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Free Agent Rankings

Discussion in the NPB News forum
Free Agent Rankings
According to Yahoo Sports, here is how Japanese players fared in the ranking of most desirable free agents for MLB for this winter:

#24: Tazawa
#30: Uehara
#45: Kawakami

Interesting that the young and unproven Tazawa ranks above the veterans, but not great years for Uehara and Kawakami over here. Kawakami is only projected as a number 5 starter.
Comments
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 11, 2008 10:30 PM | SFT Fan ]

- Interesting that the young and unproven Tazawa ranks above the veterans, but not great years for Uehara and Kawakami over here. Kawakami is only projected as a number 5 starter.

I think a lot of the hype about Tazawa is he's been in the press a lot.

That said, I agree he will be a good #2-3 starter down the road, but will need to start in AA then a short time in AAA before getting the call to the big leagues. Also he will be given an invitation to spring training I believe to help get his feet wet.

Uehara I think profiles as a middle man or a set-up man in MLB.

Kawakami, I think would better work in the NL West. Though it looks like Boston will get him if I had to predict.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: NipponHam11 | Posted: Nov 12, 2008 11:36 AM | SFT Fan ]

I can't see the Red Sox even showing interest in Kawakami. We already have Matsuzaka, and I think the Sox are more interested in promoting from within, getting their youngsters like Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden into the rotation, getting them some innings.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 12, 2008 11:56 PM | SFT Fan ]

- I can't see the Red Sox even showing interest in Kawakami.

Yeah, I see that at starter, but the Sox have been linked as interested. Maybe at a relief role or to give Buchholz more time.

All that said, I think as a starter the best route is the NL West. But at relief I don't think it will make much of a difference.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Nov 12, 2008 6:02 PM | NIP Fan ]

Tazawa is young. The others are old. If he does turn out to have talent and they can have him around for 10 years longer than the others, he's worth more. That's what I would figure it all is -- getting guys on the right side of 30 is always important.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: gotigersredsox | Posted: Nov 13, 2008 2:28 PM ]

Are the Red Sox still interested in Tazawa?
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 13, 2008 9:20 PM | SFT Fan ]

- Are the Red Sox still interested in Tazawa?

The Red Sox are one of the teams mentioned. There was one team out there who supposedly wants to give him a major league contract which might put that mystery team as the favorites. Indians' GM Mark Shapiro expects the bidding for Tazawa to reach $7 million.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: gotigersredsox | Posted: Nov 14, 2008 8:54 PM ]

- Indians' GM Mark Shapiro expects the bidding for Tazawa to reach $7 million.

By this you mean the annual salary? There won't be any official "bidding" because he's going as a free agent, not the ridiculous posting system.

Still, when you hear numbers like that, you would expect more young players to skip the NPB draft and take their chances with MLB. Although I want Tazawa to do well (especially if he ends up with Boston!), he could set a dangerous precedent for NPB. Based on their silly ban, NPB are obviously concerned. They should be.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 15, 2008 9:52 AM | SFT Fan ]

- By this you mean the annual salary? There won't be any official "bidding" because he's going as a free agent, not the ridiculous posting system.

Yeah, bad description there. Yes, I mean the annual salary to sign Tazawa. But when an insider like Shapiro expects it to get that high, NPB could be in trouble if MLB starts offering more money than some NPB teams could even compete with. Here's the link [NPB Tracker] for the source of the Shapiro speculation.

I'd be interested to see what Yuki Saitoh does(the next big name) if he departs for MLB if some teams throws millions on millions at him as a result of the Tazawa situation and see what the NPB's reaction will be?
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: gotigersredsox | Posted: Nov 15, 2008 10:47 PM ]

I'd be interested to see what Yuki Saitoh does (the next big name); if he departs for MLB if some teams throws millions on millions at him as a result of the Tazawa situation and see what the NPB's reaction will be?

As much as I would like to see Tazawa succeed, and as much as I think the 2-year ban by NPB is desperate and silly, I do worry about the precedent Tazawa is setting. Look at what happened after Nomo. Although NPB has still managed to stay healthy, I think they will be even more alarmed if MLB starts stealing their young stars before they even play a professional game in Japan. When you consider that the Yankees bid $20 million just to sign a major bust like Igawa, who knows what will happen. Obviously all teams don't have the money the Yankees have, but MLB teams are very willing to throw millions away just to gamble on a young player.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: TimMac | Posted: Nov 16, 2008 12:24 AM ]

I am assuming that the figure of 7 million is more of a total package rather than an annual figure. The Tampa Rays negotiated a deal with David Price, the #1 pick in the amateur draft in '07, that gave him a 5.6 million signing bonus, with a total 6 year package at just over 11 million. He was considered on the verge of being MLB ready and as we saw this fall is just that. Currently the trend is in the area of 6 million signing bonuses for high first round picks, and although I agree that MLB has the cash to toss around, I can't see them offering much more than high first round money to Tazawa.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: number9 | Posted: Nov 16, 2008 3:26 AM ]

In the mean time, Yomiuri is signing 15 year olds out of Taiwan. As corrupt of cronyism and under the table money that NPB is, what the global baseball world needs is an authoritative governing figure like FIFA so that all (most?) international transfers are handled fairly between various leagues, instead of the current rogue leagues situation, so that various national baseball organizations can work together instead of working against each other only for their own benefit. Very unlikely scenario though.
Re: Free Agent Rankings
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Nov 17, 2008 12:24 AM | SFT Fan ]

- [...] what the global baseball world needs is an authoritative governing figure like FIFA so that all (most?) international transfers are handled fairly between various leagues

I agree to a certain extent, but only to the extent that it prevents teams across the globe from signing players below the age of 16 with the intent of stashing them away like Yomiuri. Though, with the case of 16 and above I think any international organization should lay off.

Also, I'm troubled regarding further education for players drafted on both sides of the Pacific. It's always a shame that players signed this young don't pursue any further education. As the old motto went "A mind is terrible thing to waste." I worry about these kids out of Taiwan and what would they would do if they had a career ending injury.
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