Friday, November 13, 2015

Report: Lions sign OF Naotaka Takehara

The Saitama Seibu Lions announced on Friday that they signed OF Naotaka Takehara to a contract. He was previously cut from the Orix Buffaloes roster.

Takehara, who will be 36 in April, was originally a fourth round pick by the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2004, Takehara was only a part time player throughout his career. His best season with Chiba was in 2007 where he hit .246 as a bench OF.

He was eventually traded to Orix for cash in 2011 where he played in 145 games in the last five seasons combined. Recently, he appeared in 62 games from 2014-2015 for Orix, hitting .271 in only 114 at bats. This is essentially a minor signing for the Lions where he could see time at right field.

Last year, the Lions used 11 different players to start in right field, treating it like a flex position. They would see the matchup they liked depending on the opposing pitcher.

With the Lions parting ways with Tomohito Yoneno and Hichori Morimoto retiring, this created space for a free agent signing in the outfield. Takehara will join the mix featuring Yutaro Osaki, Shogo Saito, Fumikazu Kimura and Masato Kumashiro in the outfield.

Currently, the Lions have 57 players under contract with five draft picks yet to be signed. Assuming all 10 draft picks are added to the 70-man roster, the Lions would have 62 with five pending free agents. Ryota Wakiya is most likely to sign elsewhere and Seibu should return the other four listed.  This would total 66 players with room for a possible ikusei signing to be left open as well as two or three foreign pickups at most. 


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