Friday, October 6, 2017

Report: Seibu Lions announce 8 Senryokugai players

The Saitama Seibu Lions announced eight players on their Senryokugai list for 2017. They will not be returning to the team next season.

C Tatsuyuki Uemoto, IF Shogo Kimura, IF Yuji Onizaki, P Toshihiro Iwao, IF Naoto Watanabe, P Isamu Sato, OF Yutaro Osaki and OF Shotaro Tashiro were announced as the players who will be cut.

Kimura was an initial signing after a tryout in 2016 during spring camp. He tore his ACL in the middle of 2016 and spent the beginning of this season as an ikusei in recovery. Kimura played in three games, only recording one hit.

Uemoto was the top pinch hit option in 2016 under Norio Tanabe, but fell out in favor of others including Ryo Sakata, Takumi Kuriyama and other spell players for the role. After playing in 67 games for 2016, he only appeared in 11 where he was on the ichi-gun, but didn't play. He plans to retire.

Onizaki came from the Swallows in a trade for Chikara Onodera and served as a utility infielder. With Sosuke Genda taking the reins at SS, there was no room for Onizaki on the ichi-gun.

Watanabe was another depth option for the infield, but he fell out in favor of Nien Ting Wu and Shuta Tonosaki. He was also a pinch hitter with a decent glove, but will be 37 later this month.

Iwao was a promising pitcher who could strikeout others, but lacked control and failed to make the ichi-gun in 2017. He was a third round pick in 2009.

Osaki was a starting OF in 2012, where he mostly spent his career as a spell outfielder. His role continued to diminish as time went on and he failed to play an ichi-gun game in 2017. A report indicates that he will retire while Kimura is still looking for work.

Sato, 23, is the youngest of the players on this list and fell out of favor for other pitchers on the roster. He made his way up to the ichi-gun in 2016 where he earned one win. He was also involved in a driving accident, which led to a team suspension. In 14 ni-gun games, Sato recorded a 10.64 ERA in 11 innings.

Tashiro was an opening starter at right field known for his range and speed. However, his lack of hitting would result in reduced playing time. Under Norio Tanabe and previous managers, he was a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

Seven roster spots are officially open for the Lions with these players not returning. A decision will be made on all foreign imports soon, which could leave even more openings. The Lions already released Alexis Candelario earlier this year, giving the team eight open spaces.

The NPB Draft will take place on October 26.

The Lions also announced who would be going to Miyazaki prefecture for the fall 2017 Phoenix League. Here is how the roster shapes up:


Tatsuya Oishi, Takuya Toyoda, Shunta Nakatsuka, Seiji Kawagoe, Ryohei Fujiwara, Hirotaka Koishi, Tadasuke Minamikawa, Ichiro Tamura, Makoto Aiuchi, Keisuke Honda, Tsubasa Kokuba, Frank Garces, Naoaki Matsumoto, Koki Fujita, Stephen Fife


Nien Ting Wu, Haruka Yamada, Kazuki Kaneko


Hitoto Komazuki, Shota Nakata, Komei Fujisawa


Masato Kumashiro, Shotaro Tashiro, Daisuke Togawa

The Phoenix League starts on October 9 and will go until the 30th.


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