Skip to content

Wladimir Balentien, Lastings Milledge get multiyear deals in Japan

Dec 17, 2012, 8:04 PM EST

Lastings Milledge Getty Getty Images

For the longest time, it was unheard of for Japanese teams to sign its gaijin, or foreign-born players, to multiyear deals. That’s changed of late, though, and the Yakult Swallows have inked three of their imports to two- and three-year deals, MLB Trade Rumors reports.

According to Tim Dierkes, the Swallows have re-signed outfielder Wladmir Balentien to a three-year, $7.5 million contract, outfielder Lastings Milledge to a three-year, $4.4 million contract and reliever Tony Barnette to a two-year, $3.2 million contract.

Balentien hit .272/.386/.572 with a Central League-high 31 homers last year in his second season in Japan. Milledge hit .300/.379/.485 with 21 homers. The two were easily the Swallows’ best hitters; no one else on the squad managed an .800 OPS.

Barnette had 33 saves and a 1.82 ERA as the team’s closer.

While there probably weren’t any major league teams craving another shot at Milledge or Barnette, Balentien likely would have drawn some interest had he waited another year and chosen to return to the United States. The 28-year-old disappointed in his early major league stints, but he hardly embarrassed himself. After getting traded away from the Mariners and out of Safeco, he hit a respectable .264/.352/.427 in 110 at-bats for the Reds in 2009.

Latest Posts
  1. Mets don’t intend to talk extension with Daniel Murphy

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:02 PM EST

    Daniel Murphy AP AP

    While Daniel Murphy would like to discuss a contract extension with the Mets, it looks like a foregone conclusion that he will test free agency after the 2015 season.

  2. Nick Markakis apologizes for his comments regarding contract talks with the Orioles

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:49 PM EST

    Nick Markakis AP AP

    Braves outfielder Nick Markakis recently expressed frustration about how contract talks with the Orioles broke down over the winter.

  3. Shane Victorino is ready to go back to switch-hitting

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:40 PM EST

    Shane Victorino Getty Getty Images

    Victorino gave up hitting from the left side late in 2013, but he’s ready to give it another shot.

  4. Matt Harvey tentatively scheduled to make spring debut on March 6

    Feb 26, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Matt Harvey AP AP

    It will be Harvey’s first game action since he underwent Tommy John surgery 16 months ago.

  5. Blue Jays sign Johan Santana

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:06 PM EST

    Johan Santana Getty Getty Images

    Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to injury.

  6. Barry Zito on his one-year retirement: “You want to be back in that game so bad”

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:17 PM EST

    Barry Zito Getty Images

    “I think hanging it up is going to be harder for guys than they realize, after being out of it for a year.”

  7. What’s driving the A-Rod media circus? The media, of course.

    Feb 26, 2015, 2:06 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    Shame on A-Rod for making the reporters obsess about him.

  8. Ike Davis is still mad at the Mets for saying that he partied too hard

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    ike davis getty Getty Images

    It’s been two and a half years, but it still leaves a “dirty taste” in his mouth.

  9. Wily Mo Pena is staying in Japan

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:47 AM EST

    wily mo pena headshot ap AP

    Pena once looked like a potential star for the Reds and Red Sox, but then washed out by age 26.

  10. Max Scherzer has added a cutter to his arsenal

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:32 AM EST

    Max Scherzer AP

    He also (a) wants to emulate Greg Maddux; and (b) asked Sandy Koufax about his curveball.

  11. The Phillies slowly enter the era of analytics

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    phillies logo

    Welcome to 2002, Ruben Amaro!

  12. Francisco Rodriguez re-signs with the Brewers

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:23 AM EST

    Francisco Rodriguez AP

    Two weeks ago Francisco Rodriguez was said to be holding out for a two-year contract.

  13. For the 100th time, the Yankees are not for sale

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:37 AM EST

    Yankees logo

    Even if Mike Lupica thinks they will be soon.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4625)
  2. Y. Moncada (4370)
  3. M. Harvey (4195)
  4. Z. Greinke (3713)
  5. F. Rodriguez (3457)
  1. E. Cabrera (3191)
  2. B. Moss (2985)
  3. B. Beachy (2656)
  4. A. Gordon (2541)
  5. A. Beltre (2398)