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Forget the strains of "Welcome Back" streaming from MLB loudspeakers next year ... muscle mag cover boy Gabe "Kotter" Kaplan has left the Red Sox and signed with the Giants ... the Yomiuri Giants, that is. We all know the story of former Jay farmhand Cecil Fielder, who left Toronto, ate up Japan, and returned to hit 51 homers for the Tigers in his inaugural season back in the states. That leads us to the multiple ...

Question(s) of the Day: What are the best U.S.-to-Japan and Japan-to-U.S. baseball stories? Does this topic interest you? Why or why not? Who's over there now that you want to see in a Jays uniform (U.S. expatriates and otherwise)? And most importantly, for Kapler anyway, how will the Gabe fare in the breaking-ball-first environment that awaits him?
QOTD: Tip of the Kapler | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 10:12 AM EST (#12997) #
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits3?statsId=6140&type=batting
Gabe seems to have fared equally as well (or equally poorly) against finesse and power pitchers. COMN. Subjectively, I've felt that he could develop some if given consistent playing time. My guess is that he spends a year or two in Japan, and returns as a solid corner outfielder after that.
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 11:16 AM EST (#12998) #
Soriano, although it was Dominicana-Japan-USA..
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 11:18 AM EST (#12999) #
Pettagine, that would be a good bat to have in jays bench ( i can't stop thinking Berg in first base/ corner OF and having dizziness)
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 11:34 AM EST (#13000) #
Jabonoso, I've lost track of Petagine since he was a hot prospect for Houston stuck behind Bagwell. What happened to him in Japan?

Berg at 1B/corner outfield? Dizziness definitely. Creeping nausea also.
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 11:58 AM EST (#13001) #
He has been hitting well, and his price has gone up too ( last time i checked he was around 4 mil per )
Lucas - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 12:37 PM EST (#13002) #
http://japanesebaseball.com/index.jsp
COMN for a website that has career stats for Japanese players.

I don't know who the best expat in Japan is, but Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes would have to be up there. Career line of .288/.380/.557, 333 homers in nine years.
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 12:44 PM EST (#13003) #
Seguignol and Zuleta are hitting well too!
_Evair Montenegr - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 02:06 PM EST (#13004) #
I will like to have Seguinol and Zuleta in the blue jays as they are both panamanian and it could increase the blue jays fans in Panama.
_Lee - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 02:29 PM EST (#13005) #
Soriano, although it was Dominicana-Japan-USA.

You mean Alfonso Soriano? When did he play in Japan and what team did he play with over there?

As far as the best Japan-to-US story, if you're talking about a Japanese player coming over to MLB who then had/will have a great career, then I would say Matsui. He was absolutely robbed on ROY, which I find odd since Ichiro won it just a couple years before, so the argument about his previous experience in the Japanese leagues doesn't stand up. This past seaon, he made tremendous strides in terms of becoming acclimated to the way he was being pitched to over here, and as a result showed the tremendous all-around game I think a lot of people in NY expected from him the year before. He probably won't ever hit for quite as much power here as he did there, but overall he is a great player, among the top few in the game today IMO.
_Marc - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 02:30 PM EST (#13006) #
Alfonso Soriano played in the Japanese minor leagues.
_Lee - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 02:30 PM EST (#13007) #
Oh, in case it wasn't obvious, the Matsui I was referring to is Hideki. Kaz still has a ways to go...
_DeMarco - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 03:36 PM EST (#13008) #
From Rotoworld:

Greg Myers - C - TOR


Blue Jays re-signed catcher Greg Myers to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Myers will receive a $700,000 salary if he makes the Blue Jays, and he could earn an additional $50,000 in bonuses. There's a real chance that the team will carry him as a backup catcher and send both Kevin Cash and Guillermo Quiroz to Triple-A. Of course, they'll still need a starter. Nov. 23 - 2:48 pm et
_Braby21 - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 03:49 PM EST (#13009) #
Why wouldn't the Jays go after a Japan "legend" type player like Matsui (Hideki), with all the Japanese people in Toronto it could really cause a buzz in the Japanese parts of town to have a local hero playing in Toronto.
_Lee - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 03:50 PM EST (#13010) #
Why wouldn't the Jays go after a Japan "legend" type player like Matsui (Hideki), with all the Japanese people in Toronto it could really cause a buzz in the Japanese parts of town to have a local hero playing in Toronto.

Interesting. Maybe they suspected they'd get outbid?
_Moffatt - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 04:03 PM EST (#13011) #
Why wouldn't the Jays go after a Japan "legend" type player like Matsui (Hideki), with all the Japanese people in Toronto it could really cause a buzz in the Japanese parts of town to have a local hero playing in Toronto.

Toronto has a very small Japanese population relative to other big cities in MLB. Which is why they'll probably always get outbid.
_Jacko - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 06:02 PM EST (#13012) #

Blue Jays re-signed catcher Greg Myers to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Myers will receive a $700,000 salary if he makes the Blue Jays, and he could earn an additional $50,000 in bonuses. There's a real chance that the team will carry him as a backup catcher and send both Kevin Cash and Guillermo Quiroz to Triple-A. Of course, they'll still need a starter. Nov. 23 - 2:48 pm et


They are resigning double-G, yes? Or did his solid season price him out of the Jays plans?

Cause itís Zaun daddy Zaun
Your glove is gone
daddy Zaun daddy Zaun
The glove is gone...
_DW - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 10:07 PM EST (#13013) #
http://www.japanesebaseball.com/forum/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=5216
I'm sure someone else has already posted this elsewhere, but Mike Nakamura was the 4th round pick of the Ham Fighters in the recent NPB draft (see homepage). This is relatively unique, Mac Suzuki being the closest comp to this situation that springs to mind...

Johjima would be nice behind the plate ... Alex Cabrera is better than Zuleta (and probably Seguignol) and could easily go Cecil Fielder in the states (speaking of power, not child rearing).
_jason - Tuesday, November 23 2004 @ 10:08 PM EST (#13014) #
My favorite story about a player leaving the majors is of Kapler's teamate last year, Kevin Millar. I don't remeber the whole story but he had had a good year in Florida the year before, goes to Japan then without playing a game there comes back and is exeptional for the Red Sox
_Chuck Van Den C - Wednesday, November 24 2004 @ 07:54 AM EST (#13015) #
Jason, I don't think Millar physically went to Japan. Rather, he got a contract offer from Theo Epstein, then the new Boston GM. He used the excuse of being nervous about living outside of the US post-9/11 to somehow wiggle his way out of his Japanese commitment.

With an 820 OPS as a 1B/DH in 2003, he was hardly exceptional. He did get a lot of notoriety, however, as a clubhouse leader, particularly with the whole Cowboy Up thing and his frat party dance video.
Craig B - Wednesday, November 24 2004 @ 11:35 AM EST (#13016) #
Johjima would be nice behind the plate ... Alex Cabrera is better than Zuleta (and probably Seguignol) and could easily go Cecil Fielder in the states (speaking of power, not child rearing).

Alex Cabrera wouldn't be bad, but you'll have to pay a lot of money to find out.

Jojima has, apparently, no interest currently in coming over, and has not been posted. (A Japanese player has to be "posted" by his team in order to be signed by an MLB club, or released outright).

The leading guy posted/released this year so far is Tadahito Iguchi, but he's a second baseman so the Jays probably won't be interested. He's a glove man with a bit of pop, but nowhere near the star that Ichiro or either Matsui was. He played for Daiei Hawks.

The Jays have already been linked to Denny Tomori, but he's extremely homer-prone and I wouldn't be interested.

There's a real nice third baseman, Akinori Iwamura, who wanted to be posted but the Swallows wouldn't let him go. It's obvious why - he's a good third baseman who hit .300 with 44 bombs last year, one behind the Central League lead. And he's only 25. The Yakult chairman said "maybe next year" but I get the feeling that they're going to play hardball with him and try to hang on to him for as long as they can. Iwamura is VERY strikeout-prone, nearly 33% of his at-bats this past year, so he might end up being a Russell Branyan type with a better glove. He's someone the Jays should look at in 2005. Depending, of course, on how Hill and Adams shake out.

There's another nifty little second baseman, Toshihisa Nishi, who played for the Giants and has a good-glove rep, has sure hands, and hit 28 homers last year. But he doesn't get on base at all. Apparently, he's hired Scott Boras. Again, the Jays have no interest in second basemen for the foreseeable future.

So who *should* the Jays be looking at? I'm going to answer that in an upcoming article!
QOTD: Tip of the Kapler | 20 comments | Create New Account
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