A couple of notes to pass along regarding Japanese player activity at this week's MLB winter meetings:
- Sponichi is reporting that the Astros are interested in So Taguchi. Agent Alan Nero has talked to five teams so far and is continuing to shop Taguchi around.
- Tadahito Iguchi will be in the States during the meetings, and hopes to decide on a 2009 team by the 20th. Iguchi has offers on both sides of the Pacific, and has reportedly already decided against returning the Phillies.
- Ken Takahashi's agent isn't expecting to see any movement for his client until the meetings start. Takahashi has been working out with a Major League ball.
- The Orioles are reportedly preparing to offer both Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara 2-year/$10m deals. This seems surprisingly low to me. Even in this bad economy, the Giants still found $8m for Jeremy Affeldt.
- Another report has an international scout from an AL East team putting the market for Uehara at 2 years, $5m. I think he would be a tremendous bargain at that price.
- I had read that Rakuten manager Katsuya Nomura would be in attendance at the winter meetings, but I think the Golden Eagles are done shopping this offseason. SoftBank, HIroshima, Lotte and possibly Hanshin still have foreign player slots open and could be active at the meetings.
- And this last one isn't really winter meetings related, but I'll through it out anyway. Remember Akinori Otsuka? He spent the year training and rehabbing after his injury in 2007. He wrote of his good relationship with new Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu in his blog, so I'll speculate that if he's healthy enough to pitch in 2009, Seattle might be the place. Otsuka seems to maintain a residence in San Diego, and he would be a Padres-type signing.