Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looking East

Back in May and even before the season began, I began to take an interest in the Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. Turns out, he's being watched by the Yanks (and presumably every other team):

Even though previous reports on Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish weren't glowing, the Yankees are taking a second look at the 21-year-old.

Billy Eppler, the Yankees' head of professional scouting, and scout Gene Michael are in Japan, to see Darvish, who pitches for the Nippon Ham Fighters. The club isn't expected to post Darvish, but if it does the Yankees want to be in a position to judge if they make a bid for him. The Yankees aren't interested in Junichi Tazawa, the top amateur pitcher in Japan. MLB and Japanese clubs have a loose agreement not to go after each other's amateurs, but a few MLB teams are prepared to ignore the agreement for the 22-year-old right-hander.

I'm not sure why the Yanks aren't interested in Tazawa, unless their Irabu and Igawa experiences have sullied their outlook on Japanese pitchers. But this kid is 22. He might be worth approaching.

UPDATE (9/11/08, 3:30pm): Just came across this, relevant to the info above:
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa, who helped Nippon Oil to its first title in 13 years at the national corporate baseball tournament that ended Tuesday, will try to sign with a major league club without playing in Japan, baseball sources said Wednesday.

The highly unusual news came as a shock as the 22-year-old Tazawa was expected to draw the spotlight as the key figure in the first round of this year's autumn amateur draft in Japanese baseball.

Major league clubs, including the Boston Red Sox, appear to be interested in Tazawa. The right-hander throws a fastball over 150 kilometers per hour and also has a forkball and slider in his arsenal. Tazawa pitched in all five games of the national tournament, posting four wins to help lead Nippon Oil to its ninth overall crown and was named the tournament MVP.

1 comment:

Osmodious said...

It always annoys me, when people are talking about payroll, that they didn't count that ludicrous $50+ million that Boston spent JUST TO TALK to Matsuzaka last year. Burns me right up.

Actually, the whole concept of paying $50+mil just to negotiate with a guy burns me up, and I would personally rather see the Yankees invest that money in a couple of teensy little things we need (like a center fielder, 1st baseman that can actually field, pitchers, hitters, bat boys, a private jet for the entire team, etc.).