Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More NPB roundup stuff

I'm up a bit later than I expected to be, so I'm watching a little of tonight's MLB-Japan game. Apparently I missed Lackey striking out Soyogi, Aoki, and Arai in a row, but I did get to see Tsuyoshi Wada strike out Ryan Howard, Andrew Jones, and Joe Mauer in a row. It seems like Fukuoka faithful are happy to see Iguchi and Johjima out on the field together here again.

Okay, so on suggestion from msb I actually went and watched the Bronson Arroyo "home videos of Tokyo", which are actually pretty amusing. (And in the meantime I missed seeing Takahiro Arai hit a home run!) It's just sort of funny footage of Arroyo going around Tokyo, and of some of the other players, and whatnot. (Ha, and Shuichi Murata just hit a solo homer.) Lots of silly footage of Eric Bedard. Also, you can see Arroyo and Bill Hall singing/rapping on MTV Japan, which is... frightening.

BTW, if you read Japanese and you're not reading Kazuo Fukumori's blog through this series, you're really missing out, it's hilarious. Talking about Saturday's game he's like... "then I see Ryan Howard from the mound... OMG HIS NOSE IS HUGE! (oh and his body too)" and then comes back to the bench joking to Nomura that "So I defeated the 3-4-5 of the MLB players, I even struck one out, next year I'm going to the majors, ok?" Then after his terrible outing yesterday, he's talking like he has multiple personality disorder or something.

You know, it's Makoto Kaneko's birthday on November 8th. Oddly, it's also Orix's Chihiro Kaneko's birthday. The former is turning 31 and the latter is turning 23, though. What's fun about timezones is that it's only the same day in both countries from midnight-7am PST.

Anyway, I originally started this post intending to do something I don't tend to do all that often, and talk about the Yomiuri Giants.

Namely, what the hell are they doing? Is this some sort of attempt at a Pat Gillick Special, Japan-Style?

1. They signed Seung-Yeop Lee to a gargantuan contract, which isn't that terrible in itself; that keeps him from ages 30-34.

2. They traded Toshihisa Nishi to Yokohama for Masakuni Odajima. This is also not a terrible move (infact, if anything it's a bad move for Yokohama). Odajima has amazingly good numbers on the farm team (.933 OPS this year, .925 OPS last year), but hasn't really put up much on the top team as a catcher/1B backup. With Nishi in a decline and either 25-year-old Ryota Wakiya or 22-year-old Masahiro Nagata able to come take over second (assuming Nioka at short, not Kosaka), it makes sense to ditch him, and Odajima is probably a better backup catcher than, say, Sanematsu (Yeah, yeah, I know, shut up about him already). But then they

3. traded Nagata and RHP Takashi Kamoshida to Orix for Yoshitomo Tani, who will be 34 coming into next season. Now, I realize Kamei isn't exactly tearing it up in Hawaii, and Shimizu had a lousy year in 2006 and is unlikely to bounce back, and Takahashi never stays healthy for an entire season anymore, but Tani's been struck by nagging injuries these last few years too (and is almost a year older than Shimizu). Then again, Nagata had a whopping .516 OPS on the farm team this year, though Kamoshida was awesome, going 5-2 with 6 saves, striking out 55 and walking 14 in 34.1 innings with an ERA of 1.57. Of course, last year he was 1-5 and walked 40 in 59.1 innings, striking out 61 with an ERA of 5.31, on the farm team. I dunno. Yomiuri needs pitching though, so trading away a stronger farm pitcher and a weaker farm hitter seems sort of silly.

4. Traded for (or signed, whatever) Noriyoshi Ohmichi from the Hawks. Now, I like Ohmichi just fine, but getting a 37-year-old platoon outfielder to go with a 34-year-old outfielder?

5. They're going after Ogasawara, assuming Hiroki Kokubo is going back to the Hawks. However, from the big picture, is that such a great move for them either? They'll have to play him at third (with no DH, Lee will be at first), and they want to sign him for his age 33-36 years. The funny part is, I honestly think they'd be better off trying to grab a cheaper AAAA third baseman from the MLB -- a Justin Leone type. Plus, then I won't be forced to place a billion hexes on them.

I dunno. It just all seems weird. I know they want to win win win win, and that in theory, the Giants doing well is good for Japanese baseball, but something just plain doesn't seem right here in the world of Yomiuri. It's like they're deliberately trying to assemble a team full of proven, well-known guys in their mid-30's with a few spare parts to hold it together. Sound familiar?

Oh, hey, the Golden Gloves have been announced. I should go translate those lists and then sleep. Good thing I doubt I can get a video feed for the Asia Series, thus I won't bother staying up for it when it starts tomorrow night.

(POSTNOTE: Watching the all-star game get tied up at 3-3 was exciting, but then watching Satozaki get robbed of an RBI hit in the 10th was sad. And then seeing Reyes win the game 5-3 in the bottom of the 10th with a walkoff 2-run homer kind of sucked. If someone had to do it, I wish it had been Johjima, at least. Though, seeing Iguchi chatting up the Yahoo Dome ballgirls was pretty funny.)

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