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[12/4/2014] Softbank Hawks come to terms with Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on Dec.04, 2014 @ 11:23 pm, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks announced today that they came to terms with Daisuke Matsuzaka (34). The Hawks will introduce Matsuzaka at a press conference on Friday. He was assigned the number 18 and most likely agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated 1.2 billion yen plus incentives.

Source: official announcement, Daily Sports 12/4/2014, Sponichi 12/4/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/4/2014

[UPDATE 12/5 @ 11:20pm]

The Hawks held a press conference for Matsuzaka earlier today.

"I felt challenged as a reliever, but it didn't mean anything to mean," said Matsuzaka about pitching out of the bullpen. He added, "I want to focus on starting so long as I have the desire to start."

When asked about his right elbow, he replied, "It's getting better every year. This year has been the best so far. I have no worries about throwing the ball."

Matsuzaka was also asked about his conditioning and his troubles during the second-half of seasons, to which he said, "It's only natural to think that based on my performances over the last few years. I hope those concerns will be gone around the time the 2015 season ends."

Source: Daily Sports 12/5/2014, ZakZak 12/5/2014, Sponichi 12/5/2014

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[12/3/2014] Rumors: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Eldred, Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Dec.04, 2014 @ 12:31 am, under NPB
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Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) returned to Japan on Wednesday. The Softbank Hawks are expected to hold a press conference to introduce Matsuzaka as their newest addition as early as the 5th. Source: Sponichi 12/3/2014

The Hiroshima Carp re-signed Brad Eldred (34) to a new one-year deal worth an estimated 915,000 US dollars plus incentives (up from 500,000 US dollars this season). Source: Sanspo 12/2/2014, Sponichi 12/2/2014

The Orix Buffaloes are not planning to pursue Hiroyuki Nakajima (32). They are interested in Tony Blanco (34) and Bryan Bullington (34). Source: Daily Sports 12/2/2014 ... Sports Hochi is reporting that the Buffaloes shifted their attention to Nakajima after they learned Munenori Kawasaki (33) still wants to play in the Majors. They could be preparing a four-year package worth an estimated 1.5 billion yen. Source: Sports Hochi 12/3/2014

The Hanshin Tigers told reporters they opted not to improve their offer to Nakajima when recently contacted by his agent. They do not plan on changing their offer at this point in time. Source: Sanspo 12/3/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/3/2014

The Tigers could visit Cuba in January next year to check on talent. They are looking for a fifth foreign player as insurance. They are also checking players in the Dominican Republic. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/3/2014

The Rakuten Eagles could offer Takahiro Norimoto a three-year deal worth over 300 million during contract negotiations on Wednesday. Source: Daily Sports 12/3/2014 ... Norimoto agreed to a salary of 120 million yen, up sixty million from this season. He became the fifth player in NPB history to reach 100 million yen in his third season. Source: Daily Sports 12/3/2014, Sports Hochi 12/3/2014

The Yokohama Bay Stars officially announced on Tuesday that they were parting ways with Tony Blanco (34). Source: official announcement

The Yakult Swallows are not planning to sign Chris Narveson (32) to a contract for the 2015 season. They already signed Tony Barnette (31) and Orlando Roman (36) to one-year contracts. Chris Carpenter (28) is still a question mark. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/3/2014

The Chiba Lotte Marines announced that they came to terms with Chunichi senryokugai Kento Yachi (26). He was assigned the number fifty-eight. The two sides agreed to a contact worth an estimated five million yen. Source: official announcement, Sponichi 12/3/2014

[11/26/2014] Rumors: Yulieski Gourriel, Wily Mo Pena, Andruw Jones

by on Nov.27, 2014 @ 1:27 am, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks could hold a press conference for Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) in early December. Source: Daily Sports 11/25/2014

Hiroyuki Nakajima (32) has been narrowing down his options while conducting negotiations with teams. The Hanshin Tigers recently confirmed with Nakajima's agent that they were still in the hunt. The Tigers feel negotiations may be winding down. People close to the situation believe Nakajima could be ready to make a decision in early December. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014

The Tigers reportedly offered Mauro Gomez (30) a two-year deal. Source: Sports Hochi 11/26/2014

The Yokohama Bay Stars will push hard to re-sign Yulieski Gourriel (30). The Yomiuri Giants are also interested. The Baseball Federation of Cuba could gather some time next month to discuss potential assignments for 2015. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014

The media learned on Tuesday that the Seibu Lions are not planning to offer Randy Williams a contract for the 2015 season. Source: Sponichi 11/25/2014

The Orix Buffaloes will most likely part ways with Wily Mo Pena (32). Source: Daily Sports 11/26/2014

If the Chiba Lotte Marines fail to re-sign Alfredo Despaigne (28), they could shift their attention to someone like Andruw Jones (37). Source: Sanspo 11/25/2014

Kota Suda (28) sat down with the Yokohama Bay Stars for contract negotiations on Tuesday. He held off on agreeing to a salary reduction because there were still some things he wanted to discuss. He will meet Yokohama again on December 10. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/25/2014

Yohei Oshima (29) could end up going through salary arbitration as the Chunichi Dragons do not appear interested in making an adjustment to their initial offer. He is slated to meet with officials again to continue negotiations. General manager Hiromitsu Ochiai is not planning to take part in the follow-up meetings. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014 ... Oshima and Ryosuke Hirata (26) are not planning to agree to their current offers and are willing to take things to salary arbitration. Team represenative Kazuo Nishiyama told reporters he was willing to meet players as many times as they wanted, but also indicated that they should not expect any changes to their offers. It may be part of the reason why Ochiai does not plan on attending follow-up meetings with players. Source: Daily Sports 11/26/2014

Keiji Oyama (34) met the Rakuten Eagles for salary negotiations on Wednesday. He placed their offer on hold because he could not agree to the amount of their proposed salary cut (three million yen). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014, Sports Hochi 11/26/2014

[11/24/2014] Rumors: Hiroyuki Nakajima, Alfredo Despaigne, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on Nov.25, 2014 @ 2:43 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers have made the best offer to Hiroyuki Nakajima (32) so far, according to people close to the situation. Source: Daily Sports 11/24/2014

Leslie Anderson, Frederich Cepeda, Scott Mathieson, and Hector Mendoza will most likely return to the Yomiuri Giants next year. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/24/2014

Ryosuke Hirata (26) is not planning to accept the Chunichi Dragons' terms for 2015 until he is fully satisfied he is getting paid his fair share, even if it means negotiations run into next year. Source: Sponichi 11/24/2014

The Chiba Lotte Marines would like Alfredo Despaigne (28) to return to their team next year. They are planning to offer a salary of about 200 million yen plus permissions to skip spring camp. Source: Sports Hochi 11/24/2014

The Softbank Hawks may be close to announcing an agreement with Daisuke Matsuzaka (34). Source: Daily Sports 11/24/2014

The Eiichi Koyano heading to the Orix Buffaloes, the Seibu Lions will most likely check the overseas market for third basemen, in addition to a starting pitcher. Source: Daily Sports 11/24/2014

The Orix Buffaloes are interested in Tony Blanco (34). Source: Sanspo 11/24/2014

[11/23/2014] Rumors: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Andruw Jones, Wily Mo Pena

by on Nov.24, 2014 @ 5:45 am, under NPB
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The Softbank Hawks and Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) may be close to finalizing a four-year deal worth an estimated 1.6 billion yen (not including incentives). The Hawks are planning to offer Matsuzaka the number eighteen. Matsuzaka will most likely leave his family behind in Boston during the season. Source: Sanspo 11/23/2014 ... Matsuzaka may be close to finalizing a three-year deal worth at least 1.2 million yen (including incentives). A deal could be reached in early December. Source: Sponichi 11/23/2014 ... Matsuzaka may have decided to return to Japan because he wants to start. Source: Sports Hochi 11/23/2014

The Twins are interested in Wily Mo Pena (32), according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino. Source: Tweet 11/22/2014

The Rakuten Eagles are not sure what to do about Andruw Jones (37). Jones has hit fifty home runs in two years, but with a low batting average of .232. He would like to return next year, but the Eagles are looking at other options, like Pena and Tony Blanco. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/23/2014

Yokohama senryokugai Shugo Fujii (37) attended a batting practice pitcher tryout with the Yomiuri Giants on Saturday. He threw 122 pitches and faced a number of players, including Tomoya Inzen and Daisuke Nakai. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/23/2014 ... Fujii has also received a player contract offer from an independent league team. He is planning to make a decision about 2015 within the next few days. Source: Sponichi 11/23/2014

Yohei Oshima (29) could go through salary arbitration with the Chunichi Dragons. If he does, he will become the eighth player in NPB history to go to arbitration, first since Hideaki Wakui in 2010; and the second player in franchise history to go to arbitration, first since Hiromitsu Ochiai in 1991. Source: Sponichi 11/23/2014

[11/22/2014] Daisuke Matsuzaka turns down Yokohama, could be close to deal with Softbank

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 10:28 pm, under NPB
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According to Sponichi, Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) may be close to agreeing on a deal with the Softbank Hawks.

Matsuzaka was said to have narrowed down his NPB options to two teams, the Softbank Hawks and Yokohama Bay Stars. The media learned on Friday that he recently turned down the Bay Stars. Yokohama president Jun Ikeda is quoted in a Jiji Press report as saying, "We did what we could. It's up for him to decide what to do."

Softbank may have offered Matsuzaka three or more years on their offer, along with the uniform number eighteen. He is currently in Boston and has already added NPB baseballs to his throwing program. He will most likely finalize his contract with the Hawks when he returns to Japan early next month.

Source: Sponichi 11/22/2014, Jiji Press 11/22/2014

[11/6/2014] Rumors: Hanshin Tigers, Hiroshima Carp, Softbank Hawks

by on Nov.07, 2014 @ 5:30 am, under NPB
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Kyuji Fujikawa

  • The Softbank Hawks are interested in Fujikawa (34). Fujikawa returned to Japan after the season but is currently back in the United States. He wants to continue playing in the US, but will also field offers from teams in Japan in case things do not pan out. Softbank could be seen as a flexible organization after they allowed Hideki Okajima to return to the Majors after one season. They could offer something similar to Fujikawa. Source: Sanspo 11/6/2014
  • The Hanshin Tigers are also interested in Fujikawa. Source: Sanspo 11/6/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • Kaneko and the Orix Buffaloes may have agreed to something on the side during contract negotiations last year that would allow him to go to the Majors via the posting system this off-season based on performance (like winning the Sawamura Award). Source: ZakZak 11/6/2014

Hiroki Kuroda

  • The Hiroshima Carp are expected to get in touch with Kuroda (39) at some point. Source: Sports Hochi 11/6/2014

Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • The Softbank Hawks could offer Matsuzaka (34) up to six years. Matsuzaka has indicated interest in recording 200 NPB + MLB victories and pitching into his forties. Source: ZakZak 11/6/2014
  • The Hawks could offer three or more years at over two billion yen total and the uniform number eighteen. Matsuzaka is reportedly working out with the Japanese baseball. He is also planning to conduct negotiations face-to-face and without an agent. Source: Sponichi 11/6/2014

Hiroyuki Nakajima

  • The Hanshin Tigers are not planning to rush their offer to Nakajima (32). They learned that he recently switched agents and they want to make sure their first offer is solid. Source: Sports Hochi 11/6/2014
  • The Tigers feel they have to up their ante now that Nakajima's new agent is Scott Boras. They do not want to get into a bidding war. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/6/2014
  • The Tigers could offer a deal up to four years at 1.2 billion yen total. Source: Daily Sports 11/6/2014
  • If Takashi Toritani leaves the organization, the Tigers could also offer Nakajima short. Source: Sanspo 11/6/2014
  • Since the Seibu Lions are said to be preparing a three-year deal at 800 million yen, the Tigers feel they have to put together a package that is at least three years at 900 million yen. The Tigers are focused solely on Nakajima at the moment. Source: Sponichi 11/6/2014
  • The Lions are hoping to speak directly to Nakajima. They could speak to him over the phone within the next two to three days. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/6/2014
  • The Chunichi Dragons are interested in Nakajima. Source: Daily Sports 11/6/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • Obiki (30) is planning to exercise his FA option. Yakult and Rakuten are among teams said to be interested. Source: Sports Hochi 11/6/2014
  • Obiki has a house in Tokyo and used to play at Jingu Stadium when he played college ball. The Yakult Swallows could be the front runners. Source: Sponichi 11/6/2014

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Hanshin Tigers

Hiroshima Carp

Softbank Hawks

[11/5/2014] Rumors: Hanshin Tigers, Chunichi Dragons, Yokohama Bay Stars

by on Nov.06, 2014 @ 5:42 am, under NPB
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Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • The Softbank Hawks could offer Matsuzaka a four-year deal worth 400 million or more a year plus incentives and the number eighteen. The Hawks could be the front runners for a number of reasons, including: Softbank has deep pockets, Matsuzaka's wife is from Fukuoka, Matsuzaka may prefer the less media intensive Fukuoka over Tokyo. Source: ZakZak 11/5/2014

Hiroyuki Nakajima

  • The Seibu Lions could offer Nakajima a three-year deal worth a total of about 800 million yen. The Hanshin Tigers are expected to offer something more. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014
  • The Lions are also willing to discuss options with Nakajima past their current offer. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014, Sports Hochi 11/5/2014
  • The Lions are slated to speak to Nakajima over the phone on the 5th. They could offer three or more years at 200 or more million yen. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Takahiro Arai

Naoki Miyanishi

  • Miyanishi will most likely spend all the time he has until the 8th to decide on his option. A number of teams are interested in his services, including Hanshin and Orix. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014
  • Miyanishi could be planning to announce his decision to stay in Sapporo on the 8th. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • The Yakult Swallows are interested in Naruse. The Tigers were rumored to be preparing a three-year offer in the area of 600 million yen. Yakult could be putting together a package in the same range. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • Obiki is planning to exercise his FA option. He is expected to make an announcement on the 6th. The Fighter could be open to returning to the negotiating table after he becomes a free agent. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

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Hanshin Tigers

  • The Tigers are interested in Kyuji Fujikawa (34) and Munenori Kawasaki (33). These could be considered alternates to Yoshihisa Naruse (29) and Hiroyuki Nakajima (32). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/5/2014

Chunichi Dragons

  • Daisuke Yamai (36) decided not to exercise his FA option. He finalized his contract on Wednesday. He agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated 120 million yen each year (or 360 million yen total). The 120 million yen is up 60 million over what he made this season. Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • The Bay Stars have an interest Kam Mickolio (30). They see him as a candidate to close. Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2014

[10/31/2014] Rumors: Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Softbank Hawks, Orix Buffaloes

by on Nov.01, 2014 @ 4:44 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

  • Motohiro Shima (29) has decided not to exercise his domestic FA option. He informed team official Yozo Tachibana of his decision before practices on Friday. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014

Seibu Lions

  • The Lions are interested in Hiroyuki Nakajima (32). They see him as someone that can play third and bat third. His old uniform number, three, is also available. Source: Sports Hochi 10/31/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • The Hawks are looking into Daisuke Matsuzaka (34). They could offer him a multi-year deal. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014 ... Softbank could offer Matsuzaka a multi-year deal with the uniform number eighteen. They are also interested in Munenori Kawasaki (33). Source: Sponichi 10/31/2014 ... The Hawks could offer Matsuzaka a four year deal worth 400 million yen a year plus incentives. They could also offer him the number eighteen. Source: Sports Hochi 10/31/2014
  • Jason Standridge, Brian Wolfe, Dennis Sarfate, and Dae-Ho Lee will be returning next year. They signed two-year deals before the start of the season. Barbaro Canizares, Paul Oseguera, and Edison Barrios are question marks. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014
  • Toru Hosokawa (34) finished out the final year of a four-year deal. He is not planning to exercise his FA option. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014
  • Nobuhiko Matsunaka (40) will most likely stay with Softbank, but is not ready to make a decision. Source: Sanspo 10/31/2014
  • Softbank may not go after any domestic free agents this off-season. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • Tomotaka Sakaguchi (30) earned his domestic FA option this year. There is a good chance he will remain with Orix. He has already spoken to the Buffaloes at least once and has likely received an offer. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014
  • Yoshihisa Hirano (30) spoke to team official Ryuzo Setoyama at Hotto Motto Kobe on Thursday for about ten minutes. He still needs more time to think, but will likely stay. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014 ... The Buffaloes may have offered Hirano a number of different kinds of deals to choose from. Source: Daily Sports 10/31/2014

[10/31/2014] Koji Uehara, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kyuji Fujikawa

by on Oct.31, 2014 @ 11:17 pm, under MLB
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The MLB released a list of free agents on Thursday. Hiroyuki Nakajima (Athletics), Kyuji Fujikawa (Cubs), Hisashi Iwakuma (Mariners), Daisuke Matsuzaka (Mets), Norichika Aoki (Royals), Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees), and Ichiro Suzuki (Yankees) were included on the list. Fujikawa and Iwakuma have options.

Source: MLB.com 10/30/2014

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The Boston Red Sox signed Koji Uehara (39) to a two-year deal worth eighteen million US dollars. From ESPN's Gordon Edes:

... The Red Sox signed Uehara before he became eligible to negotiate with other clubs Tuesday. His deal nearly doubles the two-year, $9.25 million contract he signed with the Red Sox before the 2013 season, before he had been identified as the club's closer. It is $2 million less than last's winter's two-year, $20 million deal the Detroit Tigers gave to free agent Joe Nathan, who is perhaps the closest comparison to Uehara, given that he was 38, a year younger than the Japanese right-hander.

... "You're really looking at a guy who has been one of the elite relievers in baseball for several years," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "And again, based on our evaluation at the end of the year and what he did, we did not see any reason why that can't continue.''

... "From a health standpoint, he had a little lower back issue at the end of the year, but that was resolved and wasn't really a concern going forward," Cherington said, making the first mention by any Red Sox official that the pitcher's back had been bothering him.

Source: ESPN 10/30/2014

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Hisashi Iwakuma (33) will be back in Seattle next year. From The Seattle Times' Ryan Divish:

... The Mariners announced that [Iwakuma's] $7 million option for 2015 has been exercised. However, they didn't decide on the option. Per a source, Iwakuma did enough in 2014 — 15-9 with a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts — and last season to have the option vest automatically. So there was no decision to be made.

Source: The Seattle Times 10/30/2014

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The Chicago Cubs declined Kyuji Fujikawa's (34) option. From The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales:

The Chicago Cubs' 40-man roster shrunk to 35 Thursday as reliever Carlos Villanueva filed for free agency, and the team declined the 2015 option on reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.

... Fujikawa will receive a $500,000 buyout and becomes a free agent.

Source: ESPN 10/30/2014

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Daisuke Matsuzaka is planning to return to his home in Boston to begin workouts for next season in November. Source: Sponichi 10/31/2014