Welcome to Yakyubaka.com

[11/4/2013] Chiba Lotte Marines’ Shunsuke Watanabe wants to play in the Majors

by on Nov.04, 2013 @ 6:22 pm, under NPB

The Chiba Lotte Marines announced that they will not attempt to sign Shunsuke Watanabe (37) to a contact next year.  They have provided the following statement from the veteran right-hander:

I will be attempting to make it to the Major Leagues.  I am thirty-seven so this will be a difficult attempt, but I have prepared myself for the worst and will give this a shot.  It would make me happy if everyone can watch over me warmly in my endeavors.  Since I was selected in the 2000 draft, for thirteen years fans called out "Shunsuke" each time I took the mound.  I will never forget those moments.  Even once I make to America, I will take the mound with memories of pitching in the midst of the cheering Chiba Lotte Marine fans.  I will remember your cheers and will pitch with confidence.  Lastly, to the Chiba Lotte Marine fans, to various personnel, to those that helped me along the way, thank you very much.  I will do my best.

Watanabe spoke to team officials after the season and told them about his desire to play in the Majors.  The Marines decided to support him by allowing him to become a free agent.

Source: official announcement, Daily Sports 11/4/2013

UPDATE 11/5 @ 12:10am -

Sports Hochi has posted portions of the press conference he held at QVC Marine on Monday.

What made you decide to try for the Majors?

Do not really know.  It just sort of came to be, all of a sudden.

What about your family?

They were surprised.  My wife told me that it was ok for me to follow my dreams because I worked hard [for the family].

On being a submarine pitcher.

There are a number of submarine pitchers in the majors and I used them as a frame of reference.  I some times imagined their success as mine.

What now?

I want to prepare myself so that I can go anywhere and do anything a team might ask of me.

Anything for the Lotte fans?

They called out "Shunsuke" each time I took the mound.  I will never forget that feeling.  Thank you for all your support.  I really appreciate it.

Source: Sports Hochi 11/4/2013

UPDATE 11/5 @ 9:15pm -

Watanabe will be represented by Don Nomura.  The veteran is apparently open to minor league deals and spring invites, so long as there is even a small chance to pitch in the Majors.

Source: Sponichi 11/5/2013

===

Shunsuke Watanabe

Year Team G W L SV CG SHO BF IP H HR BB HB SO WP BK R ER ERA
2001 Lotte 13 2 2 0 1 1 211 50.2 41 5 23 3 31 0 0 18 15 2.66
2002 Lotte 8 0 3 0 0 0 155 34.0 41 6 12 6 26 1 0 26 24 6.35
2003 Lotte 20 9 4 0 6 0 566 140.0 114 19 31 9 74 0 0 60 57 3.66
2004 Lotte 23 12 6 0 4 0 637 150.1 145 12 42 12 101 0 0 66 60 3.59
2005 Lotte 23 15 4 0 8 3 722 187.0 152 14 27 4 101 0 0 48 45 2.17
2006 Lotte 23 5 11 0 4 0 638 147.0 155 12 35 14 105 0 0 79 71 4.35
2007 Lotte 25 9 6 0 8 2 707 177.0 154 14 34 3 93 1 0 57 48 2.44
2008 Lotte 26 13 8 0 3 2 733 172.2 195 17 29 13 104 1 0 81 80 4.17
2009 Lotte 25 3 13 0 3 0 621 144.1 144 9 46 13 74 0 1 69 65 4.05
2010 Lotte 26 8 8 0 3 0 651 148.1 171 10 45 7 63 1 0 77 74 4.49
2011 Lotte 24 7 9 0 1 0 566 132.0 139 11 39 6 43 1 0 58 54 3.68
2012 Lotte 13 4 4 0 1 0 302 69.2 80 7 13 2 22 0 0 36 34 4.39
2013 Lotte 6 0 4 0 0 0 125 25.1 34 2 9 4 9 0 0 19 13 4.62
    255 87 82 0 42 8 6634 1578.1 1565 138 385 96 846 5 1 694 640 3.65

9 comments on “[11/4/2013] Chiba Lotte Marines’ Shunsuke Watanabe wants to play in the Majors

  1. muratafan

    With all due respect, I totally agree. Why on earth would he try now? I suppose he could be a spot reliever (at best) and get a minor league contract.

    1. Patrick Wilson

      pitching is always in demand…

      but I think he had problems staying at ichi-gun for two years…

      probably the same faith of Kobayashi (Angels camp), released.

  2. Steve Novosel

    Folks, you’re missing the real point here. He knows he likely can’t get a job in the US. Everyone knows this. But he’s not happy with his current situation so he’s exercising his Int FA option to get out with the likely end result of ending up on another team in NPB.

    It’s just a way of leaving the team that’s respectful to the fans.

    1. muratafan

      Now THIS makes sense. Thanks for the heads up.

      The only part I don’t understand is this: if everyone knows it, don’t the fans kind of feel insulted by the charade? In other words, if Watanabe never even leaves for America, won’t the fans just kind of ‘figure it out’ on their own?

      Or is this a case of Kabuki theater played out in NPB and that both the club and Watanabe save face? I could kind of see that, especially with how the Ibata salary negotiations went with Chunichi. Also, given how Lotte’s management is not exactly ‘fan friendly’ (remember the ‘fans are like carp and they will eat anything we throw at them’ comment?), it makes a little more sense as well.

      1. Steve Novosel

        Shunsuke is like Fukuura or Satozaki – there’s nothing he’s going to do to make the fans love him less. He’s in that untouchable class.

        I do think he is genuinely interested in a move to the US. I don’t think it’s pure theater. He’s surely going to give it a shot.

        I suspect his salary negotiations went so poorly (as he is one of the higher paid pitchers) that he felt he had nothing to lose by trying a move knowing the likely result would be at best a minor league/independent league contract. But surely even that is pretty unlikely for a 37 year old specialty pitcher, right? More likely is just a move to a different team here.

Comments are closed.