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  1. Yu Darvish signs 2011 contract in Japan, gives “no comment” on potential 2012 move to MLB

    Jan 6, 2011, 12:40 PM EST

    Yu Darvish pitch

    Yu Darvish, the 24-year-old Japanese ace MLB teams have been salivating over for years already, has signed a 2011 contract with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters worth approximately $6 million, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. There’s been speculation that Darvish could make the move to MLB following the 2011 season, but when asked about…

  2. Diamondbacks sell Rusty Ryal to Japanese team

    Dec 23, 2010, 11:19 AM EST

    Rusty Ryal

    Rather than give him a shot to earn a bench job, the Diamondbacks have sold 27-year-old utility man Rusty Ryal to Yomiuri Giants in Japan. He was released last week in preparation for the move. Ryal debuted in 2006 by batting .271 with 11 extra-base hits and a .946 OPS in 68 plate appearances and…

  3. Twins finished runner-up in bidding for Hisashi Iwakuma

    Dec 21, 2010, 3:42 PM EST

    Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

    Minnesota won the exclusive negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka with a $5.3 million bid and eventually signed the Japanese infielder to a three-year, $9.25 million contract, and this afternoon general manager Bill Smith revealed that the Twins also finished runner-up in the bidding for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. In an interview with Patrick Reusse and…

  4. Twins still negotiating contract details with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Dec 14, 2010, 10:47 AM EST

    nishioka big

    When the Twins traded starting shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Orioles last week it signaled that they were extremely confident about being able to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka before the December 26 deadline. No deal is in place yet, but LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the two sides are close…

  5. Agent angry at A’s over failed Hisashi Iwakuma negotiations

    Dec 8, 2010, 10:47 AM EST

    Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

    Throughout the 30-day window for the A’s to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma agent Don Nomura criticized the team via Twitter and now that the window has closed without a contract being signed his criticisms are even more plentiful. Nomura told the Associated Press that the A’s “never showed any respect” and “their offer…

  6. Highlight video of Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Dec 1, 2010, 3:46 PM EST

    While the Twins negotiate with Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka after bidding $5 million for his exclusive negotiating rights, here’s a five-minute highlight video put together by his representatives at the Beverly Hills Sports Complex: Nishioka looks pretty good, but then again I’m pretty sure someone could splice together five minutes of footage that makes Juan…

  7. Rangers sign Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama

    Nov 30, 2010, 2:19 PM EST

    Yoshinori Tateyama

    Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama has signed a one-year contract with the Rangers that also includes team options for 2012 and 2013. Unlike higher-profiles Japanese players such as Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka there was no “posting fee” required to negotiate with Tateyama, as he’s a 35-year-old veteran who was simply a free agent following 12…

  8. What does winning negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka mean for the Twins?

    Nov 26, 2010, 3:14 PM EST

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Earlier this month, when the Twins announced plans to increase their payroll even further next year after blowing away the previous franchise record with more than $100 million in salaries this year, I wrote that “getting into the $115 million range would complete the transition from small-payroll team to large-payroll team” and “maintaining a top-10…

  9. Twins win bidding for negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Nov 26, 2010, 11:57 AM EST

    nishioka big

    No official announcement has been made yet by the Chiba Lotte Marines, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins have won the bidding for the exclusive negotiating rights to Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms Christensen’s report and quotes a source estimating that the Twins’ winning bid…

  10. Kaz Matsui returns to Japan as teams wait to hear results of Tsuyoshi Nishioka bidding

    Nov 26, 2010, 11:19 AM EST

    kaz matsui and milano

    After seven seasons in the majors Kazuo Matsui has returned to Japan by signing with the Rakuten Eagles, which is interesting timing as the baseball world waits to see which team won the bidding for negotiating rights to Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka is a speedy, switch-hitting middle infielder who won a batting title in…

  11. Chiba Lotte Marines to announce winning bid for infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Friday

    Nov 25, 2010, 11:48 AM EST

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker the Chiba Lotte Marines have received at least one acceptable bid for infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka and have scheduled a press conference for Friday to announce the winning MLB team. Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and San Diego are among the teams said to be interested in Nishioka, but various…

  12. History suggests A’s are right to balk at Japanese ace Hisashi Iwakuma’s asking price

    Nov 24, 2010, 3:15 PM EST

    Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

    Earlier this week contract talks between the A’s and Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma broke down over what was, depending on which side you choose to believe, either a large or humongous gap in expected value. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle initially reported that Iwakuma was asking for a “Barry Zito-type deal” before agent…

  13. Former No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington is headed to Japan

    Nov 24, 2010, 2:18 PM EST

    Bryan Bullington

    Bryan Bullington finally notched his first big-league win with eight shutout innings against the Yankees on August 15, eight years after the Pirates selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but now it looks like that may prove to be his only major-league victory. Designated for assignment by the Royals…

  14. Former top prospect Wladimir Balentien is headed to Japan

    Nov 16, 2010, 2:16 PM EST

    Wladimir Balentien

    Wladimir Balentien consistently crushed minor-league pitching at every level and hit .283/.351/.535 with 67 homers in 302 games at Triple-A, but he’s now headed to Japan at age 24 after struggling in 559 plate appearances for the Mariners and Reds. Balentien has tons of power, smacking 15 homers and 31 doubles in 511 at-bats even…

  15. Akinori Iwamura returns to Japan after four MLB seasons

    Nov 15, 2010, 11:49 AM EST

    Akinori Iwamura

    Akinori Iwamura left Japan in November of 2006 at age 28, signing a three-year, $7.7 million contract with Tampa Bay after the Rays paid a $4.55 million posting fee just for the rights to negotiate with him. He gave the Rays a solid return on that investment for two-and-a-half seasons, hitting .281/.354/.393 with good defense…

  16. Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka “wants to play on the West Coast”

    Nov 10, 2010, 1:17 PM EST

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Later this week MLB teams are expected to bid on exclusive negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Japanese infielder “wants to play on the West Coast” and is mostly interested in the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Padres. He won’t actually have a choice in the…

  17. Japanese reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi eyeing move to MLB

    Nov 10, 2010, 11:18 AM EST

    hiroyuki-kobayashi-japan

    Japanese reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi is reportedly looking to sign with an MLB team and because the 32-year-old right-hander is a free agent he won’t require a “posting fee” to negotiate with like starter Hisashi Iwakuma and infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Formerly a starter, Kobayashi moved to the bullpen this season and saved 29 games with a…

  18. Scouting report on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Nov 9, 2010, 3:17 PM EST

    Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    With reports that shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be “posted” by his Japanese team later this week he’s suddenly an intriguing option in what is a pretty weak free agent market for middle infielders. Patrick Newman, who does a great job covering Japanese baseball for NPB Tracker and Fan Graphs, has a lengthy scouting report on…

  19. A’s bid for Hisashi Iwakuma’s negotiating rights believed to be “in the $15 million range”

    Nov 8, 2010, 2:45 PM EST

    Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

    Various sources confirm that Oakland has secured exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that “the A’s winning bid was in the $15 million range.” Oakland will pay that “posting fee” to Iwakuma’s team in Japan only if the two sides are able to agree…

  20. A’s win exclusive rights to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma

    Nov 8, 2010, 11:17 AM EST

    iwakuma tweet

    There’s no official word yet on which team submitted the winning bid for exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, but his agent Don Nomura tweeted the following a short time ago: 岩隈さん Oakland Athletics!!!! Translated, that reads: “Iwakuma’s Oakland Athletics!!!!” Jon Heyman of SI.com has confirmed the news. Oakland must still work out…

  21. MLB teams have until Friday to bid on negotiating rights to star Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma

    Nov 2, 2010, 1:47 PM EST

    GQ Men Of The Year 2009

    Two months ago Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was said to be interested in leaving the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for MLB and now the Kyoda News reports that he’s officially been “posted” as an available player. According to the report, MLB teams “will have until Friday to submit sealed bids and the highest paying club…

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