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Two more close to joining Hawks

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Two more close to joining Hawks

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The SoftBank Hawks are apparently close to finalizing deals with noted foreign slugger Alex Cabrera and Kansas City Royals minor league starter Anthony Lerew.

According to YakyuBaka, the Hawks are close to hammering out the final details of what could be a one-year deal worth about 50 million yen for the right-handed starter. Last year with Omaha, he went 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 19 starts in 123 and 2/3 innings, and he tossed one complete game shutout with a 1.33 WHIP. Hopefully Lerew fills the void that was left by DJ Houlton's departure.

On the offensive side of the baseball, the Hawks have continued their intensely productive offseason. The team is apparently close to finalizing a two-year deal with slugger Alex Cabrera, who should add some left-right balance and the long-sought foreign power to the lineup. The deal is projected for two years and could be worth as much as 360 million yen.

This contract makes sense for the Hawks because they need foreign power (as Sadaharu Oh said at the end of the season), and Cabrera also does not count towards the foreign player limit. It would pretty much guarantee that Cabrera is the full-time DH, and this could be a vote of no confidence in Nobuhiko Matsunaka's health. The same would go for Jose Ortiz, who has folded each of the last two years after getting hurt.

The problems with this are also myriad as well. Cabrera turns 39 on Christmas Eve, and he has been hurt the last two seasons with Orix. He played in just 65 games in 2009 and 112 last year. This is a case where the Hawks' incentive-based contracts would work in their favor and also make sense, as the team could throw in incentives for games played and statistical incentives.

Cabrera hit .331 with 24 home runs and 82 RBI's for the Orix Buffaloes last year, and is the owner of 346 career home runs in Japan, with a .310 batting average and a 1.018 OPS.
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