Thursday, December 15, 2016

Seibu Lions take cash option as compensation for loss of Kishi

With Type A and B free agents, there will be compensation if he signs with another team in NPB. The Saitama Seibu Lions chose the cash option which would be 80% of Kishi's salary from the 2016 season.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles protected 28 players from their 70-man roster which were not eligible for a selection. As a result, the Lions will receive ¥180 million (about $1.8 million) as compensation. Kishi, 32, signed a four year contract worth ¥1.6 billion and will make ¥400 million annually.

"I viewed the player list that Rakuten sent us," Seibu Lions General Manager Haruhiko Suzuki said in a statement. "There was no player selection because there was no one matching the team's needs."

The Lions were hoping to find a pitcher who could contribute right away and couldn't find one after seeing the players eligible for selection. After the 2013 season concluded, the Lions last chose a player compensation twice with P Taiki Nakago and IF Ryota Wakiya for the losses of P Hideaki Wakui to the Chiba Lotte Marines and Yasuyuki Kataoka to the Yomiuri Giants, respectively.

With the Lions choosing cash over a player + less cash, Rakuten will be paying an ¥580 million ($5.8 million) for Kishi's services in the 2017 season. Last year, the Eagles signed Toshiaki Imae who was previously with the Marines. Chiba would also take the cash compensation option rather than choosing a player.


In a fun exercise, I tried to create a protected 28-man list with Rakuten's roster. This was all based on logic from a productive player to someone who was a recent draft pick worth keeping. There were also some veterans who may have received special treatment from protection (i.e. Takashi Toritani was not eligible to leave the Hanshin Tigers). I also took the assumption that foreign players were not eligible.

Here's how the results looked based on players I knew and what would make sense if I was doing this:

Pitchers (12):

P Takahiro Norimoto

P Tomohiro Anraku

P Yuki Matsui

P Takahiro Shiomi

P Minabu Mima

P Yudai Mori

P Wataru Karashima

P Yoshinao Kamata

P Yuri Furukawa

P Sho Miyagawa

P Kenji Tomura

P Hiroyuki Fukuyama


Catchers (3): 

C Motohiro Shima

C Kengo Horiuchi

C Yuichi Adachi


Infielders (6):

IF "Ginji" Akaminai

IF Eigoro Mogi

IF Toshiaki Imae

IF Yasuhito Uchida

IF Kazuya Fujita

IF Ryota Yoshimochi


Outfielders (7):

OF Louis Okoye

OF Hiroaki Shimauchi

OF Takero Okajima

OF Kazuo Matsui

OF Akihisa Makida

OF Ryo Hijirisawa

OF Masayoshi Fukuda


Based on what the Lions wanted, there weren't many pitching options available. Yusuke Nishimiya could've been an option, Koji Aoyama is on the decline, other pitchers I couldn't name are too inexperienced.

At best, the Lions could've selected a pinch runner among position players or a mediocre reliever. When Kishi signed with Rakuten weeks ago, I had problems coming up with this list as I only named 20 players.

By having trouble creating a protected list means that the options weren't there as this Rakuten team is still recovering from the 2013 Japan Series and parts of the roster are gutted. The pitching staff has some above average pieces, but there is no depth compared to a roster like the Softbank Hawks or Yomiuri Giants.

This list is obviously not exactly what Rakuten had for the Lions, but it's clear some guys that are likable are off the table.

Were there any disagreements or other players Rakuten would've protected? Did I miss someone? Was there a player you'd go for if you were the Lions? Let me know.


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