Cody Ransom Sighting
One of my favorite players Cody Ransom will be slugging it out in Japan next season. He just signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions for $900,000.
It will be interesting to see what kind of year Ransom has next season at age 38. Two things seem relatively certain: he’ll strike out a whole lot and he’ll hit for power if he gets the playing time.
As I see it, the best case scenario for Ransom and the Lions is a season much like Andruw Jones‘ 2013 season at age 36 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Jones batted only .243 and struck out 164 times in 478 at-bats, but he also blasted 26 home runs and walked or was hit by pitch a whopping 120 times.
On the subject of this kind of player, the Softbank Hawks are deciding whether to bring Brian LaHair back for another season or release him and eat the remaining 180 million yen ($1.72 million). Just as he did for the Cubs in 2012, LaHair got off to a hot start in Japan last season, but then his numbers fell down, down, down as NPB teams learned that he can’t hit left-handed pitching to save his life.
LaHair finished the 2013 season with a .230 batting average and 121 strikeouts in 348 at-bats. However, he also accrued 16 HRs, 36 extra base hits and 39 walks, so his season wasn’t a total failure.
If it was up to me, I’d bring LaHair back for one more season and just make sure he rides the pine against left-handed pitchers. He’ll probably hit better against NPB righties now that he has a year of experience under his belt, and 180 million yen is a lot of money for an NPB team swallow, although the Hawks are one of the few teams that could afford to do so.
As a general rule, Japanese teams give up on foreign players much to too quickly, so I’m always rooting for foreign players to get more time to show they can make the adjustments to be successful there.