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Free Agent Roundup

by Patrick Newman (Jan 5, 2009)

It's the first week of January and none of the major Japanese free agents have found MLB homes yet. Let's check in on a few of them:

  • The Japanese press picked up on a Boston Globe article suggesting that the Red Sox had offered Takashi Saito a contract shortly after he was non-tendered by LA. Nikkan Sports adds that he got a deluge of almost 10 offers in December, including one from the Cardinals. Nikkan Sports suggests that he'll be able to beat the $2.5m the Dodgers offered, and will spend the early part of the year narrowing down his options.
  • Outfielder Tatsuya Ozeki is yet another minor league-level guy eyeing a move to the States. Ozeki actually signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee after the 2005 season, but never played in America as the Brewers had used up their allotment of work visa applications. You can read more about Ozeki at the BR Bullpen.
  • Ken Takahashi might be starting to sweat a little bit. He's quoted in the Chugoku Shimbun as saying, "I can't see anything ahead." The article also reports that he spoke to agent Peter Greenberg once at the end of 2008, but they didn't have anything concrete to talk about. Sponichi reminds us that the Mets and Cubs were publicly interested last year, but haven't yet talked terms with Takahashi.
  • And finally, the Orix Buffaloes are still looking to add a foreign position player. Said team president Nakamura: "this isn't a sweet world where we can assume this year will be good because last year was. We still need to rely on foreign players". Orix was looking at pulling Richard Hidalgo off the scrap heap, but they already have one injury risk in Greg LaRocca on the roster. 

Strangely absent from media reports is Koji Uehara. I wonder what's going on with him these days?


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