brandnew wrote:Still only 29, I wonder if we can expect a poor-man's version of Hideki? I don't know how bad/good the pitching is in Japan, but his numbers are good none the less. Can anyone who knows japanese baseball chime in on this one?
i don't know much, but he's a pretty big star in Japan and defenitly a house-hold name... his team (Softbank Hawks) has been fighting for a long time to keep him in Japan this year.. his defense is top notch, and having Ichiro around won't hurt either.... its going to be interesting to see how he handles a pitching staff without knowing English well, but its possible the games could be called from the dugout... i don't see a team like Seattle cutting his playing time unless something seriously goes wrong... his numbers in Japan have been consistently good, with a spike in the last 3 years.. i think he can hit .290's, maybe 15 or so hr's in his first year... but theres potential for more, he could be a real nice Avg hitter. if the Mariners seal the deal, it could flock alot of Japanese attention towards Seattle with the pairing of Ichiro/Jojima .. it kinda feels like the M's and Yanks are in a longtime war for japanese fanbase
I would be be very wary about taking this guy this year for a few reasons:
1) History demonstrates that overall Japanese offensive players do not translate well to MLB. Only Ichiro has performed above expectation. Even Matsui is performing at best in line with expectations, he is not exceeding them.
2) I think it will be far more difficult for a C to adjust to the grind of the MLB schedule, which is a about a month longer than Japan's. Even Ichiro was breaking down in September for his first few seasons. Then there is the issue of handling the pitching staff. If he fails or underperforms at this task, which should be a challenge given the cultural and communication barrier, he will not get PT unless he hits like Mike Piazza in his prime.
3) The upside of Jojima is not so high, even if we go with high expectations such as .290/15 (I would personally say that .280/12 is more reasonable). So why take on the downside risk when there are guys performing in that range who are "safer" and may bring better value?
Stumpak, no C is going to hit like Piazza. KJ will play. They didn't spend 16.5 mil for him not too. I expect 140 games. I don't think the language will be a big issue. Sasaki and Nomo did great here. You read 1 finger, 2 fingers. Jojima can do that. Plus he's got Ichiro to bridge the gap.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 551)
Joined: 12 Jan 2003
Bases this season: 4,236
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: Pearl Jam country, right next door to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains.