The Saitama Seibu Lions acquired LHP Ryuya Ogawa from the Chunichi Dragons for cash considerations on Thursday afternoon. The July 31 deadline for postseason eligible players was approaching and the Lions made their move in advanced.
Ogawa, who will turn 27 in September, fell out of favor with the Dragons in 2018 with multiple relievers on the depth chart in front of him. He has yet to appear in an ichi-gun game this season. At the ni-gun level of the Western League, Ogawa has a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings of work.
In 2016, Ogawa appeared to have had a breakout year with a 2.27 ERA in 44 games and 31.2 innings. His role diminished in 2017 where he only pitched 12.1 innings and had a 2.19 ERA. He was originally a second round draft pick in 2009 out of Chiba Eiwa High School.
Ogawa had the following statement on switching teams:
"Thank you Dragons for taking care of me for the last eight and a half years. I thank you very much. I will do my best to be able to become a help of the new team as I hope to grow again in the new place."Dragons blogger @chunichisoul had this to say about Ogawa:
Originally throwing from a 3/4 slot, Ogawa converted to a side arm position and was mainly a LOOGY when with the to team. (Toshiya) Okada and (Hitoki) Iwase in front of him however have made first team opportunities difficult. #NPBeng— Dragon Soul (@chunichisoul) July 19, 2018
The Lions currently have the worst bullpen ERA in NPB and it was a disastrous 7.20 in the month of June. Most recently, Tatsushi Masuda lost his closer role and the Lions spent several weeks without a left-handed pitcher receiving high leverage innings.
"Currently, there are not enough left handed pitchers in the bullpen, so we've reinforced out depth," Seibu Lions Senior Director Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe said in a statement. "Ogawa has plenty of ichi-gun experience and I think that he will definitely become a help to our unit."
Shota Takekuma used to be the team's left specialist, but even he was deactivated after blowing a three-run lead. Shogo Noda has been decent in the last few weeks, but still unproven. On paper, Ogawa could be a lefty one-out guy if everything goes right.
In the best case scenario, his side-arm delivery can throw batters off balance as a change of pace out of the bullpen and he could be a setup option.
This is the second trade of the 2018 calendar year the Lions have made. Their last swap was in March prior to the beginning of the regular season when Yosuke Okamoto was sent to the Hanshin Tigers for Daiki Enokida.
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