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Thread: Japanese pitchers

  1. #1
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    Japanese pitchers

    MLBtraderumors ran a spot ranking the top 10 pitchers coming over from Japan this year. Seeing the weak FA market for pitching stateside, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a small plunge into this market. Here is a guy the Reds should take a look at, IMO:

    3. Hiroki Kuroda - One number to remember here: 300, as in 300 feet to left and 300 feet to right. That’s the stadium Kuroda spent 10 years in, and still he managed to post a sub-2.00 ERA in 2006 and go 13-6. What could he do in Petco with 67 extra feet to left to play with? Tak says that at the least, he's an innings eater.

    If we can't get a Bedard or a Santana, so in other words, in real life, this is a guy that could be a decent #3 for us.
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  3. #2
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    But at what cost? Boston paid $51 million to Daisuke's Japanese team just for the rights to negotiate. Daisuke's salary was on top of that "tribute." I don't know if that's typical, but it's certainly no bargain and it's more than the Reds can afford.

    When Daisuke's deal was discussed here, it was pointed out that the Japanese players have tended to come to US teams in cities with a large, established Japanese community. Someone pointed out at the time that Cincinnati doesn't have anything like that to offer.
    Last edited by Unassisted; 11-01-2007 at 12:22 PM.
    /r/reds

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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    But at what cost? Boston paid $20 million to Daisuke's Japanese team just for the rights to negotiate. Daisuke's salary was on top of that "tribute." I don't know if that's typical, but it's certainly no bargain and it's more than the Reds can afford.

    When Daisuke's deal was discussed here, it was pointed out that the Japanese players have tended to come to US teams in cities with a large, established Japanese community. Someone pointed out at the time that Cincinnati doesn't have anything like that to offer.
    That's true, although this guy sounds like he wouldn't come anywhere close to Daisuke's cost. If they could get this guy for something like 2 yrs/$12 MM, it may be worth a shot.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Uh guys, Boston paid the team that had Matsuzaka 51 million to talk to him, not 20.

    The question is, is this guy a free agent? Dice K was not, and that is why the fee had to be payed. If this guy is a free agent it doesn't ahve to be paid.

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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Uh guys, Boston paid the team that had Matsuzaka 51 million to talk to him, not 20.
    Thanks. Fixed. That certainly makes the point that it's more than the Reds can afford.
    /r/reds

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    Thanks. Fixed. That certainly makes the point that it's more than the Reds can afford.
    Only if they go after non FA Japanese players. If they go after the FA Japanese players all they have to do is give them a contract, which is much more doable.

  8. #7
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Not even that, necessarily. If the Reds determined that a posted player would be worth a specific amount of money for a specific number of years to them, the correct approach to a posting fee bid would be to make a bid for about half that amount and, if they were to win the bid, a contract offer for the other half, give or take. That's how the D-Rays wound up with Akinori Iwamura. You have to make the posting fee come out of the player's contract. The player is worth to you what he's worth to you, you're just paying some of it to someone else. That's what Japanese players sign up for when they choose to be posted.
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  9. #8
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    More than affording Japanese pitchers, because if you look at what they make in Japan megadeals like the one Matsuzaka signed should be the exception, I'd think it would be hard for the Reds to woo Japanese pitchers to Cincinnati.

    87% of the Japanese population lives in urban areas. There are 11 cities in Japan with 1,000,000+ people compared to 9 in the U.S. We're a suburban culture and Japanese players have been extremely cautious about culture shock. They've tried to go to cities that can approximate the kind of urban settings to which they're accustomed. Are there large and thriving Asian populations in the city? Is the entertainment/social mix up to snuff? Is there quality urban housing in the middle of a vibrant city center? Can they get the kind of food they like?

    Cincinnati proper has a population of 317,361 according to the U.S. Census 2005 population estimate. That would put it in line with Japanese cities like Toyama, Kochi and Koriyama. No, I haven't heard of those cities either. If it's any consolation Boston, Seattle and Washington D.C. (urban populations from 560,000 to 585,000) would all seem provincial by Japanese standards as well. Though in the cases of Boston and Seattle, they've managed to become thriving urban centers that feel bigger than their city populations would indicate. D.C. has got the federal government, which creates some gravity despite the massive urban decay in the city.

    I imagine Cincinnati's a bit too alien for most Japanese players. As much as I'd like to see the Reds tap that market, I have my doubts that they'll find many Japanese players willing to move to a small midwestern city.
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    I don't know, Iwamura is doing pretty well in Tampa, Kaz Matsui seems to be just fine in Denver, Nomo was OK in Detroit, and Tomo Ohka has pitched for just about every team in the league.

    While it is true that many of these guys did not originally sign with these teams, they did end up there and ended up just fine. Not saying they will agree to sign, but maybe if the money is right, who knows?
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  11. #10
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    I don't know, Iwamura is doing pretty well in Tampa, Kaz Matsui seems to be just fine in Denver, Nomo was OK in Detroit, and Tomo Ohka has pitched for just about every team in the league.

    While it is true that many of these guys did not originally sign with these teams, they did end up there and ended up just fine. Not saying they will agree to sign, but maybe if the money is right, who knows?
    Matsui and Ohka were traded to interior cities. Nomo did move to Milwaukee and Detroit by choice, though it was largely a case of him having had a small market for his services those two years (if only the Reds had given him a look). I'm guessing it helps to have spent a few years in the states too. Japanese players might be a lot more willing to try place like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Kansas City after an adjustment period on the coasts.

    The Tampa area has the benefit of sun and waterfront. It may not offer the kind of urban living Japanese players are used to, but it substitutes with a resort feel.

    BTW, I definitely think the Reds should go shopping in Japan based on the "who knows?" notion, I just don't have high hopes for it.
    Last edited by M2; 11-01-2007 at 02:37 PM.
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  12. #11
    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Smart and even not so smart teams are looking everywhere for pitching. If the guy has a chance in the United States, someone will overpay for him. I'd prefer to leave the next Kazuhisa Ishii or Hideki Irabu to the Dodgers, Yankees, or another team who can better afford to overpay a mistake.
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    Smart and even not so smart teams are looking everywhere for pitching. If the guy has a chance in the United States, someone will overpay for him. I'd prefer to leave the next Kazuhisa Ishii or Hideki Irabu to the Dodgers, Yankees, or another team who can better afford to overpay a mistake.
    Well, you have to trust your scouting. Whether or not the Reds do that or not is another story. I don't think anyone overpaid for Hideki Okajima.
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  14. #13
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    More than affording Japanese pitchers, because if you look at what they make in Japan megadeals like the one Matsuzaka signed should be the exception, I'd think it would be hard for the Reds to woo Japanese pitchers to Cincinnati.

    87% of the Japanese population lives in urban areas. There are 11 cities in Japan with 1,000,000+ people compared to 9 in the U.S. We're a suburban culture and Japanese players have been extremely cautious about culture shock. They've tried to go to cities that can approximate the kind of urban settings to which they're accustomed. Are there large and thriving Asian populations in the city? Is the entertainment/social mix up to snuff? Is there quality urban housing in the middle of a vibrant city center? Can they get the kind of food they like?

    Cincinnati proper has a population of 317,361 according to the U.S. Census 2005 population estimate. That would put it in line with Japanese cities like Toyama, Kochi and Koriyama. No, I haven't heard of those cities either. If it's any consolation Boston, Seattle and Washington D.C. (urban populations from 560,000 to 585,000) would all seem provincial by Japanese standards as well. Though in the cases of Boston and Seattle, they've managed to become thriving urban centers that feel bigger than their city populations would indicate. D.C. has got the federal government, which creates some gravity despite the massive urban decay in the city.

    I imagine Cincinnati's a bit too alien for most Japanese players. As much as I'd like to see the Reds tap that market, I have my doubts that they'll find many Japanese players willing to move to a small midwestern city.
    I think you're selling the Cincinnati area short. According to the Convention Bureau, the metropolitan Cincinnati area (comprisinng a seven county area in three stattes) is 1.9 Million people. That's larger than all but four cities in Japan - one of which is Kobe, home to P&G's Japanese operation.

    Certainly the great majority of Japanese in America living on both coasts, but Cincinnati is home to quite a number of major Japanese companies. Toyota's North American HQ is in Erlanger, Kao Brands (Jergens) is based here. Fujitec, the elevator & escalator company is based in Lebanon and is a Reds sponsor.

    In 1988, a chapter of the Japanese American Society was started in Cincinnati. The first society was formed in the early 20th century. http://cincinnatijas.com/.

    From their website:

    The Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati was established in 1988 in response to the unprecedented growth of Japanese firms in the Cincinnati area. Currently, dozens of Japanese-affiliated firms employ thousands of people. Today, Japan remains the largest source of international investment in the Greater Cincinnati area.
    Keep in mind there are direct flights to Tokyo out of our airport.
    I'm not sure it's so far fetched frankly.
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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    Well, you have to trust your scouting. Whether or not the Reds do that or not is another story. I don't think anyone overpaid for Hideki Okajima.
    I agree, but after all the hype about Matsuzaka, Ishii, and Irabu, I'm a bit leery of the scouting reports.
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  16. #15
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese pitchers

    Interesting, but when I went to see who we had scouting in Asia (I know we've hired someone), I noticed a blog entry by Fay where he said he'd suggested to Wayne that he hire Tuffy Rhodes to scout Japan for us.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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