To clarify on Hisashi Iwakuma: he met one GM in person and spoke to several over the phone during his visit to the US earlier this month. He also got a physical and had time to check out some schools with his eight-year-old daughter Uta.
And the two most important things for Iwakuma: playing for a team that needs him and finding a location where his family can live comfortably.
Aoki will probably end up staying in Milwaukee for about ten days in January. Upon returning, he will head out to Okinawa to continue his training with players like Tsuyoshi Ueda.
Sponichi reports that the Boston Red Sox are going hard after Hiroki Kuroda. Sponichi also mentions that the Red Sox maybe to tossing around a one-year deal worth around US$13M.
Bobby Valentine was a guest on WEII's Mut & Merloni show on Wednesday and had this to say about Daisuke Matsuzaka:
"When I saw Daisuke, I spoke Japanese and he spoke English. How about that for a conversation? Everything was communicated that had to be communicated at the time. To be very truthful with you, watching Daisuke from a afar, I felt that he tried to use his fastball too much. I felt that he limited his selection of pitches from what I had seen from him a few years ago, that he became a fastball/slider pitcher, basically, when I saw him on TV, which was nothing like the pitcher I saw when he was being one of the best pitchers in Japan. I'm going to try to get him to pitch the way he understands he can be successful, and not the way the guys on the TV or the radio, guys in the clubhouse, or even maybe some guys on the coaching staff might envision him to be. I want him to just be as good as he can be. And I think that's not being a fastball pitcher. I think that's using the fastball so that the rest of his pitches are getting set up."
Sponichi makes note of an ESPN Insider article that asked ten MLB evaluators to compare Yu Darvish to Ricky Nolasco, Ian Kennedy, Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander. Verlander beat Darvish out, 10-0 while Darvish was tied 5-5 with Greinke. He did beat out Kennedy (7-3) and Nolasco (10-0).