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Patrick Newman

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Foreign Player Updates: Laforest, SoftBank, Lotte

by Patrick Newman (Oct 30, 2009)

Some notes about foreign player movement this offseason, mostly featuring the Chiba Lotte Marines:

  • Pete Laforest had a tryout with the Seibu Lions, the results of which will be announced in a few days. Laforest has spent the last few years in the Mexican League. It's rare for NPB teams to go after import catchers, so I'm wondering how Laforest would fit on to the Lions' roster.
  • The SoftBank Hawks are retaining DJ Houlton and Jose Ortiz for next season. You'd have to think they'll bring Brian Falkenborg back as well.
  • Hanshin is looking for Kenji Johjima to provide input on next year's foreign roster.
  • Chiba Lotte is looking at bringing in Marlins lefty minor leaguer Carlos Vasquez to pitch relief. Vasquez played for Venezuela in last year's WBC. At the same time, the Marines want reliable bullpen arm Brian Sikorski to take a 33% pay cut, and may lose him this offseason.
  • More from Lotte: the team is looking at bringing former Marine and Hawk Julio Zuleta back to Japan. He'll have a tryout in early November, and if he passes, the team will look at him as a low-budget option ($300k) for next year. Zuleta struggled in the Mexican League in 2009.
  • Yeet more from Lotte: the Marines are again looking at Korean slugger Kim Dong Ju this offseason. Kim has been trying to sign with an NPB club for years, and Bobby wanted to bring him to Chiba last season, but got denied by the front office.
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