According to Japan's Nikkan Sports, via Patrick Newman's NPB Tracker, free agent right-hander Jose Contreras may be seriously considering a move to Japan.
Contreras is heading across the Pacific next week to set his 16-year-old son up in a Japanese high school exchange program. He might also be looking for a new employer, Contreras, 37, posted a 4.92 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a 106/53 K/BB ratio in 23 starts (131 2/3 innings) during the 2009 season. His fastball averaged 92 MPH, according to FanGraphs.
Japan's Sanspo ran a report last week claiming that Contreras reached out to the Hanshin Tigers, and a source with the team said (translation via NPB Tracker), "It seems like he wants to play in Japan. We’ve already decided against it, but it’s not 100%,” later adding, “(Contreras) seems like he would be quite inexpensive, so there will probably be other teams that show interest.” Contreras may or may not have the stuff to compete in Japan, but keep in mind the Yokohama BayStars rejected Sammy Sosa when he offered to sign in 2006 for a measly $500K. Of course, that was after he hit .221/.295/.376 for Baltimore.