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Patrick Newman

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NPB Trade: Ichiba for Miyade

by Patrick Newman (Mar 25, 2009)

Rakuten has finally given up on pitcher Yasuhiro Ichiba, trading the former top prospect to Yakult for outfielder Ryuji Miyade. Ichiba was once a hot commodity; multiple teams (Hanshin, Yomiuri, Yokohama if I remember correctly) paid him under the table prior to the 2004 with the hopes of signing him. That was back when top college and industrial league players could choose which team to sign with prior to being drafted. Ichiba eventually choose to sign with the expansion Rakuten franchise, a team that did not yet exist when all the scandalous payments were going down.

This trade reminds me of the deal that brought Hayato Terahara to to Yokohama. Terahara was also a former top prospect who didn't pan out with the team that drafted him (SoftBank), so they moved him for a hitter, Hitoshi Tamura. Terahara has blossomed into a star in Yokohama, while Tamura hasn't accomplished much for the Hawks. The big difference is that Tamura was a much better player than Miyade is now.

It's hard not to like this trade for Yakult - they get a 26 year-old former top prospect who may still have some upside left, and only give up a 31 year-old fourth outfielder who apparently didn't fit into their plans. Rakuten gets a guy who should be able to fill a bench role, but it's safe to say that when the team drafted Ichiba they were hoping for more.


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