Junichi Tazawa Rumors
A few links today involving Japanese players...
- Michael Silverman and Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald wrote yesterday that the Red Sox have scouted Kenshin Kawakami multiple times and he has interest in pitching for them. Kawakami figures to receive multiple bids, assuming he commits to MLB first.
- ESPN's Keith Law says signing Junichi Tazawa was a "no-brainer" for the Red Sox. Law figures Tazawa will start in Double A and could reach the Majors in '09.
- Aaron Shinsano of East Windup Chronicle respectfully disagrees; he doesn't believe Tazawa is ready for Double A. Shinsano suggests marketing played a part in the signing, as Tazawa is not a first-round talent.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says Tazawa's contract "does not seem right" and the Blue Jays are wise to stay out of the Japanese market.
- Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker translates a Yahoo Japan article that indicates the Padres, White Sox, Indians, and Brewers will stay out of the Japanese free agent market.
SUNDAY: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe talked to a baseball source who says the Red Sox have an agreement in place with Tazawa. Look for an official announcement later in the week, after he takes his physical. It appears to be a Major League deal for $3MM over three years. He'll be arbitration-eligible after three years of big league service time.
FRIDAY: Japanese amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa appears close to signing with the Boston Red Sox, reports Chad Finn at the Boston Globe. The offer for the 22-year old is reportedly a three-year, major league deal nearing $6MM, putting Tazawa on the 40-man roster.
Tazawa has officially declined offers from the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers according to the Kyodo Wire, says the article.
Signing Tazawa would complicate current opinions on the "gentleman's agreement" previously observed by MLB teams, which prevented American teams from signing Japanese amateurs. Might Japanese teams start making offers to American amateurs if Tazawa is signed?
Alex Walsh can be reached at email@example.com.
Links for Saturday...
- Junichi Tazawa is expected to announce early next week that he will sign with the Red Sox. He turned down offers from the Rangers, Mariners and Braves.
- The Padres recently offered to talk with Trevor Hoffman, but he hasn't responded. Tom Krasovic also has a Sandy Alderson quote that the Padres are "highly unlikely" to offer Hoffman arbitration.
- Robert MacLeod talked to Blue Jays insiders who believe trading ace Roy Halladay would send "the wrong signal" to fans since the Jays want to compete in 2009.
- Rob Neyer wonders how C.C. Sabathia's weight will affect his performance going forward.
- Joba Chamberlain tops Peter Abraham's list of the 20 most important people to the Yankees organization.
- Peter Gammons asks five post-Thanksgiving questions about free agents and trades. Also within that blog post, Gammons mentions that Kevin Towers went to Sunday's Chargers game with Brad Ausmus and hopes to sign him.
- Larry LaRue writes that the Mariners could use a couple good outfielders to go along with Ichiro.
- Bob Verdi expects a quiet retirement accouncement from Greg Maddux.
- The interest shown in Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla has been "tentative at best."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels wants Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox for one of his catchers, but Sullivan says the Sox made it clear Buchholz is not available under any circumstances. Sullivan suggests the Sox might be more inclined to trade Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden if they bolster their minor league pitching depth by signing Junichi Tazawa.
- Sullivan wonders if swapping John Mayberry Jr. for Greg Golson gives the Rangers the outfield depth to trade Marlon Byrd (perhaps because Golson is capable of playing center field).
- A club official told Sullivan it's "doubtful" that the Rangers would be interested in Jose Valverde.
- Wes Littleton has drawn trade interest; he was designated for assignment last week.
3:08pm: Roch Kubatko of MASN Online gives thoughts on the Orioles and Mark Teixeira and Burnett. Kubatko believes there's no chance the O's offer five years to Burnett, and even four would be a stretch. He'd have to be willing to take a discount to come to Baltimore. As for Tex, will he be willing to play for a team that may not be competitive in the first few years of his deal?
8:32am: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun talked to A.J. Burnett's agent Darek Braunecker, who said his client has narrowed his list from twelve to about six teams. The Orioles remain in the mix after Andy MacPhail had a "nice conversation" with Braunecker on Friday.
It's speculated that the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, and Braves are the other five clubs. In his comments, Braunecker didn't seem dead set on a five-year deal.
In other Orioles news, Nick Markakis' agent had "active talks" with MacPhail about a contract extension. Markakis is entering his three arbitration years.
Finally, Steve Melewski of MASN Online says the O's have shown interest in four Japanese free agents: Koji Uehara, Kenshin Kawakami, Junichi Tazawa, and catcher Ryoji Aikawa. Tazawa seems close to signing with the Red Sox. Uehara might be a more affordable alternative to Burnett.
8:41pm: Several Japanese sources report the Red Sox are set to sign Tazawa as early as December 1st, according to Newman. It seems that Boston did not have the top offer, but Tazawa likes their development plan.
MONDAY, 10:40am: Newman passes along another report that says the Rangers were the fourth team to make an offer to Tazawa, and their offer was the largest. Jon Daniels won't confirm or deny it. Jim Allen recently wrote a scouting report on Tazawa for ESPN.com:
He has good command of his fastball and slurve, but he lacks velocity, stamina and the ability to keep the ball down. At 22, Tazawa is unlikely to throw much harder than he does now; his fastball barely tops 90 mph when he is rested, and he struggled to hit 88 mph at the end of last season.
SUNDAY, 10:35pm: Newman has more on Boston's offer to Tazawa, via Sponichi. Another report from Nikkan Sports says Tazawa has already decided on the Red Sox.
2:01pm: Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker is reporting that Red Sox vice president of international scouting, Craig Shipley, had formal negotiations with Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa, which resulted in a $6MM contract offer. No word yet on whether or not it's a Major League deal.
Current reports state that both the Red Sox, Braves, and Mariners have offered contracts to the 22-year-old right-hander.
Links for Monday...
- The Cardinals still don't have a deal with Trever Miller.
- Is a multiyear deal coming soon for Jamie Moyer? Ken Mandel's source says it's been delayed only because of scheduling conflicts.
- The D'Backs released infielder Jamie D'Antona, who is headed to Japan.
- J.P. Ricciardi says trading Roy Halladay hasn't even crossed his mind. Dan Graziano wrote last Wednesday that some continued to insist the Jays would explore trading their ace.
- River Ave. Blues considers Ben Sheets a better investment than A.J. Burnett for the Yankees.
- Jim Allen profiled the five Japanese players who plan to come over to MLB. He's not high on Junichi Tazawa, Ken Takahashi, or Ryoji Aikawa.
- I never mentioned this, but the Braves released Rodrigo Lopez earlier this month (thanks to Jeff at Cot's for the link).
- Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune talked to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen about various hot stove issues.
- Murray Chass talked to Tom Glavine about his future. Chass' blog is an oddity - a veteran journalist writing and researching newspaper-style articles for his personal site.
- Joel Sherman believes the Angels are the Yankees' biggest threat for C.C. Sabathia. Ken Davidoff agrees.
- In another article, Davidoff summarizes the situations of the ten big-name players.
- Ken Rosenthal talked to an agent who says the market is moving slowly right now.
- Viva El Birdos assesses the trade value of Ryan Ludwick.
- South Side Sox offers more thoughts on Dayan Viciedo.
Links for Saturday...
- Ken Rosenthal comes up with a few possible suitors for Mike Lowell if the Red Sox sign Mark Teixeira. He lists the Dodgers, White Sox, Tigers and Brewers as possible fits.
- Nick Piecoro likes Ramon Vazquez as a fit for the D-Backs.
- Highly coveted Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa pitched a complete game shutout in Osaka, walking no one and striking out 10.
- John Van Benschoten will move on from the Pirates and try to sign with another team.
- Luke Hudson will also leave his old club, moving on from the Royals instead of accepting an assignment to AAA.
- Bobby Crosby is out of the loop amid the rumors swirling about Rafael Furcal.
- Mike Scarr takes a look at the market for middle infielders.
Links for Thursday...
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- Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald wonders if Kerry Wood might accept an offer of arbitration from the Cubs.
- Hal Steinbrenner officially took over control of the Yankees from George.
- Former Dodgers GM Fred Claire takes a look at Jeremy Affeldt's motivations in signing early with the Giants.
- Check out recent fan chats with Astros GM Ed Wade and agent Scott Boras. Wade still hopes to sign Randy Wolf and Doug Brocail and doesn't seem keen on trading Jose Valverde. Some fans didn't seem to realize that just holding payroll steady will pose problems for the Astros.
- Joe Posnanski discusses the Royals' acquisition of Coco Crisp.
- Nick Cafardo wonders if the Crisp trade sets up other moves for the Red Sox. They'll explore signing Rocco Baldelli, according to Amalie Benjamin.
- Sox Machine reflects on Nick Swisher's time with the White Sox.
- A's owner Lew Wolff would prefer to keep Matt Holliday all year.
- Tom Haudricourt wonders if the Brewers will pursue David DeJesus if they trade Mike Cameron.
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone lists which teams have been connected to the top free agent starting pitchers.
- Chad Finn wonders if the Red Sox are considering trading David Ortiz.
- Alan Schwarz has a nice article on Junichi Tazawa.
Links for Tuesday...
- Scouts from the Tigers and Indians visited Junichi Tazawa yesterday.
- This week's chat has been pushed to Wednesday at 2pm CST.
- I chatted with The Baseball Opinion on November 10th.
- Patrick Newman compares Kenshin Kawakami and Hiroki Kuroda.
- Jesse Spector talks to D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes.
- Ken Davidoff explains the semantics games often played by agents, GMs, and journalists.
- Peter Abraham makes free agent predictions.
- Chat with Scott Boras at USA Today on Wednesday at 10am CST. You can submit questions in advance.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says Mark Cuban's bid for the Cubs wasn't high enough, anyway.