Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Translation: A look at the potential compensation for the loss of Nogami
With the recent loss of Ryoma Nogami in free agency to the Yomiuri Giants, the Lions will get some form of compensation as he is a type B free agent. The Lions can either go with the cash option only, or take cash and an unprotected player from a pool after the Giants choose to protect 28 players.
One writer or columnist went in-depth with the Lions options and formulated a possible scenario coming up with protected players and those who are available. Here is what was written regarding a imaginary protected list and some opinions which were translated:
The introduction speaks of Nogami's stats of going 11-10 with a 3.63 ERA and how he is a type B free agent. Seibu can either take the money or go with money + a player as he is a type B free agent. Foreign players don't need to be protected and cannot be claimed.
With the Lions, left handed pitchers were short of supply in both the rotation and bullpen. Further predictions were made to protect left handed pitchers even more. Nakagawa, Morifuku and Tone are protected as a result. In addition, Utsumi and T. Yamaguchi have been in the bullpen for many years with the Giants. Taguchi and Hatake are obvious candidates to protect.
Meanwhile, Sawamura and Sugiuchi failed to play with the ichi-gun and wouldn't want to return. Yoshikawa and Otake are both available because of their failures last season at the ichi-gun level.
This season, Ryoji Aikawa and Kazunari Sanematsu both retired. They also drafted four catchers in the 2017 NPB Draft in hoping to revamp this unit.
Kobayashi is the regular starter and Usami provides depth as the backup. Tanaka and Kawano are available with almost no ichi-gun experience. With the Lions having Ginjiro Sumitani, Tomoya Mori and Masatoshi Okada, it's unlikely they'll select a catcher.
Seibu has Hotaka Yamakawa, Hideto Asamura, Sosuke Genda, Takeya Nakamura and Ernesto Mejia as the main group of infielders at the ichi-gun. Shuta Tonosaki can also play 3B. The Lions depth is all but set with Kyohei Nagae, Nien Ting Wu and Daichi Mizuguchi as reserves. Therefore, it would be difficult to think they would want to acquire an infielder as compensation.
Sakamoto is an obvious starter while Nakai has been playing more. N. Yoshikawa and and Okamoto are both young prospects worth protecting. Abe of course will retire as a legendary Giant.
Meanwhile, there are other young players, but with little experience available. Veterans Terauchi and Wakiya are the only two with significant playing time in the past available.
Seibu has Takumi Kuriyama, Shogo Akiyama, Yuji Kaneko, Shuta Tonosaki and so on. They also have Shogo Saito, Fumikazu Kimura, Ryo Sakata and others on the bench. They also have Aito Takeda and Shohei Suzuki, both highly touted prospects that they are high on at the farm level. As a result, the odds of acquiring an outfielder will be low.
For the Giants, it's easy to protect Yoh, Chono and Kamei. They could also protect any young future outfielders that they are higher on.
I really doubt Sawamura would be exposed to the Lions despite the decent tandem of Scott Mathieson and Arquimedes Caminero taking the 8th and 9th inning for the Kyojin. Sawamura of course is very disgruntled after the team mishandled his injury situation and he did not play a single ichi-gun game in 2017.
Based on this listing, the writer thinks the Lions will aim for another left handed pitcher and creating a protected list to counter. I disagree with this notion and think the Lions filled this need by drafting Hiromasa Saito in the draft and will likely sign some foreign imports in free agency.
It's clear based on playing with the Giants roster myself, I wouldn't go for any position player as I wouldn't trust any pickup there. It would be hilarious if the Lions picked up Ryota Wakiya again, something they did after losing Yasuyuki Kataoka, but I wouldn't be happy.
Here's my personal list of players I would go for:
1. Hirokazu Sawamura
Sawamura is a proven closer/reliever when healthy and if the Giants found him expendable, I'd pounce on him in a heartbeat. He will be returning from a shoulder injury, but the Lions cold use him once he's back.
2. Toshiki Sakurai
Sakurai being unprotected would also surprise me. He was a former first round pick in 2015 and had a promising preseason in 2016, but an injury right before Opening Day ruined his chances in his rookie year. He's only 24 and would be worth a flyer where he could find a change of scenery as a better solution.
3. Shun Yamaguchi
This is the most controversial player of the list and it's possible the Lions don't want any part in the label, but I feel he could help the Lions for the now by benefiting from a change of scenery. Yamaguchi was one of three prized free agents last offseason by this pitcher has been a flop after one year.
In July, Yamaguchi was drunk and committed some violence and hurting his hand with glass, but he also served his suspension and fine while with the Giants. The Kyojin probably wanted to shop him the moment this news happened, as they're known to want to protect their image. Logically, I think they'd leave him exposed and unprotected where the Giants would be thrilled if he were claimed by the Lions. Violence aside, Yamaguchi's other counter argument is his salary being more expensive, but on the field, he could contribute to the Lions rotation or bullpen right away as long as he doesn't bring baggage.
4. Jen-Lei Liao
Liao was a 7th round pick of the Giants in 2016. at 201 cm (6' 7") and 125 kg (275 lbs), he was the largest player taken in the 2016 NPB Draft in front of Shunta Nakatsuka. As you might recognize by the name, Liao is from Taiwan and doesn't count as a foreigner for roster reasons because he went to high school and university in Japan (like his fellow countrymen Wu/Yoh etc).
He can top 155 kph (96 mph) on the gun as a hard thrower, but is still raw with his command. Liao will be 25 in August, but is worth the flyer if the Lions staff feels they can develop and fix his control/command. Liao also had a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. The Lions lack hard throwers minus Nakatsuka and drafted two more in Sho Ito and Kaima Taira.
Adding another player from Taiwan also wouldn't hurt for marketing reasons with a country the franchise has plenty of ties to. Liao is also a cheap option compared to the veteran salaries that Sawamura, Yamaguchi and Otake would have. The odds are also better that the Giants wouldn't protect him as a late pick and having other priorities.
5. Kan Otake
Otake will be 35 in 2018, but he could be a quick fix for the Lions rotation. He isn't flashy, but as a back end starter, the Lions could use depth. In 2017, he had a down season and if the Giants like others in their farm and elsewhere, he could be left open.
Taking the cash option would be boring as Nogami would only net ¥ 30 million if they took this path. Last year, Kishi netted ¥180 million from Rakuten as the Eagles had a lesser talented roster. If the Lions went with the player choice, it would net ¥20 million and the player selected. Is it really worth penny pinching for an extra ¥10 million without paying a player? That's the question the Lions will need to decide.
Follow us on Twitter @GraveyardBall
Posted by Christian Gin at 1:55 PM