SS Takashi Toritani to Remain in Japan
Word came down yesterday that Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani has ultimately decided to re-sign with his old team, the Hanshin Tigers. Early reports suggest he signed a four or five year deal for around 2 billion (roughly $16.7 million), which sounds about right about what I would have predicted he’d get from an NPB team. In fact, it’s the same reported total Chihiro Kaneko signed for earlier this off-season.
Given his age and the lack of recent success by Japanese position players in MLB, I’m not surprised Toritani’s biggest contract offer came from the Hanshin Tigers. He’s simply worth more to an NPB team, where his star power is proven, than it is to an MLB team which has no way of knowing if Toritani could make the transition and be an everyday player in MLB.
It’s a little disappointing that no relatively high profile NPB players will be coming to MLB in 2015. However, I feel fairly certain we’ll see the Hiroshima Carp post RHP Kenta Maeda next off-season, at least so long as he remains healthy and has a 2015 season comparable to his performances over the last five seasons.