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[9/19/2013] Yakult Swallows: Wladimir Balentien interested in returning to the majors

by on Sep.19, 2013 @ 1:09 pm, under MLB, NPB

According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry SchulmanWladimir Balentien is interested in returning to the major leagues.

The Giants have a great connection with Balentien. He is from Curacao and has known batting coach Hensley Meulens for years. Meulens managed the 29-year-old outfielder with the Netherlands in this year’s World Baseball Classic and they text every day, mostly small talk and encouragement.

"He wants to come back," Meulens said. "That's what he told me two or three weeks ago. His dream is to come back and play in the major-leagues."

There is one hitch, and it's a big one. Balentien signed a three-year contract with the Swallows before this season, his third in Japan, which means he will not be a free agent until the end of 2015.

... "We've talked about him, but nobody knows how to go about it, to get out of the contract," Meulens said. The conversations have been more theoretical and have not involved general manager Brian Sabean.

The Yakult Swallows apparently have no interest in letting him go.

From Sponichi: "There were reports about a major league team signing him for several billion yen after his deal [with Yakult] ends and I think the current story is an extension of that.  We have him properly signed to a contract," Yakult team president Tsuyoshi Kinugasa said.

The Swallows exercised their option on Balentien for the 2013 season.  They also signed him to a three-year deal that kicks in after this season.  That means he will not become a free agent until after the 2016 season.

Incidentally, with regards to his salary this year, it is reportedly worth eighty million yen plus performance bonuses that could max the total out at about 130 million yen.

Source: Sponichi 9/19/2013, Shukan Gendai 9/17/2013