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12/18/2012: Hiroyuki Nakajima, Chang-Yong Lim, World Baseball Softball Confederation

by on Dec.18, 2012 @ 2:26 pm, under MLB, NPB
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Hiroyuki Nakajima has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Oakland A's.  From an AP report posted at ESPN:

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because there had yet to be a formal announcement. The AL West champion A's called a news conference for Tuesday afternoon described as a "major announcement."

Nakajima agreed to a $6.5 million, two-year contract. The deal also includes a $5.5 million option for a third season, one of the people said.

From the SFGate's Vlae Kershner:

Susan Slusser, who is off today, tweets that industry sources say the A's are likely to explore trade options for SS now that Drew is off the market. The Red Sox offered quite a bit more than the A's, who had Drew for two months in 2012 after a waiver deal with Arizona. Both Drew and the A's declined a $10 million mutual option for 2013, but Drew ends up with slightly more when a $1.35 million buyout from the A’s is included.

And from MLB.com's Jane Lee:

The A's are scheduled to welcome a "special guest" to the Oakland Coliseum by way of a media conference on Tuesday, and MLB.com has learned that it is Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima who will be joining general manager Billy Beane at the podium.

Nakajima and the A's have agreed to a two-year deal that includes an option for 2015, according to sources. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that it is worth $6.5 million, with the third option year worth $5.5 million.

Nakajima has already contacted the Seibu Lions to inform them of the news.  Source: Sponichi 12/18/2012

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The Chicago Cubs reportedly signed former Yakult Swallow Chang-Yong Lim to a two-year split contract.  From WGNRadio.com:

The Chicago Cubs' agreement to sign Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim has been finalized. It is a two-year, split contract, with a much lesser commitment than was originally reported.

Reports from Korea said it was worth $5 million but a Cubs source said Lim signed for $100,000 and will receive minor-league salaries for up to two seasons. Lim was not placed on the 40-man roster.

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NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato's meeting with MLB commissioner Bud Selig has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts.  A meeting was originally scheduled on the 13th, but had to be postponed because Kato was not feeling well.  Source: Sponichi 12/18/2012

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The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the International Softball Federation (ISF) agreed on a new united international federation name.  From the official IBAF website:

Following the historic votes of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), approving the formation of a unified international federation, IBAF and ISF leaders announced the name of the new international federation that will govern both baseball and softball together: the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

12/14/2012: Ichiro Suzuki, Chang-Yong Lim, Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Dec.14, 2012 @ 5:49 pm, under MLB
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Ichiro Suzuki is close to signing a two-year deal with the Yankees. From Newsday's Marc Carig:

... The Yankees made it clear Thursday night that the feeling is mutual. They are on the brink of signing Ichiro to a two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the situation, a surprising development considering the team's desire to cut payroll for the 2014 season. The new contract, reportedly worth about $13 million, could be agreed upon as early as Friday.

The Yankees initially approached Ichiro about a one-year deal, but other suitors such as the Phillies emerged with multiyear offers, according to a source. In response, the Yankees anted up to keep the Japanese star, who looked rejuvenated after his July trade from the Mariners.

And from ESPN's Wallace Matthews:

... According to a baseball source who has been briefed on the negotiations, the Yankees and Ichiro likely will finalize a deal Friday that will pay the outfielder between $12 million and $13 million over two years and will keep him in pinstripes until his 41st birthday.

The source added that Suzuki also was being courted by two other teams, both of which were offering more money than the Yankees. One of the teams was said to be the Philadelphia Phillies, who were offering $14 million for two years, according to the source. The identity of the other team is unknown, but the source said its offer was $15 million for two years. 

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The latest on Chang-Yong Lim and the Chicago Cubs, from CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney:

... Chang-Yong Lim spoke with reporters on Thursday at Incheon International Airport outside Seoul, South Korea, indicating he had a deal that could be worth $5 million over two years.

The Cubs have not commented on the reports, though sources said the money has been overstated, cautioning that if they close the deal, it would be a two-year minor-league contract that contains only a small amount guaranteed. It would not come with a spot on the 40-man roster.

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The media learned that Hiroyuki Nakajima got a tour of Wrigley Field on the 11th (US time).  According to a number of MLB source, Nakajima met Theo Esptein and Jed Hoyer.  Source: Nikkan Sports 12/14/2012

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Hisanori Takahashi is only thinking about playing in the Majors next year.  He likely returned to the US today.  Source: Sanspo 12/14/2012

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Kyuji Fujikawa held a press conference at a hotel in Tokyo on Thursday to talk about his decision to play in the Majors and sign with the Chicago Cubs.  He also spoke about meeting Yu Darvish in Los Angeles when he was in the US in November and getting tips on how to adjust to MLB baseballs.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/14/2012Daily Sports 12/14/2012Sanspo 12/14/2012, Sponichi 12/14/2012

12/13/2012: Chang-Yong Lim, Hisanori Takahashi, Kyuji Fujikawa

by on Dec.13, 2012 @ 4:15 pm, under MLB
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Chang-Yong Lim is reportedly close to signing a split contract with the Chicago Cubs, according to a report by Joongang Ilbo.  Lim received a number of offers from teams in the NPB and MLB last month and narrowed his options down to four before deciding on the Cubs.  Source: Joongang Ilbo 12/13/2012

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Hisanori Takahashi closed out his workouts in Kanagawa today.  He will likely return to the US within the next few days.  Source: Nikkan Sports 12/13/2012

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Kyuji Fujikawa plans to attend Cubs Convention (January 18-20) if his visa clears in time.  Source: Sponichi 12/13/2012

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Joe Furukawa was named the 2012 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award winner.  From MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan:

ARLINGTON -- Rangers scout Joe Furukawa has been named the 2012 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award winner by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Furukawa, a Pacific Rim international scout for the Rangers, worked closely with pitcher Yu Darvish in the right-hander's first Major League season in 2012. As part of his duties, Furukawa served as Darvish's interpreter for all press conferences and media availabilities. 

Yakult Swallows will not offer Chang-Yong Lim contract for 2013

by on Nov.15, 2012 @ 6:23 pm, under NPB
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The Yakult Swallows announced today that they will not offer Chang-Yong Lim (36) a contract for the 2013 season.  The team did hold an option on Lim for next season, but will not exercise it.

Lim joined the Swallows in 2008 and recorded 128 saves in 238 games.  He underwent elbow surgery in June and will require about a year for a full recovery.  Lim would like to continue pitching.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/15/2012, Sanspo 11/15/2012

Yakult Swallows will most likely part ways with Chang-Yong Lim

by on Nov.13, 2012 @ 7:59 pm, under NPB
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According to Sponichi, the Yakult Swallows will most likely part ways with Chang-Yong Lim (36) because of his high cost and because the question marks surrounding his right elbow.

Lim had surgery on his right elbow in June.  He was reportedly willing to take a cut in salary to stay with the team, but the Swallows may have felt it would not be worth the risk or the money, especially since he is not expected back until at least July.

Source: Sponichi 11/13/2012

Chang-Yong Lim willing to take big pay cut to stay with Yakult Swallows

by on Nov.05, 2012 @ 2:15 pm, under NPB
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According to Sponichi, Chang-Yong Lim is willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Yakult Swallows.

Lim was limited to just nine Ichi-gun games this season before going under the knife (right elbow) in July.  He is currently rehabbing at the Ni-gun facilities in Toda and may not be ready to play until some time in or after July 2013.

Said Lim, "I do not plan on retiring like this.  I plan on playing next year and it would be good if I can make my comeback with the Swallows."

Lim is in the final year of a teal year deal.  The Swallows do hold an option on him for the 2013 season, but will probably not exercise it due to age (he will be thirty-six) and cost (360M yen).

Source: Sponichi 11/5/2012

Yakult Swallows to make decision on Chang-Yong Lim before the end of November

by on Sep.25, 2012 @ 7:48 pm, under NPB
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According to Sponichi, the Yakult Swallows will wait to make their decision on thirty-six-year-old Chang-Yong Lim some time before the end of November.

Lim started having problems with his right elbow earlier this year before going under the knife in July.  The team hopes to learn more about Lim's recovery progress by waiting until November to make their final decision.  At this point, it seems the only way he returns next season is if he can be at 100%.

Source: Sponichi 9/25/2012

Yakult Swallows: Chang-Yong Lim to undergo right elbow surgery

by on Jun.29, 2012 @ 3:59 pm, under NPB
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Chang-Yong Lim (36) has decided to undergo right elbow surgery.  Masayuki Okumura (head of the international division) told reporters on Thursday that it was not a minor injury -- he had reconstructive surgery in the same area back in 2005.

There is a good chance Lim will not be able to return this season, which means his career with the Yakult Swallows may effectively be over -- he is in the final year of a two-year deal and the team might not exercise the option they have on his third year.

Source: Sponichi 6/29/2012, Nikkan Sports 6/29/2012

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UPDATE @ 5:47pm - The Swallows officially announced that Lim will have surgery on his right elbow within the next couple/few days.  The team expects Lim to miss a year.

Lim first felt pain in his elbow after pitching in a game against the Yomiuri Giants on June 22.  He visited a hospital on the 26th and was diagnosed with an injury to his right tibial collateral ligament.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/29/2012

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UPDATE 6/30 @ 11:05pm - The Swallows do not plan on making any decisions on Lim right away because they have no reason to rush.  Sports Hochi includes a quote from an unnamed team rep that mentions November as the deadline.  And according to a report by Nikkan Sports, Lim is still interested in playing in Japan.

To clarify on the option: both sides have to agree.

Yakult Swallows: Chang-Yong Lim could pursue career in MLB next year

by on Jun.19, 2012 @ 2:48 pm, under NPB
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Sports Hochi is reporting that there is a chance Chang-Yong Lim (34) will leave the Yakult Swallows at the end of the season to pursue a career in the MLB.

Lim is in the final year of a two-year deal.  There is an option for a third year, but it can only kick in if both sides agree.  Lim struggled (upper right arm issues) and started the 2012 season at Ni-gun.  He has only pitched in eight games this season and will likely see a cut in salary.  The Swallows have four other foreign players on their seventy-man roster this year (Tony Barnette, Orlando Roman, Lastings Milledge, and Wladimir Balentien) and Lim may have also become somewhat expendable.