers gets a 1 year deal worth 50M yen and the number 50. Both deals include a club option for a second year.
Sanspo: The Tigers are negotiating an extension with Jeff Williams. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound as if things are going very smoothly. The two sides have come to an agreement on the years (a multi-year deal), but can't seem to come to an agreement on the price. Williams made 232M yen this past season and is thought to want at least 280M yen next season. At 37, the Tigers are both worried about his age and his knees.
Sponichi: The Lotte Marines are bringing Brian Sikorski back next season. He gets a 1-year deal worth 75M yen plus bonuses. The Marines may be looking to him as a starter next season. The last time Sikorski was back in 2005 for the Marines.
Sponichi: Hisashi Iwakuma is currently negotiating his 2009 salary with the Rakuten Eagles. Iwakuma made 110M yen this past season and will most likely see a large increase in his salary for 2009 based on current market conditions (Darvish - 270M yen; Ishii - 280M yen). When asked what he thought he said, "It's not the American Dream, but there's nothing wrong with a Japanese Dream." Iwakuma also wouldn't mind a multi-year deal.
Incidentally, Iwakuma picked up another award yesterday: The 2008 Battery Award. This is an award sponsored by Sponichi and is handed out to the top pitcher and catcher combo from each league. Iwakuma and Akihito Fujii took the honors for the PL while Seth Greisinger and Shinnosuke Abe took the honors for the CL.
Daily Sports: Kyuji Fujikawa is heading to Los Angeles as part of his off-season training regime. He will begin practicing with an MLB regulation ball in preparation of the WBC. "I'm going to Los Angeles. It's easier to pitch there. And it'll allow me to get used to the environment. If we get past the preliminaries [in the WBC], that could be a help. The biggest difference is how dry it is over there. So getting used to the climate would be a plus too. Of course, those aren't the only reason why I'm going -- it's about killing two birds with one stone. ... The facilities [where I'm going] are apparently very good and used often by other ballplayers. I should be able to do a lot of running and I'm hoping to be able to try out new things over there. ... Time with my family is really important so they will be coming with me."
Fujikawa also made a comment on the differences between the WBC and MLB balls (Sponichi): "The WBC ball is much easier to throw than the MLB ball. I feel like [the WBC ball] sticks in my hand better." He will be practicing with an MLB regulation ball during his practice session in LA.
He also had this to say about going to the Majors (Daily Sports): "I want the Japanese kids to regain interest in the NPB. So there are things I need to do here. It's not that I don't want to go to the Majors, it's just that I'm not interested in going right now."
Sports Hochi: The Rakuten Eagles are looking at entering some sort of partnership with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions out of the CPBL. The deal will apparently not only open doors for front office exchanges, but also player development exchanges and exhibition matches as well.
Sports Hochi: The Yokohama Bay Stars are taking a look at Tom Mastny. The two sides are reportedly close to finalizing a deal.