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Patrick Newman

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Chunichi Acquires Minor Leaguers

by Patrick Newman (Dec 16, 2008)

Sanspo has reported that Chunichi signed two minor leaguers: infielder Tony Blanco and lefty pitcher Nelson Payano. Blanco, who has MLB experience with the Nationals, will earn $300k, while Payano will make $150k. Both players were in 2a last year, which is a little bit of a departure for Japan as NPB teams usually sign fringey MLB players. Chunichi had scouted the Domican Winter League with the intent of signing instructional players, but these guys appear to be headed for the regular roster.

This isn't the first time the Dragons are making this type of low-risk on foreign born prospects. Maximo Nelson, who played in Nagoya in 2008, is an interesting case. He'd never pitched above rookie ball in America and spent 2007 playing in Israel, but did make a couple of appearances for the top team in '08. I'm not sure if he'll be back with the Dragons next year or not.

Another development case is Aarom Baldiris, whom Hanshin acquired out of 2a before last season. Baldiris got quite a few at-bats with the Tigers and they seemed to really like him. He'll be back for '09.

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