Lotte prioritizes “actual gain” over “entry into the major leagues”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Lotte prioritizes “actual gain” over “entry into the major leagues”.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Since his last start in an interchange game against Hiroshima on June 8 (at Mazda Stadium), Akinori Sasaki (22) of the Lotte baseball team has been in the second base due to a condition in his right upper limb. It is said that he is certain to join Major League Baseball in the U.S. this offseason, but instead of cheering him on to realize his dream, those around him are concerned about his “real-world situation.

The Dodgers are said to be the most likely candidate.

Sasaki has been a member of the starting rotation since the season began, but after pitching against Softbank on May 24, he was struck from the rotation due to a delayed recovery from upper-body fatigue. Manager Masato Yoshii, 59, said, “Nothing will happen (unless Sasaki gives the go-ahead). ……” Yoshii said he was not sure if he would be promoted again.

Yoshii said early in the season, “This will be a competitive season for Sasaki, who is in his fifth year as a pro. In order to be successful in the majors, where he has to pitch a lot, he needed to stay in the starting rotation at all costs. However, he left the game twice in less than half the number of games he pitched in the season.

In the major leagues, the number of innings pitched is more important than the velocity of a fastball, and scouts have become less and less interested in him. It is true that with such a high output from a relatively slender body, the burden on the body may increase, making it easier for pitchers to leave the game. However, the team as a whole has in a sense ‘spoiled’ Sasaki, and this has led to his lack of professionalism.

Under the current system, Sasaki, who is under the age of 25, can only sign a minor league contract in the major leagues, and the money he is paid to the team is a drop in the bucket. Lotte has no reason to indulge Sasaki’s selfishness in order to get to the majors. ……

Yoshii, who has experience in the majors, must have understood this. Manager Yoshii, who has experience in the majors, must understand this, and some have suggested a coaching policy that would have him learn how to defend a rotation spot even if it means pushing himself a little too hard. This would help Sasaki’s chances of making it to the Majors.

Yet, whenever there is even the slightest change in Sasaki, the team’s trainer rushes in to persuade him to take a day off.

The team’s complicated situation seems to be behind this overprotective attitude.

Sasaki has appeared in commercials and advertisements for various companies, including Rohto Pharmaceuticals and Hotto Motto, and the baseball team receives a portion of their commissions. The baseball team will be in trouble if exposure is reduced, including in-field productions, and if Sasaki is out of the game for a long period of time, the team’s income will be reduced rapidly.

The team’s true intention is to do business with Sasaki while they can, since he is going to leave anyway. The best way to do this is to accommodate his request as much as possible and give him enough time to rest and feel good about himself. It is said that both Sasaki’s strong desire to be a major player and her commercial appearances were influenced by a Dentsu employee with whom she is said to have a close relationship. As long as she continues to be associated with that person, this bad situation will continue.

Sasaki, who has been missing a lot of games to pursue his dream, and Lotte, who wants to increase the team’s real earnings before their ace joins the majors. Will the fans be satisfied with both sides’ intentions?

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles