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Terrmel Sledge to leave Fighters?

by on Nov.08, 2009 @ 2:35 pm, under NPB

It appears as though both Brian Sweeney and Terrmel Sledge may not be returning to the Nippon Ham Fighters next season.  With Ryan Wing and Jason Botts also gone, that would mean the Fighters are letting all their foreign players walk this off-season.  And while I wouldn't classify letting Sweeney, Wing, and Botts walk as bad moves, I'm not quite sure if letting Sledge go is the best way to go about saving money.

According to Sponichi, Sledge's agent is saying it'll take a multi-year deal worth at least 200M yen per season.  That's up from 135M yen this past season.  Based on salaries for this past season, that would make Sledge the third highest player on the roster behind Atsunori Inaba (300M yen) and Yu Darvish (270M yen).

That might seem like a lot of money, considering Tony Blanco just went for 165M yen, but it's also far less than what Tuffy Rhodes (320M yen) and Alex Cabrera (300M yen) were paid this past season.

Let's take a look at the numbers Sledge put up this season:

He led his team in home runs (27), RBI (88), and SLG (.529).  He also walked 58 times (3rd on the team) and had a .359 OBP (4th on the team).  And his .888 OPS was second only to Yoshio Itoi's .901 on the team.  His RC27 also came in at 6.49, third best on the team.

Sledge did also lead the team in strike outs (108), but considering his power output, I think that's a small price to pay.

The only reason why letting Sledge walk might make sense is if the team is banking on stronger output from players like Itoi and Eiichi Koyano next season.  But with Inaba turning 38 and Makoto Kaneko turning 35 next season, is it really smart to subtract Sledge?

The Fighters could also be hoping on finding a cheaper foreign import, but just as Jason Botts showed (as well Kevin Mench with the Tigers), finding a foreign player that can hit well in Japan isn't always an easy task.

2008 Nippon Ham 113 446 395 41 114 21 2 16 187 69 0 1 0 4 44 3 88 12 .289 .473 .361 .838
2009 Nippon Ham 117 487 418 53 111 27 1 27 221 88 1 0 0 5 58 6 108 12 .266 .529 .359 .892
Totals 230 933 813 94 225 48 3 43 408 157 1 1 0 9 102 9 196 24 .277 .502 .360 .865

What are your thoughts?

One comment on “Terrmel Sledge to leave Fighters?

  1. Deanna

    The general consensus of most Fighters fans I’ve talked to seems to be “We’d like Sledge to stay because he is a great hitter and a great guy and he fits in well here and we like him and his teammates like him and he likes it here, but if he demands too much money, we won’t hold it against the team if they let him go.”

    My thought is “WTF ARE YOU THINKING, OF COURSE YOU NEED TO RE-SIGN SLEDGE” but I also know how the Fighters work and they aren’t going to throw a ton of money out there. I don’t think 2-oku would be that ridiculous to pay for him though, and it HAS been really difficult for them to find foreigners that fit in well recently.

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