The Padres and other clubs had their eye on Japanese standout Nobuhiro Matsuda, but earlier this week the veteran third baseman decided to stay put. Even though Matsuda had the opportunity to ink a major league deal, he couldn’t turn down a massive four-year deal worth $20-25MM from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. There was talk that the 32-year-old might have been able to net a multi-year guarantee from an MLB club, but it’s hard to imagine that any team would have given him a deal of that size.
Matsuda is staying overseas, but we have some news on other international talent that will be coming stateside. Here’s the latest:
- Contract talks have broken off between second baseman Yamaico Navarro and Korea’s Samsung Lions, a league source tells Yonhap News. “It’s highly unlikely we will retain Navarro,” the official said. “Unless there’s a dramatic turn of events, we will go our separate ways.” Navarro hit 31 homers, stole 25 bases, and posted a slash line of .308/.417/.552 in 2014. This past season, Navarro belted 48 home runs (good for second in the KBO), notched 22 steals, and posted a .287/.393/.596 line. It’s not immediately clear if Navarro will set his sights on an MLB return, but if he does, one has to imagine that he will garner some interest. For what it’s worth, the Lions have concerns about the 28-year-old’s work ethic, according to the report.
- New Orioles outfielder Hyun-soo Kim thanked Pirates infielder Jung-ho Kang for blazing a trail for him to come stateside. “I am proud of having signed a major league deal as a Korean player,” Kim said, according to Yonhap News. “I will try not to ruin the groundwork that Jung-ho has laid. I feel some pressure in that regard.” Kim has put up a big .318/.406/.488 slash in the offensively robust KBO, and last year had his best-ever showing. Not only did he slash .326/.438/.541, but Kim also banged a career-best 28 home runs. And, unlike some other KBO players who have moved over to MLB, Kim has displayed tremendous plate discipline. Last year, he struck out only 63 times while drawing 101 walks.
- On Friday morning, we learned that Cuban sensation Lazaro Armenteros will be holding a showcase for MLB clubs on January 8th.