It is official.
The Softbank Hawks will be losing three of their front-line starting pitchers this winter: Tsuyoshi Wada (Baltimore Orioles), Toshiya Sugiuchi (Yomiuri Giants), and D.J. Houlton (Yomiuri Giants).
That is a trio of arms that went 43-18 last season, which is close to half the 88 victories the team won (all three also averaged about 12-13 victories over the last three seasons).
The Hawks still have Tadashi Settsu (14-8, 2.79 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) and Kazuyuki Hoashi (9-6, 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) will be joining the team. That gives them two definite starters for the rotation.
The rest of the rotation will likely be filled out by pitchers like Hiroki Yamada (17 G, 17 GS, 7-7, 2.85 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), Sho Iwasaki (13 G, 13 GS, 6-2, 2.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP), Shota Oba (13 G, 8 GS, 7-2, 2.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), and Kenji Otanari (9 G, 4 GS, 3-0, 2.34 ERA, 0.75 WHIP).
I'm guessing the Hawks will also probably search for another foreign starter, but it won't be easy replacing Houlton.