Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Report: Lions reach agreement with Liao

The Saitama Seibu Lions announced they made a move, signing Taiwanese pitcher Jen-Lei Liao on Wednesday. He becomes the first domestic free agent signing since 2016.

"The most attractive things about him [are] his velocity, not counting as a foreigner and our team also having coaches and athletes from Taiwan, so he can quickly adjust to the environment," Senior Director Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe said.

Liao, 25, was a 7th round draft pick of the Yomiuri Giants in the 2016 NPB Draft. He never played an ichi-gun game with the Giants and recorded a 2.79 ERA with 19 strikeouts, 12 walks in 19.1 innings of work down in ni-gun for 2018. He was part of the Giants senryokugai list after the 2018 season.

From 2014-2015, he was in the rookie Gulf Coast League with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, combining for a 4.54 ERA in 35.2 innings of work for two seasons. Liao was released after the 2015 season. He also had decent success at the 2015 Asian Baseball Championship.

As Nabe-Q indicated, Liao does not count as a foreigner on the 28-man roster because he went to high school in Okayama prefecture. He also went to the same high school as Lions teammate Nien Ting Wu, as they will be reunited. Unlike Wu, Liao attended a university in Taiwan.

At  201 cm, 125 kg, (6-9, 275.5 lbs) Liao was the largest player drafted in 2016, slightly ahead of Shunta Nakatsuka. He is a hard thrower who can max at 156 kph (96 mph), but lacks control.

Nabe-Q and the Lions front office are banking on the coaching staff, who have experience with Taiwan as ni-gun pitchign caoches Ming-Chieh Hsu and Kento Sugiyama were both in the CPBL with the former being from there. The Lions also have Chun-Lin Kuo, who has been with the organization since 2015.

Liao will compete for a spot in the bullpen, a position that was unstable last year after Tatsushi Masuda lost the closer role. There will be a mix of Nakatsuka, Kyle Martin, Shogo Noda and more hoping to take the middle relief innings. If Hsu and Sugiyama can coach up Liao, the best case scenario for him is to be a setup man.


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Friday, November 23, 2018

Report: Sumitani will sign with Giants

The dominoes began to fall for the Saitama Seibu Lions for the second time this week with another move in free agency. Ginjiro Sumitani informed his decision with another team on Friday and it was reported that it will be the Yomiuri Giants.

Sumitani, 31, was a starting catcher for the Lions since 2011 as well as the 2009 season. In 2018, the Lions phased away from him as the third catcher while Masatoshi Okada and Tomoya Mori played more games behind the plate. Sumitani's new contract with the Giants is three years with an estimated ¥600 million.

In 2018, Sumitani had a career-low 47 ichi-gun games and hit a slashline of .248/.265/.310. Earlier this week, the Lions lost 2B Hideto Asamura to the Rakuten Eagles.

Sumitani is a type B free agent, which will require compensation for the Lions in cash or cash and a player. The Lions will choose between ¥66 million, or ¥44 million and an unprotected player not on the 28-man protected list. Last year, the Lions selected Hayato Takagi when they lose Ryoma Nogami in free agency.


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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Report: Seibu Lions reach agreement with Zach Neal

The Saitama Seibu Lions made a free agent signing on Wednesday when they announced they signed RHP Zach Neal. He will make about ¥71.5 million in 2019.

Neal, 30, has been in the minor leagues for majority of his baseball career. Most recently, he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2018 as well as a brief stint with the Cincinnati Reds organization. With the OKC Dodgers AAA affiliate, he went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 61.1 innings of work. He appeared in one September outing for 2018.

From 2013-2017, he was with the Oakland A's organization and made a total of 30 appearances at the major league level with them.

He has racked more than 1,000 innings of minor league baseball in his career and was originally a 17th round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2010 and went to the University of Oklahoma.

Neal will compete for a rotation spot as Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe liked his control, thinking he can help the pitching staff right away. With plenty of uncertainty with the Lions rotation in 2019, he will get his shot to play at the ichi-gun level.


Other news:

-The Lions reached an agreement with Fabio Castillo and Chun-Lin Kuo to bring them back for 2019. Castillo will also compete for a rotation spot with Kuo and the aforementioned Neal. 

-Seiji Kawagoe will switch from jersey number 26 to 72 and be an outfielder. Kona Takahashi will wear No. 13, last worn by Fumiya Nishiguchi. 


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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Report: Asamura to sign with Rakuten Eagles

Hideto Asamura will pick the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles as his team for the 2019 season and beyond, as it was reported this week. By signing with the Eagles, Asamura becomes the third straight Seibu Lions free agent in as many years to join them, the previous being Takayuki Kishi and Naoto Watanabe.

Asamura, who turned 28 this month, was one of two highly touted free agents among position players in NPB. He had a career 2018 season with a slashline of .310/.383/.510 with a career-high 32 home runs. Other teams who were interested included the Orix Buffaloes and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

The Eagles contract offer was reported to be four years, ¥2 billion. Seibu initially offered there years for ¥1.5 billion, but eventually matched the Eagles offer. Asamura is not taking the highest financial deal on the table, as the Softbank Hawks reportedly offered four years, ¥2.8 billion. 

Asamura contacted the Lions directly and told them he wants to sign with another team. Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe apologized to fans in a statement for not being able to retain him.

As a result of this decision, Asamura is a type B free agent, meaning the Lions will get the option to take a cash option of about ¥97.5 million, or cash of ¥75 million and an unprotected player after Rakuten protects 28 of them from being taken. 


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Saturday, November 17, 2018

2019 Seibu Lions salary list

With the offseason being here, it is the time of salary negotiations. This is where we find out who proved their worth and who gets a pay decrease/increase after reviewing their performance in the 2018 NPB season.

We will update this list as more reported salaries come in. This will be an ongoing piece to bookmark.

^ - Raise

|v| - Paycut

= - Same wages

N = New player



Deunte Heath: ¥93.5 million, ^ by ¥74.5 million (4-1), 2.50 ERA, 39.2 IP, 53 K, 13 SV, 9 HLD, 42 ichi-gun games

Kyle Martin: ¥77 million, ^ by ¥44 million (2-1), 2.08 ERA, 21.2 IP, 26 K, 1 SB, 10 HLD, 22 ichi-gun games

Ichiro Tamura: ¥7 million, [v] by ¥500K (0-0), 3.60 ERA, 5 IP, 4 ichi-gun games

Keisuke Honda: ¥6.5 million, [v] by ¥500K (0-0), 23.14 ERA, 2.1 IP, 1 ichi-gun game

Tsubasa Kokuba: ¥5.4 million, [v] by ¥100K (2-1), 5.88 ERA, 52 IP, 22 ni-gun games

Kaima Taira: ¥6 million = (0-0), 5.40 ERA, 16.2 IP, 10 ni-gun games

'Yasuo Sano: ¥13 million [v] by ¥2 million (0-1), 8.38 ERA, 9.2 IP, 3 K, 5 ichi-gun games

Tadasuke Minamikawa: ¥7.7 million [v] by ¥900K (0-0), 15.43 ERA, 4.2 IP, 6 K, 4 ichi-gun games

Kona Takahashi: ¥18.5 million [v] by ¥3 million (2-1), 4.50 ERA, 20 IP, 15 K, 3 ichi-gun games

Shunta Nakatsuka: ¥9.3 million [v] by ¥2.7 million (0-0), 18.00 ERA, 2 IP, 4 K, 2 ichi-gun games

Koki Fujita: ¥5 million = (1-0), 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 7 K, 13 ni-gun games

Chun-Lin Kuo: ¥12 million [v] by ¥8 million (1-0), 6.32 ERA, 15.2 IP, 10 K, 3 ichi-gun games

Shinsaburo Tawata: ¥80 million ^ by ¥54 million (16-5), 3.81 ERA, 172.2 IP, 102 K, 26 ichi-gun games

Shota Takekuma: ¥63.5 million [v] by ¥6.5 million (1-2), 6.37 ERA, 29.2 IP, 22 K, 35 ichi-gun games

Ken Togame: ¥51 million [v] by ¥9 million (5-8), 4.42, 124.1 IP, 82 K, 22 ichi-gun games

Hirotaka Koishi: ¥13.3 million ^ by ¥1 million (1-0), 4.10 ERA, 26.1 IP, 10 K, 22 ichi-gun games

Tatsuya Oishi: ¥11.7 million [v] by ¥1.3 million (1-0), 7.00 ERA, 9 IP, 7 K, 10 ichi-gun games

Sho Ito: ¥8.2 million ^ by ¥2.2 million (3-0), 2.73 ERA, 26.1 IP, 13 K, 16 ichi-gun games

Naoaki Matsumoto: ¥8 million ^ by ¥3 million (0-0), 6.75 ERA, 24 IP, 16 K, 24 ichi-gun games

Makoto Aiuchi: ¥6.4 million ^ by ¥900K (0-1), 3.45 ERA, 15.2 IP, 12 K, 10 ichi-gun games

Daiki Enokida: ¥55 million ^ by ¥28 million (11-4), 3.32 ERA, 132.2 IP, 98 K, 23 ichi-gun games

Shogo Noda: ¥30 million ^ by ¥13 million (1-1), 3.51 ERA, 41 IP, 40 K, 58 ichi-gun games

Tatsuya Imai: ¥18 million ^ by ¥5 million (5-5), 4.81 ERA, 78.2 IP, 65 K, 15 ichi-gun games

Ryuya Ogawa: ¥17 million ^ by ¥5 million (1-0), 1.59 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7 K, 15 ichi-gun games

Tatsushi Masuda: ¥100 million [v] by (2-4), 5.17 ERA, 38.1 IP, 23 K, 41 ichi-gun games (Lost Closer role)

Katsunori Hirai: ¥35 million ^ by ¥20 million (3-1), 3.40 ERA, 53 IP, 54 K, 64 ichi-gun games

Fabio Castillo: ¥33 million [v] by ¥69.4 million (7-4), 4.48 ERA, 74.1 IP, 51 K, 20 ichi-gun games

Hiromasa Saito: ¥16 million ^ by ¥1 million (1-3), 7.02 ERA, 16.2 IP, 10 K, 16 ichi-gun games

Hayato Takagi: ¥30.3 million [v] by ¥4.6 million (1-2), 8.69 ERA, 19.2 IP, 10 K, 8 ichi-gun games



Hitoto Komazuki: ¥5.1 million = .241/.289/.398, 3 HR, 50 ni-gun games

Tomoya Mori: ¥80 million ^ by ¥40 million .275/.366/.457, 16 HR, 136 ichi-gun games

Shota Nakata: ¥5.7 million [v] by ¥100K .150/.197/.178, 0 HR, 68 ni-gun games

Masatoshi Okada: ¥28.7 million ^ by ¥5.1 million .272/.327/.402, 3 HR, 52 ichi-gun games



Ernesto Mejia: ¥500 million = (Final year of a three-year contract) .212/.282/.373, 9 HR, 82 ichi-gun games

Haruka Yamada: ¥6.5 million ^ by ¥1 million .059/.158/.235, 1 HR, 14 ichi-gun games

Manaya Nishikawa: ¥7 million = .226/.273/269, 0 HR, 79 ni-gun games

Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura: ¥2.8 million = .265/.329/.546, 28 HR, 97 ichi-gun games (Exercised international FA rights, verbally elected to stay) 

Sosuke Genda: ¥80 million ^ by ¥39 million .278/.333/.374, 4 HR, 143 ichi-gun games

Shuta Tonosaki: ¥70 million ^ by ¥43 million .287/.357/.472, 18 HR, 119 ichi-gun games

Kyohei Nagae: ¥10.4 million [v] by ¥1.6 million .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 4 ichi-gun games

Daichi Mizuguchi: ¥7.7 million [v] by ¥800K .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 10 ichi-gun games

Hotaka Yamakawa: ¥110 million ^ by ¥77.6 million .281/.396/.590, 47 HR, 143 ichi-gun games



Shogo Akiyama: ¥234.9 million ^ by ¥14.9 million (Final year of three-year contract) .323/.403/.534, 24 HR, 143 ichi-gun games

Shohei Suzuki: ¥6 million = .224/.285/.280, 1 HR, 115 ni-gun games

"Aito" Takeda: ¥6.2 million [v] by ¥300K .000/.000/.000 in 3 AB, 2 ichi-gun games

Daisuke Togawa: ¥5 million = .219/.276/.313, 7 HR, 117 ni-gun games

Wataru Takagi: ¥5 million, ^ by ¥2 million .278/.348/.448, 6 HR, 75 ni-gun games. (Promoted to 70-man roster from ikusei)

Seiji Kawagoe: ¥7.6 million [v] by ¥2 million (1-2), 9.82 ERA, 22 IP, 12 K, 23 ni-gun games (converting to outfield)

Ryusei Tsunashima: ¥5 million = .238/.287/.317, 0 HRs, 56 ni-gun games

Takumi Kuriyama: ¥137 miillion ^ by ¥7 million .256/.366/.400, 8 HRs, 114 ichi-gun games

Yuji Kaneko: ¥57 million ^ by ¥7 million .223/.303/.274, 1 HR, 32 SB, 111 ichi-gun games

Fumikazu Kimura: ¥23.6 million ^ by ¥5 million .260/.330/.413, 3 HR, 75 ichi-gun games

Shogo Saito: ¥15 million ^ by ¥3 million .241/.330/.333, 1 HR, 59 ichi-gun games

Masato Kumashiro: ¥10 million = .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 25 ichi-gun games



Masato Saito: ¥3 million = .205/.283/.277, 1 HR, 50 ni-gun games


Draft picks: 

Wataru Matsumoto: ¥15 million (¥100 million signing bonus + ¥50 million incentives) - First round pick

Yutaro Watanabe: ¥6.5 million (¥70 million signing bonus) - Second round pick

Kakeru Yamanobe: ¥12 million (¥60 million signing bonus) - Third round pick

Kaito Awatsu: ¥10 million (¥40 million signing bonus) - Fourth round pick

Shoya Makino: ¥6 million (¥25 million signing bonus) - Fifth round pick

Ryosuke Moriwaki: ¥10 million (¥30 million signing bonus) - Sixth round pick

Ryusei Sato: ¥6 million (¥20 million signing bonus) - Seventh round pick

Aoi Tono: ¥3 million (¥3.5 million signing bonus) - First Ikusei pick

Jiyu Okubo: ¥2.8 million (¥3.5 million signing bonus) - Second Ikusei pick

Daichi Nakaguma: ¥3 million (¥3.5 million signing bonus) - Third ikusei pick


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018 Seibu Lions name translations

When watching every 2018 Saitama Seibu Lions game, we have tweeted the lineup when it's out. As a gag, we've also translated the lineup with literal meanings of everyone's surname.

After playing with many kanji reading sites and more, we successfully converted all names into English. While some kanji have multiple meanings, we chose what made sense to put out in this piece. Inspired by our Softbank Hawks English equivalent, here is the Lions literal roster of 2018.

To prevent redundancy, we set 田 to paddy, 野 to field and 原 to meadow. If some guys have the same family name, we've translated their first name as a bonus. When seeing that kanji, the last name is first, first name is last.

For players with the same surname, we also translated their first name.

Italicized names are players who are not returning for 2019.

*Could be gone or outgoing


Tatsushi Masuda 増田: More paddies

Tatsuya Oishi 大石: Big stone

Yusei Kikuchi 菊池*: Chrysanthemum pond/lake

Kona Takahashi 髙橋 光成: Tall bridge, Light growing

Shinsaburo Tawata 多和田: Many harmonious paddies (Note: 和 is the same harmony character that all businesses, teams and work places uses in needing to have Wa)

Takuya Toyoda 豊田*: Rich paddy

Ken Togame 十亀: Ten turtles

Hayato Takagi 高木 勇人: Tall Tree, Brave Person

Shunta Nakatsuaka 中塚: Center mound

Shogo Noda 野田 昇吾: Field paddy, Rising Self

Katsunori Hirai 平井: Flat well

Seiji Kawagoe 川越: River surpass

Ryohei Fujiwara 藤原: Wisteria meadow

Hirotaka Koishi 小石: Small stone (pebble)

Yasuo Sano 佐野: Assistant field

Tadasuke Minamikawa 南川: South river

Yusuke Tamamura 玉村*: Jewel village

Ichiro Tamura 田村: Paddy village

Makoto Aiuchi 相内: Inside aspect

Tomomi Takahashi 髙橋 朋己*: Tall bridge, Companion self

Keisuke Honda 本田: Book Paddy

Shota Takekuma 武隈: Warrior shadow

Kentaro Fukukura 福倉*: Lucky warehouse

Tsubasa Kokuba 國場: Country place

Naoaki Matsumoto 松本: Pine tree base

Koki Fujita 藤田: Wisteria paddy

Tatsuya Imai 今井: Now well (Well as in the noun, not the adverb/adjective)

Chun-Lin Kuo (Kaku) 郭: Enclosure

Hiromasa Saito 齊藤 大将: Adjusted Wisteria, General

Daiki Enokida 榎田: Mushroom Paddy

Kaito Yoza 與座: Participation Seat

Sho Ito: 伊藤: Italian Wisteria

Ryuya Ogawa 小川: Small River

Kaima Taira 平良: Flat Good



Tomoya Mori 森: Forest

Ginjiro Sumitani 炭谷*: Charcoal valley

Masatoshi Okada 岡田: Hill paddy

Hitoto Komazuki 駒月: Horse moon (Interesting note that 駒 [koma] also refers to the knight piece when playing chess or another board game involving a horse)

Shota Nakata 中田: Center paddy

Komei Fujisawa 藤澤*: Wisteria swamp



Hideto Asamura 浅村*: Shallow village

Sosuke Genda 源田: Root paddy (源 [gen] can refer to the origin or root of something)

Hotaka Yamakawa 山川: Mountain river

Takeya Nakamura 中村: Center village

Daichi Mizuguchi 水口: Water mouth

Kyohei Nagae 永江: Long bay

Nien Ting Wu 呉: Giver

Haruka Yamada 山田: Mountain paddy

Kazuki Kaneko 金子 一輝: Gold child, One shine

Manaya Nishikawa 西川: West River

Ryusei Tsunashima 綱島: Rope Island

Shuta Tonosaki 外崎: Outside cape (cape as in headland, not the cloak)



Yuji Kaneko 金子 侑司: Gold child, Assistant director

Shogo Akiyama 秋山: Autumn mountain

Takumi Kuriyama 栗山: Chestnut mountain

Fumikazu Kimura 木村: Tree village

Masato Kumashiro 熊代: Bear substitute (Fun fact: Shiro is a homophone for the color white (白). Unfortunately the kanji shows he's not a polar bear.)

Shogo Saito 斉藤 彰吾: Adjusted wisteria, Patent self

Ryo Sakata 坂田*: Slope paddy

Shohei Suzuki 鈴木: Bell tree

Daisuke Togawa 戸川: Door river

[Aito] Takeda 武田 愛斗: Military paddy, Love Big Dipper (Takeda has his first name registered)

Kazuo Matsui 松井: Pine Tree Well



Masato Saito 齊藤 誠人: Adjusted Wisteria, Sincere Person

Wataru Takagi 高木 渉: Tall Tree, Ford (as in fording or crossing a river)


Manager and Coaches:

Hatsuhiko Tsuji 辻: Intersection
Hideki Hashigami 橋上: Bridge Up

Shigenobu Shima 嶋: Island

Masahiro Abe 阿部: Corner head of Yamato Group (saw Africa for Abe's name, but too confusing)

Kosaku Akimoto 秋元: Autumn Beginning

Yoshihiro Doi 土肥: Soil fertilizer 

Fumiya Nishiguchi 西口: West Mouth

Toshifumi Baba 馬場: Horse Place

Tomoaki Sato 佐藤: Assistant Wisteria

Shinobu Sakamoto 坂本: Slope Origin

Takafumi Sato 里: Village

Tetsuya Shiozaki 潮崎: Tide Cape

Hiroyuki Takagi 高木 浩之: Tall Tree, This Abundance

Kento Sugiyama 杉山: Cedar Mountain

Ming-Chieh Hsu 许: Permit

Kosuke Noda 野田: Field Paddy, Abundance of help

Satoshi Kuroda 黒田: Black Paddy

Shogo Akada 赤田: Red Paddy

Takanori Hoshi 星: Star

Haruki Kurokawa 黒川: Black river

Kenta Kudo 工藤: Constructed Wisteria


Bonus: Foreigners

As a continuous gag, we reverse translate the foreigners to see what their name in Japanese would literally look like, not just katakana sounds. Here is what their names would look like in kanji. (Kuo, Hsu and Wu were already included above given their Chinese names.

Ernesto Mejia メヒア: Kyuseishu [救世主] . Mejia's name means "Messiah" or "Savior" in latin/greek origin.

Brian Wolfe ウルフ: Okami [狼]. Wolfe has an has an easy to understand name with the word wolf in German.

Neil Wagner ワグナー: Nigurumato [荷車人]. Wagner's name has German descent as a wagon driver or wagon person.

Fabio Castillo カスティーヨ: Shiro [城]. Castillo's surname has Latin descent for "Castle".

Deunte Heath ヒース: Arechi [荒地]. Heath's name has English origins and refers to wasteland, or it could be a shrub.

Kyle Martin マーティン: Gunshin [軍神]. Martin is a derivative of the god Mars. Mars is also the god of war, which makes Gunshin. Surprisingly, Bushin [武神] would also be acceptable for god of war.  If we strictly refer to Mars, Marusushin [マルス神] would be the most literal as it gets. Given that Gunshin is already generic for "god of war", it made the most sense.


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Saturday, November 10, 2018

2019 Schedule: Lions will open season in Fukuoka against defending champion Hawks

The 2019 NPB Schedule was released earlier this week. For the Lions, their Opening Day on March 29, will be on the road in Fukuoka against the two-time defending champion Softbank Hawks.

Here is a links to the full schedule (Home teams listed on the left as it goes from Monday-Sunday:

March 2019

April 2019 

May 2019

June 2019

July 2019

August 2019

September 2019


Here are also some other quirks that stand out in the Lions 2019 schedule:

-The Home opener will be on 4/2 against the Chiba Lotte Marines. 

-Tokyo Dome will be occupied for a total of four Lions road games, including three in early April against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. They will also see the Hawks on 7/8.

-In addition to seeing the Hawks in Tokyo Dome, they will also play the Hawks in a road game in Kyocera Dome on 8/19. These are both corporate parties for the Hawks as everyone wearing their special uniform is a Softbank employee. They have two Tokyo Dome games scheduled and the Lions will see the Kansai employees in Osaka in August.

-Omiya will host its usual three Lions home games in 2019, where they host the Eagles on 4/9, Marines on 5/9 and Eagles again on 8/8. 

-For the fourth straight year, the Lions will be hosting another game in Maebashi, Gunma on 5/8. It will be against the Marines.

-On 5/14, the Lions are scheduled to play a road game against the Softbank Hawks in Kitakyushu. Barring no rain, this will be the third straight year playing a game there.

-For the second time in three years, the Lions will host the two annual NPB games in Naha, Okinawa. They will be playing the Softbank Hawks on 5/21 and 5/22. In 2017, only one game was played due to the rain. 

-The Lions are scheduled to be the road team for two games against the Eagles on 5/28 and 5/29. On 5/28, they will be in Morioka, Iwate, which is the same prefecture Yusei Kikuchi is from. It is also the prefecture where Fuji University is located. For 5/29, the Lions will be playing in Hirosaki, Aomori, which is the home prefecture of Shuta Tonosaki. His family also runs an apple farm directly in Hirosaki. 

-Interleague play begins on June 4 against the Hiroshima Carp. It will end on 6/23 against the Hanshin Tigers in Koshien Stadium barring no rain. The Lions will also visit Nagoya Dome and Yokohama while hosting the Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows. 

-From 8/27-8/29, the Lions are scheduled for three special road games against the Fighters. On 8/27 and 8/28, the Lions will be playing in Kushiro (4.5 hour drive away from Sapporo), which is on the eastern side of Hokkaido. They will play in Obihiro on 8/29, which is about 2+ hours east of Sapporo. 

-From 9/3-9/5, the Lions will be playing their only three games in Kobe against the Orix Buffaloes. These will be the last scheduled games in Kansai for the 2019 season.

-The Final scheduled game is on 9/24 in Chiba against the Marines. This indicates there is more cramming into this coming year with 143 games being played in less time. With the Lions being a team under a roof, their regular season could end before October.


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Asamura exercises FA option; Matsui named farm manager

On a day where things became big, the Saitama Seibu Lions announced their staff changes when Hideto Asamura declared himself a domestic free agent using his option. 

Asamura, 27, has been the Lions captain since 2017 and was viewed initially as a successor to Hiroyuki Nakajima at SS. He established himself as the everyday 2B and had a career-high 32 home runs/

It's possible he's only testing the market and seeing how much he's worth, but we really don't know what he wants as no one does. Media reports he has a good relationship with the team, but told officials he wanted to make himself a free agent.

Track record indicates he's likely gone if he purely wants the money as the Lions often lose bidding wars. Previously, the team lost Takayuki Kishi and Ryoma Nogami in back-to-back years to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and Yomiuri Giants. The last position player who walked with compensation was Yasuyuki Kataoka, who signed with the Giants after the 2013 season.

It was reported the Lions offered a multi-year deal and we can only hope it's not a hard offer. Presumably, other teams will beat it and make a better one financially. The Lions braced for a possible loss of Asamura when drafting IF Kakeru Yamanobe last month. 


The 2018 Seibu Lions staff was also announced on Sunday with Kazuo Matsui being named the team's farm manager. Here are some of the notable changes:

-Besides being the third base coach, Toshifumi Baba is now the strategy coach and likely takes head coach responsibilities at the ichi-gun level.

-Kazuyoshi Ono will be taking Yoshihiro Doi's spot as ichi-gun pitching coach, serving alongside Fumiya Nishiguchi. This will be Ono's first time coaching with the Lions since 2011. He previously worked in the front office and was a trainer who traveled with players to Australia during the winter offseason. Ono last coached at the ichi-gun level with the Lions in 2008.

-Satoshi Kuroda has been promoted to the ichi-gun as an infield defense and base running coach.

-Hitting coach Shigenobu Shima will work down in ni-gun after being the team's ichi-gun hitting coach.

-Ni-gun coach Shogo Akada moves up to the ichi-gun as a hitting coach, was previously a ni-gun defense and first base coach.

-Eiji Kiyokawa was a trainer for the team and will be a patrol or roving pitching coach. He returns for the first time in two years.

-Hiroshi Hirao, the hero from the 2008 Japan Series, will serve with Shima as a ni-gun hitting coach. 

Full staff announced here (numbers worn in parentheses):


Manager: Hatsuhiko Tsuji (85)

Strategy/Fielding/Base running: Toshifumi Baba (83)

Pitching: Kazuyoshi Ono (88)

Pitching: Fumiya Nishiguchi (74)

Battery: Kosaku Akimoto (84)

Hitting: Masahiro Abe (76)

Hitting: Shogo Akada (86)

Infield/Base running: Satoshi Kuroda (87)

Outfield/Base running: Tomoaki Sato (70)


Manager: Kazuo Matsui (77)

Position Player/Head Coach: Hiroyuki Takagi (75)

Pitching: Kento Sugiyama (90)

Pitching: Ming-Chieh Hsu (91)

Battery: Kosuke Noda (82)

Hitting/Infield/Base running: Hiroshi Hirao (no number mentioned)

Hitting/Outfield/Base running: Shigenobu Shima (80)

Ikusei: Takanori Hoshi (81)

Patrol/Roving pitching coach: Eiji Kiyokawa (92)


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