“I think I still have unfinished business in the United States.
In January of this year, Masahiro Tanaka (32) of Rakuten spoke at a press conference when he returned to the Japanese baseball world for the first time in eight years. His contract with Rakuten is for two years. But Tanaka is said to have “opt-out rights” that allow him to challenge the majors midway through his contract. Will he try again in the off-season?
“I’m sure he would like to try, but it’s a delicate situation. Although he joined Rakuten as a contractor for the championship, he finished with a record of 4 wins and 9 losses. The team finished in third place. Tanaka felt responsible and said after his last pitch of the season, “I’ve caused trouble. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Please let me challenge the majors.
Although he didn’t win a lot of games, his ability to make games happen as a starting pitcher is very impressive, and he recorded 17 quality starts out of 23 games in which he allowed three earned runs or less in six innings. His WHIP, a measure of how many batters he has allowed to reach base in an inning, was 1.03, second best in the league. His annual salary (estimated at 900 million yen this year) may go down, but I think there are major league teams that will try to acquire him.
There is another pitcher who is rumored to be challenging the majors again. Tomoyuki Sugano (32), who used the posting system last year but stayed with the Giants because the conditions were not met. This season, he has acquired overseas FA rights.
“He may exercise his FA rights, but his situation is even more difficult than Tanaka’s. He’s been removed from the roster four times this season. I have the impression that he doesn’t use his lower body well and relies on the power of his upper body. In the past, I used to look down on hitters on the mound and say, ‘If you can hit it, go ahead and hit it. Now, it’s different. I wonder if I’ll be okay,” he said with a somewhat weak expression. I guess his physical condition is not good.
The medical checkups in the majors are much stricter than those in Japan, and if you’ve been removed from the roster four times, it makes a very bad impression. Even if he is in perfect physical condition, no team will offer him the conditions he wants. I can’t imagine the majors offering a multi-year contract to a player in his mid-30s who is prone to injuries. It’s unlikely that the majors will offer a multi-year deal to a player in his mid-30s who is prone to injuries.
Every pitch is a winning shot
Tanaka and Sugano have not been well received. I wonder if there is a Japanese player like Shohei Ohtani who can make American fans excited. The scout mentioned above said.
“The scout mentioned above said there is one pitcher he would like to acquire right now.
The scout said that there is one pitcher he would like to acquire immediately.
“Orix’s Yoshinobu Yamamoto (23). He has a four-seam fastball of nearly 160km, a split, a curve, and a cut ball, and all of his pitches are perfect enough to be winning shots. The world’s strongest hitters didn’t know which ball to focus on, and were taken aback. His heart is also very strong, unfazed by the big stage.
He is still young, only in his fifth year with the team. After winning the league championship, it is hard to imagine that Orix would let go of their ace Yamamoto so soon. However, Orix is a team that respects the wishes of its players and understands the posting process. Yamamoto is said to want to challenge the majors in the near future. This season in Japan, he became the 12th pitcher in history to win four titles (most wins, most strikeouts, best defense percentage, and highest winning percentage). I think he is a pitcher who can be expected to win 20 games in the majors.
Yamamoto is likely to attract even more attention in Japan and abroad in the future.
Photo： Kyodo News