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.