Sanspo reports that the Hanshin Tigers are currently taking a look at Matt Thornton as someone to replace Jeff Williams' spot on the roster next year. One problem though: making the finances work.
First, there's the matter of the Chicago White Sox currently controlling Thornton's options for 2010 and 2011. Then there's Thornton's contract: $2.25M in 2010 and $3M in 2011. In all, the Tigers might need close to 400M yen (about US$4.3M) to buy him out from the White Sox and sign him for the 2010 season.
Seems like a fairly big risk to take: regardless of how good a player is in the Majors, solid performance numbers don't always translate well in Japan because there's a lot more involved in the transition: different strike zones, different work-out schedules, cultural differences... And I think it's much tougher for a foreigner to get acclimated to Japanese baseball than it is the other way around (the Japanese culture, by definition, isn't very open).
I can't really see this coming to fruition.
Still, it could be interesting to see someone of Thornton's caliber play in the NPB.