Hitoki Iwase Rumors

NPB Rumors: Tazawa, Iwase, Iguchi

Some Japanese baseball-related rumors, courtesy of Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker:

Iwase To Stay In Japan?

Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker has several reports stating that Chunichi Dragons closer Hitoki Iwase will decline free agency and stay with the team.  Iwase may not have been able to top his $4.3MM salary with an MLB club.

Iwase, a 34 year-old southpaw, would’ve been the best reliever coming over from Japan.  He posted a 2.94 ERA and 7.5 K/9 in 49 innings this year.

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Odds and Ends: Iwase, Martin, Manny

Links for Saturday…

Yankees Send Michael To Japan

Mark Feinsand is reporting that the Yankees have sent Gene Michael to Japan to scout potential acquisitions for ’09.

That Michael was sent to Japan for the first time signifies a shift for the Yankees, who have relied on their Pacific scouts for several years. Following the disastrous signing of Kei Igawa, however, the Yankees aren’t taking any chances, sending one of their most trusted talent evaluators to look at potential acquisitions.

Feinsand notes that it is unclear which players the Yankees are interested in, but does list several players that could be available including right-handers Koji Uehara, Kenshin Kawakami and lefty Hitoki Iwase, a reliever.

Feinsand does not mention the biggest potential prize, Yu Darvish. Previously the Yankees were listed as one of the teams with a scout at the Olympics to watch Darvish. While nobody is certain that Darvish will be posted this winter, if rumors of a $75MM posting fee are even close to accurate, the Yankees will have to be involved.

In July we looked at some potential free agents from Japan and last winter East Windup Chronicle ranked several Japanese pitchers, none of whom have yet to make the jump to the US.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.

Odds and Ends: Manny, Pavano, Gonzalez

Some Saturday mid-day linkage:

Sarah Green writes for UmpBump and the Boston Metro and can be reached here.

Odds and Ends: Ibanez, Dunn, Blake, Stewart

Let’s kick off the morning with some random links.

Odds and Ends: McLouth, Doumit, Eyre, Bradley

Here’s today’s link roundup.

Odds and Ends: Livan, Maddux, Meredith, Fielder

Here are today’s links.

Fukudome Undecided, Iwase Staying In Japan

As you may have heard, Kosuke Fukudome filed for free agency today.  He’s listening to offers from both Japanese and MLB teams – he’s still undecided.  The Chunichi Dragons are not expected to modify their offer.  They’ve got a one year proposal out to Fukudome for about $3.5MM and a four-year offer for about $15.4MM.  The Hanshin Tigers are expected to offer something like four years, $20MM.  Obviously he could beat those offers in the U.S.  The Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, and Padres have all been connected to Fukudome.

Meanwhile lefty closer Hitoki Iwase, coveted by many MLB teams, has decided to stay in Japan.  The Rockies, Royals, and Cubs had their eye on him.

Hitoki Iwase May Stay In Japan

Closer Hitoki Iwase has received two offers (link in Japanese) from his team the Chunichi Dragons.  One is a one-year, $4MM offer.  The other is a four-year, $16MM offer – which would be the biggest contract in franchise history.

Iwase told the press that he was "very impressed with the offer, and definitely thinking about remaining a Dragon."  In that case he would not file for free agency.  Right now, the vibe is that he will stay in Japan.  The Royals, Cubs, and Rockies are among the MLB teams interested in his services.

Thanks to Tak Iwanaga for translating.

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