The Hanshin team is running toward its first “thing” in 18 years. Manager Akifu Okada, 65, has great faith in the team, saying, “We are the strongest right now,” but he is said to be growing distrustful of the team’s front office.
On July 19, just before the deadline for trades and reinforcements, Hanshin acquired Colten Brewer, 30, a new foreign pitcher formerly with the Yankees’ 3A team, who made his first-team debut on August 15 against Hiroshima and has been kept in the bullpen as a relief pitcher, but “the manager is questioning the team’s policy on acquiring helpers. “The manager is questioning the team’s policy on acquiring help,” said a source at a local TV station.
Okada-san wanted a cannon to replace Sheldon Noisy (28), whose batting average has slumped to around .250, but he couldn’t come up with a list of candidates, so he went with a relief pitcher. Who the hell are you bringing in? I was furious. I didn’t think about it at all,” he told the press, “and I think he was being sarcastic toward the front office.
Adding to the distrust of the front office was the case of Brian Keller (29), whose contract was terminated on July 25, just six days after the acquisition of Brewer.
He was a key starter, but he didn’t pitch much in camp because he insisted on going at his own pace, and ended up being useless because of a right elbow injury.
Manager Okada said, “The scouts are not doing their job at all. （He hasn’t been going on overseas tours, so he hasn’t been able to accumulate any mileage. He kept complaining, “He hasn’t pitched a single game, and all he does is rehab all the time. It seems that the acquisition of Brewer was more to make up for Keller’s blunders than to bolster the team’s strength.
However, Okada said, “It’s not that we wanted a replacement for Keller. This year, the foreign players are not working, not at all. He said, “Oh, well. It’s hard for Okada to be proactive when the front office brings in helpers just to balance the books without listening to the needs of the front office.
Another team official confided, “The relationship between Okada and the front office was always tenuous, but the failure to bring in a new assistant is likely to make things even more difficult.
Satoshi Shimamura, general manager of the baseball team, and Osamu Tanimoto, acting director and owner of the baseball team, were apparently very opposed to Okada’s appointment as manager in the first place. The one who recommended him was Katsuo Hirata, 64, the head coach of the first team. Since they are in charge of the organization, I think it is difficult to trust them.General Manager Shimamura was a great admirer of the late Katsuya Nomura, who had a delicate relationship with Okada. When he became manager of Rakuten, he quit the team and went out of his way to come to Sendai as the manager’s PR person. He came back to Hanshin through the arrangement of an old friend of the team’s executive.If that happens, Okada’s authority will be strengthened, and there may be a major shakeup of the front office in the off-season.
It is the Hanshin’s specialty to have a mess in the off-season, but I hope they will be on good terms with each other at least after the first such a mess is made in 18 years.
Photo： Kyodo News