3:45 pm: Nishikawa will not reach an agreement with an MLB club before this afternoon’s 4:00 pm CST deadline, per a report from Yahoo! Japan (link in Japanese). He’ll instead return to the Fighters for a tenth season in 2021.
10:52 am: In early December, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters made center fielder Haruki Nishikawa available to major league teams via the posting system. That opened a 30-day window for MLB clubs to work out an agreement with Nishikawa; otherwise, the 28-year-old would return to the Fighters for at least another season.
Today marks the final day of Nishikawa’s posting window, as was first noted last month by Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter link). While no one knows if the left-handed hitter will put pen to paper in the coming hours, it seems he has attracted the attention of a few MLB teams. Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported earlier this week (Japanese-language link) that the Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Diamondbacks were among those with interest in the outfielder. It isn’t clear if any of those four (or any other MLB club) has actually put forth a formal offer, however.
Over parts of nine seasons at Japan’s highest level, Nishikawa has hit .286/.382/.394. He’s coming off a very strong 2020 seasons with the Fighters, wherein he slashed .306/.430/.396 with more walks than strikeouts across 523 plate appearances. Nishikawa has never been much of a power threat, but he’s consistently hit for high batting averages and drawn plenty of walks.
If Nishikawa were to come to an agreement with an MLB team, the signing team would owe a release fee to the Fighters. That fee, which comes on top of the contract paid to the player himself, is equal to 20 percent of the contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25MM and 15 percent of any dollars thereafter. Nishikawa’s track record in NPB is lesser than that of countryman Shogo Akiyama, who inked a three-year, $21MM deal with the Reds last winter. It’d be a surprise to see Nishikawa top that mark, so in all likelihood his posting fee will fall squarely into that first tier, 20-percent bracket. Nishikawa’s former Fighters teammate, right-hander Kohei Arihara, signed with the Rangers last week.
Does anyone know if the this one team that is from Canada and played in Buffalo last year, is intrested?
They indeed are apparently. Wouldn’t be a bad fit on their roster.
Blue Jays are interested. Shocker.
They’re all over Hideo Nomo.
Mkbtraderumors should make Blue Jays interested tshirts
I’d buy one. Well, I’d wear one anyways…
The Blue Jays are interested in that idea
I’d be interested in buying that
Sounds like an ideal positional replacement for nearly anyone not named Candelario or Castro, in DET.
On base guy who doesn’t strike out. Exactly what the Cubs need
Haruki Nishikawa could be a solid leadoff hitting CF option for the Cubs with a 2020 BA/OBP slash of .306/.430 who also stole 42 bases in 49 attempts last season in just 115 games. Ian Happ would move to LF where he would be more of a plus defender. With perennial Gold Glover Jason Hayward in RF the Cubs would have the makings of a solid defensive OF with some decent hitting ability as well. Nishikawa shouldn’t be too expensive for the Cubs budget even with his 20% posting fee. Make it so, Tom and Jed!
Agreed. Move Happ to left.
Yep, well said.
But it costs money. Salary dump should tell you everything about Cubs
Salary dump to get well below the tax threshold. Making it possible to sign free agents and extend Baez and Rizzo.
not enough need for outfielders this offseason for anyone to want to pay the posting fee. not surprising its been quiet on. him so far.
This guy is bound to flop in the MLB. I’m sorry, but Nishikawa just doesn’t seem bound to work out.
I bet some said the same about Ichiro.
He’s a cheaper Akiyama. Akiyama also isn’t very good in the MLB, though passable imo.
Nishikawa shouldn’t be anybody’s choice for a starting CF, but I do think he has a spot as a 4th OF.
this guy is nowhere near as good as Ichiro was when he came over
* this guy’s stats are nowhere near as good as Ichiro’s.
That’s not to say he’s not a good player; rather how great Ich was.
We downplay JPPL and foreign talent time and time again. And yet foreign born players comprise 30% of the league.
38 year old Nori Aoki is tearing it up in Japan.
40 year old Nelson Cruz is tearing it up in America.
60 year old me is tearing open ramen noodle bags.
Impressive. How does 3 years, 0 dollars sound to you?
His OBP and contact rate are both very strong
50 year old me is tearing up my L5 and sciatic nerve
If foreign talent is downplayed, how do they make up 30% of the league?
The foreign-born players are primarily Latino, not Japanese. I think Asian/other is 2.9%.
L1 S1 sciatic nerve here
Just an amateur opinion here, but I found that substantial stretching, after some aerobic exercise, keeps my sciatica away. Even something as offbeat as shoveling snow for an hour, if I don’t stretch out afterwards, my lower back/glutes can be in significant paid the following day.
Ichiro was a career .359 hitter in Japan from 1993-2000 before coming over. Three FIFTY nine. And double-digit home runs in each of those year. Comparing Nishikawa to that…is no comparison at all.
I wasn’t trying to compare, but rather relate.
I’m sure some doubted the greatness of Ichiro when he came over. Although in all likelihood, the talent is vastly different from 2000 to today.
I’m not sure if he’s good enough to be a starting player, but with his high on-base percentage, ability to steal bases, and positional flexibility (he plays CF, RF, and 2B according to Baseball Reference), he could be a really useful bench piece for someone. I wouldn’t mind if my Jays signed him. Plus, that would make two Japanese players on the team (Shun Yamaguchi being the other), which might help them land Tomoyuki Sugano as well.
On my BR it says he’s a 2B, 1B and RF. Also 160 lbs. Sounds like a 10th man/utility type player.
he’s played almost entirely OF over the past 6 years
Pirates desperately need a lot of things, but one of them is a center fielder. I’m not getting my hopes up that they’ll actually spend any money though. They’ve at least gone the Asia route before, they got a couple good years out of Jung Ho Kang before he drank himself out of the majors.
SCHWING and A Miss
My guess is Cherrington will give AA(Anthony Alford) a go in centre…he knows him well from his time with Toronto. Alford flashed potential after he was claimed but than got hurt, he’s raw but tools are there, Pittsburgh is a perfect fit to let him figure it out and see if he can put it all together
Alford is just one of those glass body players you’ll never get a full season out of even if he pans out. And he’s not really a proper center fielder… he’s got the speed but not the defensive skills.
SCHWING and A Miss
No doubt he’s had lots of injuries but the guy was a multi-sport athlete coming up..skill set is there. He’s got the speed for CF, arm is average, maybe needs to work on routes. He didn’t start playing baseball until high school so there’s room for growth as a player
I admittedly forgot about Alford but I had always remembered him as more of a corner outfielder. I’d love to see the Bucs give Alford a real shot somewhere in the outfield if he can stay healthy enough.
He should stay in Japan. Why anyone would pay this guy more than 1m a year is beyond me.
1 million is hardly that much of a gamble on basically anyone who could provide value in the Majors.
There are FA’s better who will be signing for 1m.
@Worthington – Who??
Already several have. Look it up.
K.. Abraham Almonte, Brian O’Grady, Scott Heineman is the only OF free agents under $1m. Is this your several “better” FA’s you’re talking about?
tom brunanskys black sock
You should get a pinball machine that works.
If he can hit over 200 the cardinals need him
where does his stat line show he consistently hits for a high batting average?
He’s not as good as Akiyama, and Akiyama sucked. Pass.
This seems like a perfect flexible signing for the Halos. Fill in at RF and spell everyone else.
I Beg To Differ
To finish off the off season Padres need to sign Sugano, Paddack could use a year to work on a third pitch, and find a 4 OF. that can handle all 3 OF spots. Nishikawa would represent a cheap option.
On Nishikawa’s BBRef page it shows the Fighters as playing in two different leagues (Eastern and Pacific) for a few years. Can anyone help explain this? Did it have anything to do with the earthquake and tsunami?
Eastern sn a minor league; Pacific is one of the NPB “major” leagues.
pacific and central leagues are top leagues. eastern and western ones are shorter season ‘minor leagues.
I’ll pass on him. He will probably be a light hitting bench player in the MLB.
Dbacks need a cheap CF, one who is a steady, not streaky, hitter. Nishikawa seems to fit both criteria. But they need a right handed bat, not left handed bat and Nishikawa will probably not fit the Dbacks’ definition of cheap. So I think they will pass, and that’s what I think they should do too.
4PM CST: Sad trombone.
Sayonara Haruki, we hardly knew ya!
Superstar Car Wash
Probably best that he’s returning to the Fighters for a 10th season.
It’s very difficult for MLB teams to come up with sabermetrics and algorithms that translate Japanese to MLB statistics. I know Bill James is working on this, but there is nothing reliable yet, so we can’t learn his WAR or UZR or other sabermetrics since they are from Japan.
tom brunanskys black sock
Completely rent free.
Peart of the game
Reminds me of Ah-Seop Son of the Lotte Giants of the KBO except he has less power and is better defensively. Same type of situation in all honesty in how they were both posted and didn’t even get enough money to merit a contract (Son’s case was different in that he was posted under the old system and the bid wasn’t high enough.)
I’m just speculating here, a bit, but I am guessing that I can make up any Japanese name, throw in a bunch of vowels, and there will be some fans saying that their team should’ve signed him.
Weak troll attempt.
Sadly true. Folks were getting seriously worked up about Arihara. I’d bet real money that at least 95% of the posters had never heard of him before he was posted. And maybe not even 50% of them knew who he was on the day he signed. But it didn’t stop them from being critical of their team not signing him.
It’s okay to not know anything about the Japanese leagues. I can name an easy 450+ players in MLB, with a rough idea of what they are worth. But I know almost nothing about the Japan leagues. Not do I expect anyone in here knows much about them either.
And it is okay for us to admit it.
Peart of the game
Absolutely, most people here have not done their research on the foreign leagues. Odds are most of the people here who DO the research don’t know about all of the advanced metrics or about how you would translate the NPB stats to a projected MLB stat line. Generally, with the NPB you can expect fewer strikeouts from the pitchers and also more walks. For example, IMO Kohei Arihara projects to be a Mike Leake type for 2021 and 2022 based on his NPB stats.
Haruki Nishikawa has a Ben Revere type of projection to me and Tomoyuki Sugano has a projection like what Zack Greinke has done for his career averages.