Thirty-one-year-old Hideaki Wakui earned his international free agent option this year. The Chiba Lotte Marines would like Wakui to return next year. However, they know he is also interested in playing in the Majors. They are planning to sit down with him to discuss his plans.
According to Nikkan Sports, Wakui is planning to consider all his available options. That includes the Majors, Lotte, or another NPB team. Sports Hochi is reporting that Wakui has plans to visit the United States and watch the World Series.
[UPDATE 10/12 @ 11:58am]
The Marines want Wakui to return in 2018. To that end, they are prepared to do the following:
Source: Sports Hochi 10/12/2017
[UPDATE 10/25 @ 2:55am]
Wakui left for the United States out of Haneda Airport on October 23. He is planning to watch the World Series. Before leaving, he told reporters he was interested in playing in the Majors and that he started thinking about it after playing in the WBC.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/24/2017
[UPDATE 11/7 @ 2:27pm]
Wakui is no rush to make a decision and told reporters on November 6 that he take advantage of all the time he has until the deadline on November 14.
Nikkan Sports is reporting that Wakui has already informed Lotte that he is planning to exercise his option with his first choice to play in the Majors.
[UPDATE 11/8 @ 12:44am]
Wakui is reportedly planning to file for free agency because he wants a shot at playing in the Majors. If he ends up staying in Japan, it will be with Lotte.0 Comments
Thirty-three-year-old Hirotoshi Masui earned his domestic free agent option earlier this year. He is currently in the final year of a two year deal.
According to a report by Sports Hochi, a number of teams are keeping an eye on Masui to see what he does with his free agent option. He is first planning to sit down with the Nippon Ham Fighters before deciding what he wants to do with the option. He could be an interesting option for a team looking to bolster their bullpen.
[UPDATE 10/20 @ 10:36pm]
Masui was asked to stay during a meeting after the season. He feels needed, but is also interested in talking to other teams. According to Sponichi, there might be a gap in between what Masui wants and what the Fighters’ are offering. Masui is planning to make a decision based on what happens during his next meeting.
[UPDATE 10/29 @ 12:18am]
Masui will have his second meeting with the Fighters on October 30. Based on how discussions have gone so far, there is a good chance he will exercise his option. He is planning to make a decision after the meeting.
Masui may have been offered a one-year deal with no change in salary plus incentives during his first meeting with the team.
[UPDATE 10/31 @ 3:17pm]
Masui met with the Fighters for a second time on October 30. The Fighters may have offered a multi-year contract. Masui told reporters he received a good offer and that he wanted to make a decision about his option some time this week.
The Yomiuri Giants could be interested in his services.
[UPDATE 11/7 @ 3:27pm]
According to the latest reports, Masui will probably end up filing for free agency because he is still interested in hearing offers from other NPB teams. He is looking for a multi-year deal (the more years, the better). He could still end up staying with the Fighters.
[UPDATE 11/7 @ 11:50pm]
The media learned on November 6 that the Fighters may have offered Masui a two-year contract worth over 440 million yen (he made an estimated 220 million this year and likely got a raise). Nippon Ham is open to signing Masui even if he uses his option, but if he decides to become a free agent, it will most likely be to sign with another team.
Source: Sanspo 11/7/20170 Comments
Twenty-eight-year-old Sho Nakata is still not sure what he is going to do with his free agent option, but did tell the media on October 9 that it would be nice to “listen to different kinds of things.”
Nakata has been linked to the Hanshin Tigers, but they could lose interest fairly quickly depending on whom they manage to draft and whether or not they have strong leads on players overseas. It could be a fairly big gamble for Nakata to become a free agent this year, when one more season with the Fighters will allow him to obtain an international option. But staying with the Fighters will also most likely mean having to take a pay cut.
[UPDATE 11/5 @ 12:14pm]
Nakata has met with the Fighters a number of times since the end of the regular season. There is a chance he will stay without exercising his option. Part of it might have something to do with the season he had, as well as the team’s overall performance this year.
Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2017
[UPDATE 11/14 @ 12:39am]
Nakata is planning to tell the Fighters what he is planning to do with his free agent option when he sits down to talk to them on November 14.
Source: Sanspo 11/13/2017
[UPDATE 11/14 @ 3:30pm]
The Fighters may have offered Nakata an estimated salary of 200 million yen in 2018 (down about 80 million yen from this year).
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/14/20170 Comments
According to Daily Sports, the Chiba Lotte Marines are thinking about offering thirty-five-year-old Wily Mo Pena a contract for the 2018 season. They see him as an important part of their line-up.
The Marines feel twenty-eight-year-old Jimmy Paredes has a number of adjustments to make, but could still be an interesting option.
Thirty-eight-year-old Jason Standridge and twenty-six-year-old Kuan-Yu Chen are expected to return. The Marines are not planning to offer twenty-eight-year-old Matt Duffy and thirty-year-old Roel Santos contracts for the 2018 season.
Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2017
[UPDATE 10/10 @ 3:57pm]
The Marines announced today that Pena and Paredes will return to their homes on October 11.
Source: Sanspo 10/10/2017
[UPDATE 11/29 @ 9:37pm]
The Marines could sign two position players from the overseas market. They are also open to signing a foreign closer.
Source: Daily Sports 11/29/20170 Comments
According to Sports Hochi, the Chunichi Dragons are exploring the idea of signing a foreign catcher. The Dragons have a hole at catcher and they are most likely going to lose Alex Guerrero. Signing a foreign catcher would kill two birds with one stone.
The Dragons also have their eye on Nippon Ham’s Shota Ono, but there are no guarantees that he will be available (he has a free agent option, but he might not exercise it, or he might sign with another team).
The biggest concern with signing a foreign catcher is communication, but the Dragons are willing to overlook the issue if the player can provide enough offense to offset the risk.
One player the Dragons are interested is twenty-seven-year-old Kyle Higashioka. They like his shoulder and catching abilities. They also like his hitting potential. The fact that he learned some basic Japanese from Masahiro Tanaka is also a big plus. The Dragons are also keeping their eye on other catchers like twenty-eight-year-old Mike Marjama and twenty-seven-year-old A. J. Jimenez.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/9/20170 Comments
The Orix Buffaloes announced today that Gonzalez Germen will return to the United States on October 10. The Buffaloes have not yet decided if they are going to offer him a contract for the 2018 season.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2017
[UPDATE 11/30 @ 2:55pm]
The Buffaloes are not planning to offer Germen a contract for the 2018 season.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/30/20170 Comments
The Hanshin Tigers are interested in twenty-eight-year-old Yuhei Nakaushiro. The pitcher has spent the last two years in the United States. Upon returing to Japan last month, he told reporters it was not as simple as saying that he was going to play in the Majors next year and that he would be open to playing in Japan if there were interested teams.
The Tigers made some history when five of their relievers reached sixty appearances and six reached fifty. Nakaushiro would give the Tigers a little room to breath if the heavy workload from this year leads to problems next year.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/8/2017
[UPDATE 11/28 @ 3:26pm]
Nakaushiro is interested in remaining in the Diamondbacks organization.
Source: Sponichi 11/28/20170 Comments
Chris Martin and Yadir Drake were taken off the active roster on October 5. They are expected to return to the respective homes soon.
Martin is open to returning next year, but Nippon Ham will only be one of what might be many options. Drake will most likely not be offered a new contract by the Fighters for the 2018 season.
Source: Sponichi 10/5/2017
[UPDATE 11/10 @ 8:52pm]
The Nippon Ham Fighters announced today that Martin and Drake will not return next year.
Source: Nippon Ham 11/10/2017
[UPDATE 12/12 @ 11:27am]
Martin signed a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers.
Source: Daily Sports 12/12/20170 Comments
According to Sponichi, Yokohama Bay Stars will be parting ways with thirty-seven-year-old Yasutomo Kubo because they could not come to terms on an agreement. People close to the situation told reports that the Bay Stars offered Kubo a contract with a substantial pay cut in mid-September.
Kubo wants to continue playing next year and will consider all options, including opportunities overseas.
[UPDATE 10/14 @ 1:22am]
According to Sanspo, the Chunichi Dragons are looking for starting pitching help and could turn to Kubo.
Source: Sanspo 10/11/20170 Comments
Thirty-year-old Roel Santos left for Cuba (via Toronto) out of Narita Airport on October 4. Before leaving, he told reporters that while he enjoyed his time with the Chiba Lotte Marines, he was disappointed that he could not do more to help the team. While his status next year is uncertain, he said he was interested in returning to Chiba.0 Comments