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 Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers

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PostSubject: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:22 am

Japanese talent now on radar for Tigers

BY JON PAUL MOROSI • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • November 9, 2008

In recent days, reports have linked the Red Sox, Mariners, Braves and Phillies to the pursuit of Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old right-hander who plans to make a rare jump from Japan's amateur ranks to organized baseball in the United States.

And the Tigers could become involved, too.


President and general manager Dave Dombrowski said Friday the Tigers have interest in Tazawa. Still, he cautioned that it is "too early to tell" whether they will become major players in the marketplace for him.

Because so many clubs are pursuing Tazawa, the odds of Detroit landing him are not great. But it's noteworthy that the Tigers are taking an active approach with Asia's growing talent pool.

The Tigers did not submit a bid for Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka two off-seasons ago because of the posting fee involved and relative stability of the Tigers' pitching staff.

Tazawa is different. He is an amateur free agent, so there is no posting fee required. And the Tigers now have an obvious need for pitching.

Even if they do not sign Tazawa, the Tigers are in a better position to court Japanese free agents than they were even one year ago.

Team officials Tom Moore and Dick Egan traveled to Japan this season for coverage of the pro leagues there, and the Tigers recently hired Kevin Hooker as their coordinator of Pacific Rim scouting.

"We have more actively grown our organization in that direction," Dombrowski said last week. "We've improved our scouting staff there. We've added people.

"I still think it's very hard for us to deal with the big, big-name free-agent guys because the ability to produce a posting bid is very difficult. But that doesn't mean we can't explore what's out there."

G.P. SOUTH TO SOX:
In their bid to unseat the Chicago White Sox as American League Central champions, the Tigers likely will oppose a Michigan native.

Chris Getz, an infielder who played at Grosse Pointe South and Michigan, might win a job with the White Sox next spring.

"If we started camp today, he's our second baseman," general manager Kenny Williams said of the 25-year-old. "He's a baseball player, and he's grown up in the White Sox way."

When asked if he expects the Tigers to rebound in 2008, Williams replied, succinctly, "Hope not." Williams then praised the leadership of other teams in the AL Central, adding, "We, in the front office, have to be on our game. In our division, the one thing I'm focused on is sustained success."

TRADE TALK: When asked last week about initial trade discussions he had during the GM meetings, Mariners new general manager Jack Zduriencik said, "I'd love to be competitive, but I'm not going to close the door to getting talent into this organization. I don't want it to be long-way-away-type talent. I'd like to win here sooner than later."

Seattle's emphasis might be on acquiring talent at the Triple-A and major league levels. That could come into play if the Tigers pursue a trade for Trenton native J.J. Putz to be their closer in 2009. Would Detroit be willing to trade Matt Joyce or Jeff Larish to acquire Putz?

Contact JON PAUL MOROSI at 313-223-4097 or jmorosi@freepress.com. Check out his Tigers blog at www.freep.com/sports


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:11 pm

I say trade Larish for him, since we have Miggy and Inge at 1st and 3rd. And then Los can play those as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:23 am

Tigers confirm interest in Tazawa

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed the team's interest in Japanese amateur right-hander Junichi Tazawa, according to the Detroit Free Press. That puts Detroit in the mix with at least a handful of other squads for the 22-year-old, who made headlines this fall to go directly to American ball without playing in the Japanese professional leagues.

The Tigers aren't considered likely to match the aggressiveness of clubs such as the Braves, Mariners and Red Sox, in the pursuit of Tazawa. Dombrowski considered it "too early to tell" how far they would go. However, it's the interest in itself that's significant in Detroit.

The Tigers have tracked Tazawa where they haven't tracked other Japanese players in part because he's bypassing the posting system. Because he isn't a pro, Major League teams don't have to submit a posting bid for the right to negotiate with him, as they do with Japanese pro players. Plus, the Tigers' search for young talent is taking them into areas where they weren't treading in years past. Detroit hired former Phillies scout Kevin Hooker to fill their newly-created post as Pacific Rim scouting coordinator last month.

-- Jason Beck
Posted on November 9, 2008 at 9:52 AM


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:42 am

It would suck to not get him just cuz we dont have that much cap room to sign him for as much as other teams.
But whatever, we should still go after Putz.
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:43 am

No we really shouldnt. Jonesy is irreplacable. I think Fuentes would be a better choice then Putz anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:03 pm

11/18/08 7:50 PM EST
Tigers send scout to meet Tazawa
Japanese right-hander coveted by several teams

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

The Tigers paid a visit to Japanese amateur right-hander Junichi Tazawa on Monday, sending a scout to meet with the hard-throwing 22-year-old. It's the next step as the Tigers enter the mix for a pitcher who is making waves in his home country by skipping Japan's professional leagues and going directly to the U.S. for his pro career.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed interest in Tazawa last week. It's a big move for Detroit, which hasn't signed any prominent players from Japan under Dombrowski's watch but now has a chance to do so without going through the posting system, where teams have to bid on the right to negotiate with a Japanese professional player.

According to the Kyodo News, Tazawa met with scouts from the Tigers and Indians at a hotel in Osaka, where the national corporate championships are being held. He reportedly met with representatives from the Braves and Mariners a couple weeks ago.

The Braves have reportedly offered a Major League contract. No offers were extended in Monday's meeting.

"Today it was just basically an exchange of greetings, but it was good to be able to listen to what they had to say," Tazawa told the Kyodo News.

The Cubs, Marlins and Red Sox have also reportedly shown interest in the young man with a fastball that supposedly touches 97 mph.

The Tigers have started to bolster their efforts in the Far East. Detroit hired former Phillies scout Kevin Hooker to fill their newly-created post as Pacific Rim scouting coordinator last month.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:26 am

gdennis59 wrote:
I say trade Larish for him, since we have Miggy and Inge at 1st and 3rd. And then Los can play those as well.

Why not trade INGE for Putz....Inge is AAA quality.
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:44 am

Saturday, November 22, 2008
MLB whispers
Tony Paul / The Detroit News

One of the more intriguing free agents available -- mostly because he's never thrown a pitch as a professional -- is 22-year-old Japanese right-hander Junichi Tazawa , who boosted his major league stock Friday with a complete-game shutout in his nation's corporate league championships. Tazawa, who boasts a fastball in the mid- to high-90s as well as a dazzling forkball and slider, struck out 10 and allowed four hits and no walks in a 4-0 victory in Osaka, Japan, where scouts from several MLB teams reportedly were looking on. Opting against turning pro at home in favor of heading to North America, Tazawa is free to negotiate with any club starting later this month -- and among those interested, according to several news sources, are the Red Sox, Indians and, yes, the Tigers.


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:01 pm

Tigers will not offer contract to Japan's Junichi Tazawa

Although the Tigers sent two scouts to meet with right-hander Junichi Tazawa in Japan last week, the team will not offer him a contract, according to Detroit assistant general manager Al Avila.

Tazawa, a 22-year-old amateur, gained notoriety when he requested that the professional teams from his home country not select him in their October draft — a break from Japanese tradition. And his decision to pitch in the United States at this stage of his career has created some controversy, since one country’s amateur players are generally considered off-limits to the other.

A story in the New York Times last week quoted a Nippon Professional Baseball news release, which said, “That a handful of clubs from the majors is trying to break this gentlemen’s agreement is truly regrettable.”

The Tigers’ desire to maintain their relationships in Japan appears to be a major consideration in their decision not to offer Tazawa a contract.

“We have invested much time and resources the last two years building our staff and rebuilding our good relationships in Japan and in other Asian countries in order to be players in those markets for years to come,” Avila said in an e-mail to the Free Press.

Avila added that the Tigers will continue “respecting the gentlemen’s agreement” between big-league clubs and those in Nippon Professional Baseball.

According to reports, the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are among the clubs that have offered contracts to Tazawa. Boston’s offer was reportedly worth $6 million.


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:46 pm

Darn!
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:48 pm

11/25/08 5:42 PM EST
Tazawa set to choose Red Sox
Right-hander reportedly will announce decision early next week

By Ian Browne / MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox appear poised to add to their recent track record of landing Japanese pitchers, as right-hander Junichi Tazawa has reportedly decided to join the franchise that already has Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.

According to two Japanese news organizations -- Mainichi Daily News and Nikkan Sports -- Tazawa will reveal by the beginning of next week that he has chosen the Red Sox over the other Major League teams that were interested in his services.

The list also included the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers and perhaps a few others.

Just as in their pursuit of Matsuzaka and Okajima, the Red Sox were stealth all the way in their scouting and courting of Tazawa.

The club has yet to say anything publicly with regard to the right-hander, acknowledging only that it made him a contract offer.

Nikkan Sports reported that Tazawa ended negotiations with all other teams and that the official announcement of his deal with the Red Sox will occur on Dec. 1.

Unlike Matsuzaka and Okajima, who had both put together impressive and sustained careers in Japan, the 22-year-old Tazawa is a much more untapped commodity.

Tazawa asked Japanese pro teams not to draft him so that he could go straight to the Major Leagues.

He spent 2008 pitching for the Nippon Oil of the Japan Industrial League, which is for amateur players only.

Tazawa dominated for Nippon, pitching a complete-game shutout in his final start, which was on Nov. 21.

His fastball, according to a Major League source, is generally in the low 90s. Some reports suggested that Tazawa threw 97 mph. If so, it appears that was a rarity.

Because of Tazawa's lack of professional experience, there's a chance he will pitch in the Minor Leagues in 2009.

It isn't known if the offer from the Red Sox -- reportedly worth as much $6 million over three seasons -- was a Major League contract.

The Red Sox already have a quality starting rotation, including Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield. Talented young pitchers Justin Masterson and Clay Buchholz could also be in the mix for a rotation spot. That could allow Tazawa time to get more seasoning.

The Rangers, according to reports, were believed to have offered Tazawa slightly more money than the Red Sox.

However, the presence of Matsuzaka might have paid big dividends for the Red Sox. Tazawa went to a different high school than Matsuzaka, but in the same city (Yokohama) where Dice-K built his legend.

Like many young pitchers in Japan, Tazawa is said to view Matsuzaka in high esteem.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:14 pm

Figures
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PostSubject: Re: Japanese talent no longer on radar for Tigers   Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:17 pm

He was gonna be a Red Sock all along. Dice-K is his HERO!!
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