The Saitama Seibu Lions will likely retain free agent Tatsushi Masuda, according to reports. For a team that is known to let players walk, this would be a huge keep if he were to stay.
Reports indicated the Lions offered a four year contract worth more than ¥1.2 billion ($12 million) for the veteran closer. Masuda, who turns 33 this April, came off his best career season in a short year. In 48 games, he racked up a career-high 33 saves, 49 innings and a 2.02 ERA in 2020. He also became the all-time franchise leader in saves.
Previously, the Lions have lost a total of 19 players domestically once they have exercised their free agent option. This includes Kimiyasu Kudo, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Takayuki Kishi, Hideto Asamura and many more.
Lions add Yoshikawa
The Lions signed veteran Mitsuo Yoshikawa to a contract with ¥30 million this past week. Yoshikawa, who turns 33 in April, was a Pacific League MVP in 2012. After being a rotation starter for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters for several years, he was traded to the Yomiuri Giants and became depth for them. His last season of reaching 100 innings pitched was 2018, where he had a 6-7 record and 4.26 ERA.
Yoshikawa was traded back to the Fighters in a cash trade and saw minimal ichi-gun innings. The Lions hope his left arm will be depth for the pitching staff and it's unsure whether he'll be a reliever or starter. He will join a mix including Daiki Enokida, Shota Takekuma, Shota Hamaya, Ryuya Ogawa, Hiromasa Saito, Tetsuya Utsumi and Yasuo Sano.
Nolin will not return
It was announced on the sidebar that Sean Nolin will not be returning with thee Lions in 2021. An injury sidelined him for much of 2020 and he didn't appear for the ichi-gun until the second half. In five games, he had 21.1 innings with a 6.75 ERA where he only won his debut in Sendai.
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