NPB 22

I know some folks on here follow baseball in Japan. I have a rooting interest this year and am looking for a good daily resource to news. My cousin’s son signed with Hanshin Tigers. He was a free agent relief pitcher and with the labor situation, he decided to go sign where he knew he would have a paycheck. Due to the Covid spike, he just arrived in Japan two days ago and the season starts on the 25th so he will have a shortened spring.

Any suggestions for good NPB english news sources?

The NBP has an English version of their league page.

There was a really great website for getting news in english on the NPB called Yakyu DB. Unfortunately it went dead several years ago. I haven’t really found a good replacement for it since then.

Judge ain’t the only guy with a shot at a triple crown.

Yakult 3B Munetaka Murakami is hitting .341/.475/.761 with 52 homers and 127 RBIs. Those homers ties the record for most hit in a season by a non-foreign player.

And he’s only 22. And he’s already won an MVP title as a 21 year old last year and has 156 home runs over his first 533 games. Ohtani by contrast had just 48 in 414 games before jumping ship to MLB.

Hey, I saw him play in Tokyo in ‘19! The Swallows got 2-hit that night, really a terrible performance, but from the box score it looks like Murakami drew the team’s only walk. Not that I remember it—I was mostly there to see 2017 legend Nori Aoki.

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Angels poised to sign him.

45 year old former Cubbie OF Kosuke Fukudome was still active this year in Japan. Has played 24 straight seasons either in NPB or MLB.

Is this a snarky comment or is it legit?

Murakami hit his 54th and 55th homers on Tuesday. He has 17 games remaining in the season.

While I’m sure geezerdonk’s comment was snark, I’ll clarify his status. He’s never publicly indicated a desire to play in MLB. And even when he does the Swallows would then have to agree to post him. So as of right now any speculation about a move stateside is premature.

BTW, ex-Astro Cy Sneed is Murakami’s teammate with Yakult.

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Don’t the new rules for signing international players prevent big paydays for established stars like him to come over (at least compared to what they can make if they stay)? If so, that’s really dumb.

That rule has now been in place since (I believe) 2017. Is it dumb and shortsighted? Absolutely, but MLB is all about labor cost suppression so here we are. It should be noted that despite the restriction Ohtani decided to come anyway.

So the rule for avoiding bonus size restrictions is that the player must be age 25 or older and have spent all or part of 6 years in a foreign league. Murakami has met the latter but doesn’t turn 25 until February of 2025. So 2025 would be the earliest he could come. Unless he wants to do an Ohtani and is willing to accept a paltry few million bucks for signing. And again even in that case the Swallows would still have to agree to post him.

Context matters here when considering how NPB players might view a (relatively) low initial salary prior to their 25th year. The NPB average salary is $330K (vs $4.41M for MLB players) and the Top 10 highest payed players in the league make between $4.2M and $8.2M per year. And, the salary trajectory over there is a slow upward trend, well managed by the league. Murakami is #91 on the highest paid players list over there, which equates to $920K. A paltry few mil would be a massive raise, especially with the potential for much more later. Assuming the Swallows would indeed post him.

Your analysis basically only considers the short term effect (i.e. 2023 and 2024).

But the impact for him would actually last thru 2028. If he came over next year, he’s making a minimal salary in years 2023, 2024 and 2025 and a below market arb salary in 2026, 2027 and 2028.

However if he waits to come over in 2025 then he’s likely making at least $20MM* annually in 2025-2028. There is zero question of him being far better off economically waiting for 2 years.

*Seiya Suzuki signed with the Cubs for $18MM annually at an older age than Murakami would be in 2025

(btw thanks for linking to that list of NPB salaries. that was interesting though I’m curious to see what 2022 looks like)

Thanks for the context to the context. I didn’t know international free agents had to follow the same service time requirements. That’s stupid.

“Welcome to the company, Mr. CEO. After you’ve accrued 26 weeks on the job, you can take your first of two weeks of vacation…”