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2007-08 Free Agents

Discussion in the NPB News forum
2007-08 Free Agents
The 68 eligible free agents list has been released from the Commissioner's Office. Some of the names are mentioned in this Kyodo News article [via Japan Ball]. The entire chart has been posted in Japanese on Sankei Sports (SanSpo).

I'm afraid that I need to get some rest, so I'll translate the table and link to the players' profile pages first thing tomorrow morning (JST) unless somebody beats me to it.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 23, 2007 10:37 AM | YBS Fan ]

Here is the complete list of players who have reached free agency for the 2007-08 off season:
Team       Player                Age
========= ==================== ===
Giants Ohmichi Noriyoshi 38
Kimura Takuya 35
Maeda Yukinaga 37
Kosaka Makoto 34
Tani Yoshitomo 34
Takahashi Yoshinobu 32 1st

Chunichi Inoue Kazuki 36
Ueda Yoshinori 33
Tatsunami Kazuyoshi 38
Yamamoto Masahiro 42
Tomori (Denny) Yui 40
Iwase Hitoki 32 1st
Hirai Masafuji 32 1st
Fukudome Kosuke* 30 1st
Watanabe Hiroyuki 37 1st

Hanshin Imaoka Makoto 33
Hiyama Shinjiro 38
Shimoyanagi Tsuyoshi 39 2nd

Yokohama Ishii Takuro 37
Kudoh Kimiyasu 44
Saeki Takahiro 37
Taneda Hitoshi 36
Suzuki Takanori 35
Kawakami Takeo 35 1st
Miura Daisuke 33 2nd

Hiroshima Ogata Koichi 38
Sasaoka Shinji 40
Takahashi Ken 38
Maeda Tomonori 36
Kuroda Hiroki 32
Arai Takahiro 30 1st

Yakult Furuta Atsuya 42
Miyamoto Shinya 36
Ishii Kazuhisa 34

Nippon Kaneko Makoto 31
Ham Tanaka Yukio 39
Nakajima Satoshi 38
Kanemura Satoru 31 1st

Lotte Hori Koichi 38
Ohmura Saburo 31
Fukuura Kazuya 31
Kobayashi Masahide 33 1st
Komiyama Satoru 42 2nd
Takagi Koji 39 1st
Fujita Soichi 35 1st
Yabuta Yasuhiko 34 1st

SoftBank Shibahara Hiroshi 33
Honma Mitsuru 35 1st
Matsunaka Nobuhiko 33 1st

Rakuten Kawamoto Yasuyuki 39
Sekikawa Koichi 38
Yoshida Toyohiko 41
Isobe Koichi 33
Ogura Hisashi 37
Yamasaki Takeshi 38
Yoshioka Yuji 36
Fukumori Kazuo 31 1st

Seibu Ishii Takashi 36
Etoh Akira 37
Takagi Hiroyuki 35
Nishiguchi Fumiya 35
Wada Kazuhiro 35 1st

Orix Kiyohara Kazuhiro 40
Mizuguchi Eiji 38
Tuffy Rhodes 39
Yoshida Shuji 40
Kitagawa Hirotoshi 35 1st
Muramatsu Arihito 34 2nd
* Player who has reached free agency due to the new disabled list special day served allocation.

Players without any note to the right of their age qualified for free agency in previous years but have not yet exercised their free agency rights. "1st" and "2nd" notations to the right of players' ages denotes players reaching free agency for their first or second times this year.

Please keep in mind that just because a player is listed here does not mean that the player is free to go where he wants. Hiroshima's Kuroda, for example, did not exercise his free agent rights last off season and signed a four year contract with the Carp. He did, however, have a stipulation in his contract that he may still declare free agency if he feels compelled to try to go to the Majors before the four year contract is up.

Other free agents, like Furuta, plan to retire.

The next step in the free agency game is for players to declare whether or not they wish to exercise their rights as a free agent. To do so, they have 7 work days (Saturday, Sunday, national holidays excluded) after the end of the Nippon Series to notify the Commissioner's Office that they are declaring free agency.

Once the declaration period has ended, the Commissioner's Office will publish a list of declaring players, and teams (both within and without the country) may start courting the declaring players. Other teams than the team a declaring free agent is on are forbidden to discuss possible signing until the day after the list is published. Charges of tampering will be raised, and we'll have to go through another scandal investigation. I expect that the MLB teams will be patient and ride the process out properly.

[Updated to highlight declarees, trades, and releasees on Nov. 15, 2007 10:44 AM JST]
[ Author: Guest: Joe Trotter | Posted: Oct 24, 2007 4:03 AM ]

I have heard that Toyoda from the Giants might be available this off-season as a free agent, either to come to MLB or change teams. Is that just a rumor? Or is there some truth to that?

Thanks a lot!
Re: Toyoda?
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 24, 2007 9:44 AM | YBS Fan ]

I don't understand this question. If Toyoda's name isn't in the above table, then he isn't a free agent this off season. There is a slim chance that the Giants would just straight out release him (but I don't know why). Where have you heard this? Please post a URL if possible.

Furthermore, if you're new here, the Giants don't recognize the Posting System, so there is no chance he'll be posted by them.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: Dookie | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 9:47 AM ]

Probably goofy questions but:
  • What is the "new disabled list special day served allocation"?
  • Also, what is the significance of the player reaching free agency for the first or second time?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 10:06 AM | SFT Fan ]

- What is the "new disabled list special day served allocation"?

This topic explains the new disabled list allocation.

- Also, what is the significance of the player reaching free agency for the first or second time?

After receiving free agency (9 years), a player is free to sign with any team he wishes, much like free agency in MLB. It works the same way for free agency the second time, the only significance of acquiring free agency the second time is that you've had a long career.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 10:16 AM | YBS Fan ]

Not goofy at all. They just show that we're getting a lot of new people here.

- What is the "new disabled list special day served allocation"?

Please see this post from last August.

- Also, what is the significance of the player reaching free agency for the first or second time?

Significance? You mean a piece of information has to have significance? It was just there!

Just kidding. It's useful to distinguish those players who just reach free agency and those who have reached free agency but had not yet used their right to freely negotiate with other teams. Many of the players who have not yet used their free agency rights will be under multi-year contracts or will not be interested in moving anywhere anyway. Some may change their minds, but not many.

The first time free agents are the main targets for other teams (NPB and MLB) as it's their first time on the free market.

Those that have reached free agency for a second (or third) time are serious old timers now and will probably not be pursued by other teams or use free agency as a bargaining chip for contract renewal.

In short, first time free agents have the highest probability of exercising their free agency rights. But more don't than do, nonetheless.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: Dookie | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 10:53 AM ]

I get it! Thanks a lot!

Can I ask another one?

Why are there no foreigners on this list? If a foreign player's contract is up, is it looked at differently?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 25, 2007 2:20 PM | YBS Fan ]

- Why are there no foreigners on this list?

Actually, Tuffy Rhodes is on the list. He qualified a couple of years ago, having put in 9 full years of service between Kintetsu (merged with Orix) and Giants. Because of this, he is currently not considered a foreign player with regard to the foreign player roster limits.

Most foreign players don't last nearly that long, though.

- If a foreign player's contract is up, is it looked at differently?

Yes and no. Teams are more willing to give up a foreign player's contract if they don't live up to expectations. A Japanese player who doesn't perform falls under one of two categories:
  1. Veteran who's value as a mentor to younger players and popularity at the gate out weighs his slumping bat.
  2. Developing player who will eventually come around.
As unfair as it is, foreigners very rarely fall under one of those two categories. Instead, they're expected to already be developed and fill a particular role immediately. There is little or no time for adjustment, just do it. If they don't, they are released, and other teams may sign them at will if they saw some talent that might be tapped. (And there have been quite a few cases where a foreign flop for one team has proven to be valuable to another.)

However, foreign players do fall under a team's reservations within Japan if the team wishes to do so. Once a player's contract is up, there's nothing preventing him from returning to the Majors, but he is not free to jump to another team within Japan unless his current team releases him. (More often than not, feelings to move on are mutual.)

I've heard that North American agents tend to also be more cunning when it comes to escape clauses, so there is a chance of getting around team reservations as well. But other owners may respect the previous team's wishes and avoid signing a player who avoids the reservations under such means.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: timm1132 | Posted: Nov 6, 2007 6:04 AM ]

Did Kenshin Kawakami not qualify due to time on the DL? If so, is he likely to be posted?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 6, 2007 11:14 AM | SFT Fan ]

Kawakami [Sponichi - in Japanese] only has 8 years of service time following this season, and would be a free agent after next year. He would not been eligible for free agency following this year. I don't know where the American press got this error from.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: Ozark4x4 | Posted: Nov 6, 2007 11:40 PM ]

My first time looking at these prospects. My question is, are these guys are at the middle to end of their respective careers? What types of contracts do they get when their are in their 20s? Or are there other reasons there are no younger kids listed?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 7, 2007 6:02 AM | SFT Fan ]

- are there other reasons there are no younger kids listed?

Players have to wait at least 9 years to become a free agent. Otherwise they have to be posted.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: Cason | Posted: Nov 14, 2007 6:32 PM ]

What are the chances that Yoshinobu Takahashi will play along side with Hideki Matsui in New York? Or if he will opt for a move to the Major Leagues, which is the likely destination for him?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: firearmofmutiny | Posted: Nov 14, 2007 10:10 PM | CD Fan ]

Yoshinobu has already announced that he's going to stay with the Giants. He did not file for free agency even though he was eligible this year.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Nov 15, 2007 6:00 AM ]

Do we now have a final list?
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Nov 15, 2007 10:56 AM | YBS Fan ]

Yes. The above is the final list.

I've updated it so that:
  • the 9 players who declared free agency are in bold,
  • the two players who did not declare and were traded are in italics,
  • and those players who retired or were released are stricken out.
Note, some of the released players, like Yokohama's Taneda, are seeking spots on other teams. Others may wonder over to North America's minors in hopes of prolonging their careers.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Michael | Posted: Nov 15, 2007 3:17 PM | CLM Fan ]

I believe Seibu added Taneda and Rakuten's Taninaka by trade on the 13th.
Re: 2007-08 Free Agents
[ Author: Guest: puddin head | Posted: Nov 20, 2007 1:52 PM ]

Kuroda is reportedly getting interest from the Phillies. After pitching at Hiroshima, that bandbox in Philly will actually look spacious to him!

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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