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Hanshin Tigers looking at Matt Thornton?

by on Sep.09, 2009 @ 5:54 am, under NPB

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.