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Plenty of recognizable names leaving MLB for Japan in 2011

Feb 1, 2011, 1:14 PM EDT

Byung-Hung Kim

I’ve written a lot of words this offseason about Tsuyoshi Nishioka signing with the Twins and Hisashi Iwakuma failing to sign with the A’s after their Japanese teams “posted” them, but the list of MLB players heading in the opposite direction is pretty interesting too.

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker and Fan Graphs has all the details on former major leaguers going to Japan and it’s an amusing list of washed-up former stars (Chan Ho Park, Chad Tracy, Byung-Hyun Kim), top prospect busts (Bryan Bullington, Joel Guzman, Wladimir Balentien), and role players who for whatever reason never seemed to get any traction in MLB (Micah Hoffpauir, Rusty Ryal, Jonathan Albaladejo).

Newman also notes that both Kaz Matsui and Akinori Iwamura are returning to Japan after spending a combined 11 seasons in MLB.

  1. Brian Murphy - Feb 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Bryan Bullington.

    Man, good times.

    Hey, hey, remember when draft analysts back in 2002 said that draft had one of the worst talent fields? Wow, were they right. I mean, Greinke, Fielder, Upton, Hamels, no talent there in the first round.

    When I think of Bryan Bullington, I always smile.

    But he finally got that ML win. So there’s that, which is nice.

  2. tomemos - Feb 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    “An amusing list of washed-up former stars, top prospect busts, and role players who for whatever reason never seemed to get any traction in MLB”? That’s what you find “amusing,” decline and frustrated potential? Did you think Sunset Boulevard was a comedy?

    • Old Gator - Feb 1, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      The funniest part is when they look up into the sun and try to make out who was pissing on them.

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