[1/6/2018] Senichi Hoshino passes away

The media learned that Rakuten Eagles’ Vice Chairman Senichi Hoshino passed away on January 4. He was seventy years old.

Hoshino apparently fell sick toward the end of last year and canceled plans to spend time with family in Hawaii at the last minute. He did attend Hall of Fame celebrations in Tokyo on November 28, 2017 and in Osaka on December 1 last year.

As a pitcher with the Chunichi Dragons, Hoshino went 146-121 with a 3.60 ERA over 2128.2 innings spanning 500 games between 1969 and 1982. As a manager, he led the Dragons to two first place finishes, the Hanshin Tigers to one first place finish, and the Rakuten Eagles to one first place finish that culminated in his first and only Nippon Series Championship. He was voted into the Hall of Fame last year.

Source: Sponichi 1/6/2018

[UPDATE 1/7 @ 5:19am]

Additional information:

  • Hoshino passed away at 5:25am on January 4 at his daughters house in Mie Prefecture.
  • Hoshino fell in the bathroom and hit his jaw and lower back on January 2, but was able to eat normally the following day. Things took a sudden turn for the worse on the morning of January 4.
  • Hoshino found out he had pancreatic cancer when he developed acute pancreatitis in July 2016. He was apparently told he had three months.

Source: Sanspo 1/7/2018

[UPDATE 1/10 @ 1:51am]

The Hanshin Tigers and Chunichi Dragons scheduled memorial games for Hoshino.

  • Hanshin: exhibition game against Chunichi at Koshien Stadium on March 10 (Sat). Alternate date: exhibition game against Chunichi at Koshien Stadium on March 11 (Sun). Source: Hanshin 1/9/2018
  • Chunichi: exhibition game against Rakuten at Nagoya Dome on March 3 (Sat). Source: Chunichi 1/9/2018

[1/5/2018] Nippon Ham Fighters sign partnership agreement with Texas Rangers

The Nippon Ham Fighters announced today that they signed a partnership agreement with the Texas Rangers. Through the agreement, the two teams will be able to share various information, like scouting reports and coaching methods. They will also be able to set up a personnel exchange program for coaches and staff.

Source: Nippon Ham 1/5/2018, Jiji 1/5/2018, Daily Sports 1/5/2018


[1/4/2018] Chunichi Dragons reach agreement with Dillon Gee

The Chunichi Dragons announced on January 4 that they reached an agreement with thirty-one-year-old pitcher Dillon Gee. He was assigned the uniform number 60. According to media reports, the two sides agreed on a one-year deal worth an estimated 120 million yen plus an estimated 30 million yen in incentives.

Source: Chunichi 1/4/2018, Sports Hochi 1/4/2018, Sanpso 1/4/2018, Tokyo Sports 1/4/2018, Daily Sports 1/4/2018

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[1/4/2018] Chunichi Dragons sign with Mizuno

The Chunichi Dragons announced on January 4 that they signed an official partner contract with Mizuno. The Dragons will begin wearing Mizuno uniforms this season. Designs for their uniform will not change.

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/4/2018

[UPDATE 1/5 @ 9:37pm]

The agreement runs from January 1, 2018 until December 31, 2021. Mizuno joins Edion (helmet) and Chunichi Shimbun (uniform, left sleeve) as official partners.

Source: Chunichi 1/5/2018


[12/30/2017] Hanshin Tigers interested in Byung-Ho Park, Jung-Ho Kang, Hyun-Soo Kim

The Hanshin Tigers are interested in thirty-one-year-old Byung-Ho Park (KBO LG, KBO Nexen, MLB Minnesota) as an option for the 2019 season. Thirty-year-old Jung-Ho Kang (KBO Hyundai, KBO Nexen, MLB Pittsburgh) and twenty-nine-year-old Hyun-Soo Kim (KBO Doosan, MLB Baltimore, MLB Philadelphia, KBO LG) are other possibilities. This is in addition to twenty-four-year-old Po-Jung Wang (CPBL Lamigo).

It should be noted that a number of other NPB teams are also interested in Wang, like the Chunichi Dragons, Orix Buffaloes, Yomiuri Giants, and Softbank Hawks.

The Tigers are also keeping an eye on thirty-five-year-old Seung-Hwan Oh (KBO Samsung, NPB Hanshin, MLB St. Louis). They currently have no openings in the bullpen, but that could change if someone gets hurt or struggles. There are also rumors that Oh might be interested in a return to the NPB.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/30/2017, Daily Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/30/2017Sponichi 12/30/2017, Sanspo 12/30/2017, Sanspo 12/30/2017


[12/30/2017] Softbank Hawks interested in Yurisbel Gracial

The Softbank Hawks are interested in thirty-two-year-old Cuban Yurisbel Gracial. A Softbank official is currently in Cuba scouting the infielder. The Hawks most likely see Gracial as both injury insurance and competition to keep other players motivated.

The Hawks already have three of their four foreign player slots filled with Alfredo Despaigne, Dennis Sarfate, and Rick van den Hurk. Livan Moinelo could get the last spot, with Robert Suarez also a possibility.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/30/2017, Daily Sports 12/30/2017


[12/29/2017] Jay Jackson signs new contract with Hiroshima Carp

The Hiroshima Carp announced today that they reached an agreement with Jay Jackson. The two sides agreed to a new contract worth an estimated one million US dollars plus incentives and includes a signing bonus of 500,000 US dollars.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/29/2017, Sanspo 12/29/2017

See also:


[12/29/2017] Name change for Ginoza Stadium and Dome

Ginoza Stadium and Dome in Okinawa are the spring camp home of the Hanshin Tigers. Kariyusha Company purchased the naming rights to both facilities for 5.5 million yen a year over a period of four years and three months beginning on January 1, 2018. The names will be Kariyusha Hotels Ballpark Ginoza and Kariyusha Hotels Ballpark Ginoza Dome.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/29/2017


[12/28/2017] Softbank Hawks: Kodai Senga wants to be posted at some point

Kodai Senga told reporters on December 27 that he spoke to the Softbank Hawks about wanting to be posted to the Majors before he earns his international free agent option during salary negotiations on December 21. He said he never really considered playing in America until recently (he enjoyed pitching at the World Baseball Classic where he went 1-1 with a 0.82 ERA, sixteen strikeouts, one walk, and seven hits over eleven innings of work spanning four games). The Hawks are not known for posting their players, so it is uncertain what they plan to do with Senga’s request. As of now, the twenty-four-year-old pitcher is not scheduled to earn his international free agent option until some time during the 2022/2023 season.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/28/2017, Nikkan Sports 12/28/2017, Sponichi 12/28/2017, Daily Sports 12/28/2017

[UPDATE 1/13/2018 @ 5:15pm]

Senga is not necessarily interested in being posted to the Majors before he earns his free agent option. According to Tokyo Sports, he merely wanted to let the Hawks know that he has a desire to play in the Majors. He also wanted them to give him a place to express his feelings.

Senga could have kept his discussions with the team private, but decided to make them public because he wanted the additional pressure to perform.

Source: Tokyo Sports 1/13/2018


[12/27/2017] Hiroshima Carp finalize 2018 contracts for Johnson, Eldred, Batista, and Mejia

The Hiroshima Carp announced that they finalized the 2018 contracts for the following four players:

  • Kris Johnson, thirty-three-years-old, second year of three-year contract, three million US dollars plus incentives
  • Brad Eldred, thirty-seven-years-old, second year of two-year contract, one million US dollars plus incentives
  • Xavier Batista, twenty-five-years-old, second year of six-year contract, 175,510 US dollars plus incentives
  • Alejandro Mejia, twenty-four-years-old, second year of six-year contract, 100,000 US dollars plus incentives

Salaries are estimates.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/27/2017

NPB Standings [Full]
Hiroshima 143 88 51 4
Hanshin 143 78 61 4
Yokohama 143 73 65 5
Yomiuri 143 72 68 3
Chunichi 143 59 79 5
Yakult 143 45 96 2
Softbank 143 94 49 0
Seibu 143 79 61 3
Rakuten 143 77 63 3
Orix 143 63 79 1
Nippon Ham 143 60 83 0
Lotte 143 54 87 2
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