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Cabrera, Houlton on-board; Shibahara files for arbitration

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Cabrera, Houlton on-board; Shibahara files for arbitration

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Apparently I missed the boat on this one, but DJ Houlton has been re-signed for a number of weeks now with the SoftBank Hawks. Apparently, Houlton had no takers on the open market, and he reportedly took a 50% pay cut to come back to the team.

In other team news, just after the New Year, Alex Cabrera finalized a two-year deal apparently worth 360 million yen. However, the Hakws are adamant on one thing that Cabrera does not do much: report to spring camp on time. He has only done it twice in his career, and the team is really harping on the big Venezuelan reporting to Miyazaki on February 1st.

In other team news, as much as I worried about Toshiya Sugiuchi signing his contract before spring camp, veteran outfielder Hiroshi Shibahara has had problems with the team's offers as well. Today, he became the seventh player in NPB history to file for salary arbitration since Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi first did it in 2001.

In fairness to the team, they did increase their offer by 8 million yen to raise the offer to 50 million, but it's still a huge decrease for Shibahara. NPB rules state that if a player has made over 100 million yen in a contract, the player must agree to any pay cut more than 40%. In this case, the pay cut being administered to Shibahara is 58%.

Shibahara went on record, saying, "I just don't get it. But instead of allowing this to get out of hand, I thought I would file for arbitration [and let my lawyer handle the rest] while I focus on my training."

In my opinion, the cut is justified. The 36-year old Shibahara has played in just 106 games the last two years after playing 133 in 2007, batting .277. A career .283 hitter, Shibahara has been with the team since 1997, but has been overtaken in the depth chart in recent years by Yuya Hasegawa, Seiichi Uchikawa, and also by Ryuma Kidokoro.
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