- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
- Brady Aiken Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
- Chris Tillman, Orioles Begin Extension Discussions
- Tigers, David Price Open Exploratory Discussions
- Dodgers To Sign Hector Olivera
- Twins Extend Brian Dozier
- White Sox Extend Adam Eaton
- Rangers Release Joe Beimel
- Nationals Release Heath Bell
- Dodgers To Sign Cuban Pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez
Trade Rumors Apps
- Trade Rumors iOS App
- Trade Rumors Android App
- MLBTR Podcast
- 2014-15 MLB Free Agent Tracker
- 2015 MLB Free Agent List
- 2015 Arbitration Tracker
- Projected Arbitration Salaries For 2015
- Free Agent Contest Leaderboard
- Reverse Standings
- 2016 MLB Free Agent List
- Transaction Tracker
- DFA Tracker
- Agency Database
- Hot Stove Glossary
- MLBTR On Facebook
- MLBTR On Twitter
- Team Twitter/RSS Feeds
- Team Facebook Pages
- Hoops Rumors
- Pro Football Rumors
- East Notes: Papelbon, Warren, Victorino
- Minor Moves: Arguelles, Rays, Lorick, Lopez, Rockies
- West Notes: DeShields, Aiken, Lopez
- AL Central Notes: Graham, Pelfrey, Salazar, Finnegan
- Padres Fielding Trade Inquiries On Relievers
- Aiken Situation Could Lead To Changes In Draft Medicals
- Brandon League Likely Out Several Months
- Jordan Zimmermann Says Extension Unlikely
- Twins Have Inquired On Rafael Soriano
- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
- Mariners Rule 5 Pick David Rollins Suspended 80 Games For Failed PED Test
- Blue Jays Outright Scott Barnes
- Twins Outright Lester Oliveros
- NL Central Notes: Bryant, Kang, Reds, Cardinals
- Finding A Landing Spot For Jhoulys Chacin
MLBTR Mailing List
Rumors by team
- Angels Rumors
- Astros Rumors
- Athletics Rumors
- Blue Jays Rumors
- Braves Rumors
- Brewers Rumors
- Cardinals Rumors
- Cubs Rumors
- Diamondbacks Rumors
- Dodgers Rumors
- Giants Rumors
- Indians Rumors
- Mariners Rumors
- Marlins Rumors
- Mets Rumors
- Nationals Rumors
- Orioles Rumors
- Padres Rumors
- Phillies Rumors
- Pirates Rumors
- Rangers Rumors
- Rays Rumors
- Red Sox Rumors
- Reds Rumors
- Rockies Rumors
- Royals Rumors
- Tigers Rumors
- Twins Rumors
- White Sox Rumors
- Yankees Rumors
Kazumi Saito Rumors
Here are some interesting links to peruse when you get the chance…
- Alyson Footer believes the Astros and Jason Jennings are not interested in each other.
- Kazumi Saito will have surgery on his rotator cuff today. He’s a Mark Prior type, a tantalizing talent who can’t stay healthy. Doesn’t seem like he’ll be posted anytime soon.
- In case you missed it earlier, MLBTR now has a Facebook page and group. Become a fan on the page, join the group, friend me, and spread the good word of MLBTR to those who don’t read it.
- Funny look at the types of signs fans hold up at games, courtesy of Joe Sports Fan.
- I did an interview over at We Should Be GMs.
By my count there are five Japanese pitchers who stand a good chance of jumping over to MLB for the 2008 season. I asked Aaron Shinsano and Jackson Broder of East Windup Chronicle to rank them for us and write a short description for each. Another knowledgable friend, Tak Iwanaga, also added some info below.
1. Hitoki Iwase – Iwase was on the hill for the tail end of last night’s perfect game, the Japan Series clinching victory for the Chunichi Dragons. The lefty closer has 40+ saves three years running with a career 1.91 ERA. Tops out at around 93 MPH, but has arguably the best slider in Japan. He’s starting to lose movement and velocity on his pitches, but is making up for it with very good control. A nice fit for the Okajima fetishist.
2. Kenshin Kawakami – Japan’s highest paid starter for the champion Chunichi Dragons (he made around $3MM) mixes a fastball, cutter, and curveball. His fastball runs around 87 and his curve is very slow. He’s known as a big game pitcher and always challenges hitters. He was 12-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 2007, but the K/BB ratio was an appealing 6.3 in 167 2/3 IP. He’s a HR prone strikeout pitcher. Kawakami has been healthy for the past four seasons.
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.
4. Kazumi Saito – Before Dice-K made his way to Boston, it was Hanshin’s Saito, not Matsuzaka that was regarded as the top starter in Japanese baseball. He’s won the Sawamura award three times, and when healthy puts up absurd numbers and gaudy K totals. His 2006 line for the Fukuoka Hawks–18-5, 205 K’s in 201 IP, a 1.75 ERA–is the stuff of fictional video game characters. Saito employs a big time leg kick, mixing up a forkball, cutter, and nasty hammer in with his mid 90’s fastball.
Unfortunately for Saito and the many MLB suitors bandying his name about, he has been dealing with a chronic Prior-esque shoulder injury that could (and should) be a concern for squads ready to drop big coin on a Japanese starter. Saito’s numbers when healthy were good this year as he battled back from injury: 6-3, 2.74, 71 K’s in 72 1/3 IP, but are teams going to post a $30 million posting fee and $10 mil a year for a starter with shoulder issues? Boom or bust.
5. Masahide Kobayashi – Lost seven games and ERA rose nearly a point in 2007, but that shouldn’t deter teams from pursuing this 200+ save closer for Chiba Lotte. Throws from the stretch, and has that deceptive delivery that scouts seem to like these days. Has a great forkball that often tails in toward the batter. Not as good as Iwase or Koji Uehara, but might just be an upgrade over, say, The Farns. Tak adds that he was dropped to the "minors" at the end of the season and many feel his velocity and control are slipping.
SNY’s Ted Berg has an informative blog post about Japanese pitchers who may come over to MLB for the 2008 season (found via MetsBlog). Berg discusses the situations of Koji Uehara, Hiroki Kuroda, Kenshin Kawakami, Hitoki Iwase, Masahide Kobayashi, and Kazumi Saito.