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Patrick Newman

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Saburo Goes With His Gut

by Patrick Newman (Nov 9, 2008)

Chiba Lotte outfielder Saburo Ohmura is set to officially announce his intent to pursue a move to MLB on November 10th. The veteran Marine, known as Saburo in Japan, made up his mind after a trip to America, where he had a physical and took in a World Series game. "I choose with my gut," said Saburo, adding he "didn't want this dream to end as a dream."

Saburo is a career .264/.337/.403 hitter in NPB and is a strong fielder, scoring Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2007. He's coming off a two-year contract that paid him about $700K/season, down from his peak salary of $850K in 2006. JapaneseBaseball.com has his stats up to 2007, and I dug up a clip of him hitting a home run in 2007.

The Sports Hochi article I linked to above mentions the A's, Braves, Nationals, and Pirates as teams with with outfield needs and speculates that they might be destinations. Living in the Bay Area however, I've seen plenty of A's baseball and can say firsthand that they have plenty of guys like Saburo and aren't really in need of another. I don't really see Saburo hitting enough to compete for a starting job, but should be able to handle all three OF positions well enough to be a useful 4th outfielder. An NL team looking to add OF depth would probably be the best fit.


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