Hanshin-Nishi and Seibu-Mori are difficult to find…The Giants’ big reinforcement “Surprising Players to Acquire”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hanshin-Nishi and Seibu-Mori are difficult to find…The Giants’ big reinforcement “Surprising Players to Acquire”.

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Manager Hara smiles after acquiring the negotiating rights to one of the standout players in this year’s draft, Shogo Asano of Takamatsu Sho. He is also about to embark on a major reinforcement program (Image: Jiji Press)

The Giants have revamped their leadership team, with six coaches leaving and new members such as Hiromoto Okubo and Hideyuki Awano joining the team. The next step appears to be a major reinforcement with big-name players.

Last offseason, owner Juichi Yamaguchi declared, “We will not take any FA players, but will strengthen our strength by raising the level of foreign players and young players,” and declared that he would “nurture and discover new players. This season, however, the Giants’ young players were sluggish and their foreign pitchers were disappointing.

As a result, they slumped to the B class for the first time in five years and missed the Climax Series for the first time under manager Tatsunori Hara’s administration. The team was on the verge of falling to the bottom of the standings for the first time in 45 years. This off-season, I think the team will change its policy and aggressively acquire FA players with its abundant financial resources,” said a source close to the team.

This season’s FA holders include many big names. They include Nishi Yuki, the mainstay of Hanshin’s starting lineup, Seibu’s regular catcher Mori Tomoya, and Kondo Kensuke, a good hitter for Nippon Ham. …… Nishi of the Hanshin team dyed his hair black, which was thought to be an autumn wave to the Giants, and there were initially predictions that the Giants would acquire them across the board.

Teams ahead of the Giants in the acquisition race

The reality, however, was not so sweet.

The new Hanshin manager, Akifumi Okada, is appealing to the front office, saying, ‘I want you to keep Nishi, no matter what it takes. Nishi has not been able to build up a record of 6-9 and 9-9 over the past two years, but that is because the opposing team is going to use an ace-level pitcher. He has a lot of quality starts, pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs or less, and he can make a solid game. I think Hanshin will offer reasonable conditions and do their best to keep him.

Seibu’s Mori is likely to exercise his FA rights, but the Orix are one step ahead in the race to acquire him. The team is based in Mori’s hometown of Osaka, and he himself was a member of the Orix Junior when he was a boy. They are an attractive team for a catcher because he can lead powerful pitchers such as Sawamura Award winner Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

It seems that the Giants’ name value and status no longer attracts players as it used to do in the past. The situation is not optimistic for the Giants, who are aiming to regain the top position next season. It is not only FA players that the Giants are likely to make moves to acquire.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Blue Jays), who was released from the majors for the third time in August. It was revealed that his timing does not match the fastballs of U.S. pitchers at all, and it will be difficult for him to be promoted to the majors again. If he were to return to Japanese baseball, his old team, the Bay Stars, would probably raise his hand, as he played the No. 4 position for many years, but under the current circumstances, it would be very difficult for him to become a regular. The first base or outfield position that Tsutsuka defends could be occupied by Keita Sano, Austin, or even Shugo Maki or Soto.

The Giants have some strong right-handed hitters, such as Kazuma Okamoto and Sho Nakata, but they have not developed a Japanese cannon in left field. Tsutsuka, who has a lot of experience in Japan and the U.S., is a must for the Giants, who have many young players. He has a good relationship with Sho Nakata, who played with him in the Samurai Japan team, and I think Tsutsuka would feel at home on this team.

The Giants have failed to win the championship two years in a row, and if they fail to do so for a third consecutive season, it would be the first disgrace since Yoshinobu Takahashi’s tenure as manager in 2005. The Giants are likely to make bold moves in the off-season to clear their name.

  • Photo: Jiji Press Jiji Press

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