The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are set to play two games at Tokyo Dome in Japan for the 2019 MLB Opening Series (March 21-22). Exhibition games against Japanese teams are also on the schedule (March 17-18).
Opening Series in Japan
The Kansas City Royals have reportedly agreed to terms on a minor league contract with Kaito Yuki. An official announcement will be made in Osaka on July 8.
Yuki is a sixteen-year-old right-handed pitcher from Habikino, Osaka. He played for Kanan Little Senior and represented Japan at a McHenry County Youth Sports Association International Tournament last year. He stands at around 187 centimeters and throws about 140km/h. A number of top high schools were scouting him with hopes that he would stay in Japan. One of Yuki’s goals is to become a player like Yu Darvish, who is also from Habikino, Osaka.
[UPDATE 7/8 @ 5:33pm]
The Royals held a press conference in Osaka earlier today. Yuki told reporters that he started out wanting to play at the Koshien, but after he experienced baseball in the United States, his desire to play in the US grew stronger than his desire to play at the Koshien.
Source: Sponichi 7/8/20180 Comments
According to tweets by Ken Rosenthal, Jim Allen, and Nick Piecoro, the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Yoshihisa Hirano. The deal is said to be a two-year contract worth six million US dollars, pending a physical.
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Nikkan Sports is reporting that there might be two posting system proposals on the table right now.
This information is coming from Yomiuri Giants’ owner Shoichi Oikawa. He spoke to reporters after an owners meeting in Tokyo earlier today. There may also be an additional level for players under twenty-five, since the CBA limits the size of their contracts.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/13/2017
[UPDATE 9/14 @ 9:30am]
According to Sponichi, if the percentage system sticks, NPB teams might also be given refusal rights. Since posting fees will depend on the value of the contract, NPB teams will not know how much they will get until after an agreement is made. If they feel the amount is too low, refusal rights will give them a chance to refuse the terms.
Source: Sponichi 9/14/20170 Comments
According to a report posted by Sponichi this morning, thirty-five-year-old Munenori Kawasaki is close to finalizing a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs that will be worth 900,000 US dollars if he makes the MLB roster. The agreement also apparently includes an invite to spring training.
Source: Sponichi 1/4/2017
[UPDATE 1/6 @ 11:42pm]
The Softbank Hawks are planning to continue keeping tabs on Kawasaki. They would like him to return to the organization when he is ready to come back to Japan.
Source: Nikkan Sports 1/6/2017One Comment
Forty-year-old Tomo Ohka is trying to make his back to the MLB. He was in Arizona on November 2 and threw about sixty pitches to four minor league baseball players in front of scouts from a number of MLB teams, including the Rays, Royals, and Orioles.
Ohka has been working on a knuckleball since he was released by Yokohama in 2011. He spent the last two years playing in the Baseball Challenge League.
Source: Sponichi 11/10/2016
The Orioles signed Ohka to a minor league contract on December 16.
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/20160 Comments
According to Sponichi, Munenori Kawasaki might be open to returning to the NPB next year. A number of NPB will most likely be interested, but the Softbank Hawks will probably have the upper hand. They have left his uniform number 52 open and might be willing to offer him a three-year deal worth about 1.2 billion yen.
Source: Sponichi 11/4/20160 Comments
Mizuno announced on June 17 that it was going to release a number of items to commemorate Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,257 NPB+MLB hits.
Source: Mizuno announcement (pdf)0 Comments