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Hanshin Tigers 2014 Preview

Baseball news from Japan and Asia

Welcome to the Tiger Tails Blog

Featuring Christopher Amano-Langtree (a.k.a. Christopher)

This blog will attempt to report on as many Hanshin Tigers games as possible. Games will be, if possible, reported the day after and on rare occasions the same day.

Hanshin Tigers 2014 Preview

1 reply. Most recent reply: Mar 29, 2014 7:49 AM by Guest

Tigers made second in 2013 rather because the opposition was so poor apart from the Giants. Things did not go well with the team and the familiar weaknesses manifested themselves. One does not want to see one's favourite team used as a retirement home for old has beens but this trend seems to be continuing. Toritani predicted that Tigers would finish second this year which is a fantastic vote of confidence in the team's abilities from the team captain.

Trades and Free Agents
Tigers 2013 signings were almost universally disasters. Brooks Conrad was conspicuous by his absence and rapidly disappeared back to the USA - another Tigers scouting failure. Fukudome was out injured too often and failed to make any impact. Hidaka was useless and made Fujii look good which was extremely difficult. For this season we must expect more of the same. The most exciting move was the signing of Seung Hwan Oh from Korea who it is hoped will fill the closer void that Tigers have been experiencing. There is a question mark about his action though. Of course it was considered OK in the WBC but not in NPB where the umpiring class is nothing if not stupid. Let us hope they don't create any fuss about it. The power hitter from the US is slated to be Mario Gomez. He isn't exactly an exciting prospect based on his stats and he has already had to miss several days of camp due to 'tightness' in his lower body. We can always hope that he is OK for the season but Tigers management have already instructed their scouts to look for potential replacements. A farce one could not make up but about par for the course with the Tigers organisation. With obvious issues relating to Fujii and Hidaka Tigers have done what they usually do and signed another catcher in his dotage. This time the lucky recipient of Tigers largesse is Tsuruoka from the BayStars. He was so vital to the BayStars plans that they didn't even bother to protect him and Tigers wasted their opportunity to grab a young player with potential but then the coaching team has no ability to recognise such a prospect. Standridge has left Tigers and gone back to Hawks but Messenger and Murton will all be back.

This was ineffective again though this time Murton was the most effective batter of the season with 85 RBIs. There were lots of experiments and switches in positions and lots of ideas about which the less said the better. Wada had Murton at No. 4 for a while and the stupidity of this equalled his move of putting Kanemoto in the position during 2012. He (Wada) hadn't learned anything and didn't do so during the season. Only Ryota, Arai and Toritani were able to get over the 50 RBI mark besides Murton and we really did get an impression of a poorly managed batting lineup. To their credit Tigers have reacted by adding Kakefu and O'Malley as batting advisers but Kakefu has already gone on record expressing obsolete and out of touch ideas (1000 swings). One is always ready to be surprised but I am not holding my breath. The comment I made at the beginning of 2013 still holds. Tigers do need to improve their batting drastically to challenge for the championship. I do not see Gomez as adding that extra element at the moment.

With poor catching the pitching underperformed and to be honest the only bright spark was Fujinami. What was horrifying was how the bright young talent faded and disappeared. Whatever happened to Akiyama and Iwamoto? Abysmal pitching coaching full of rigid ideas and instructions and stifling of all attempts to develop individual styles hamstrung the pitching. Kubo had had enough of the coaching idiocy and left taking free agency. Catching was dismal and incompetent apart from the bright spark of Shimizu late in the season who was showing Fujii how it should be done. After Shimizu's sterling work Wada then went with Fujii for the play off games which were embarrassing disasters. This was management of the lowest level. The pitching is still strong with the core of Nohmi, Fujinami, Messenger but what about the other pitchers who are muzzled and restricted by the incompetent coaching and poor calling. Tigers need to bring them out.

Toritani has already downgraded Tigers prospects and one has to agree with him. However, with an ever improving Carp second place might not be within reach of Tigers. Tigers organisation has become too rigid and sclerotic and also is now a home for fading players. The management is not able to bring out the best in either its older players or younger players and there are too many hidebound timeservers in positions of influence. Tigers need change and reform to take the pennant but they haven't got it and so will remain second rate. And yes I am pissed about it.
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Re: Hanshin Tigers 2014 Preview

[ Author: Guest: zman | Posted: Mar 29, 2014 7:49 AM ]
But Christopher, you are forgetting about the cheerleaders.

Actually in Korea they have them and they are entertaining. They dance on the clubhouse roof usually along with the mascots.
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