January 06, 2005

Sayonara: Batista to Japan

Bonsai! In a winter of overspending, Tony Batista to Japan is the big sashimi.

Batista has accepted a two-year, $15 million offer to play for the Fukuoka Hawks of Japan's Central League for the 2005-2006 seasons, including a $5 million signing bonus. The Hawks, owned by SoftBank Corp., an Internet company, apparently liked his home runs (32 last season), and the way he holds the bat like a samurai sword.

No team in their right mind was going to offer Batista a deal for that amount of money. Batista's 2004 VORP ranked 18th ... in the National League ... among third basemen. His batting win shares were 8.6 ... that's the same as Phillies OF Jason Michaels, and 12th among NL third basemen.

The former Oakland, Arizona, Toronto, Baltimore and Montreal slugger was courted most heavily by Tampa Bay (surprise), Houston and Detroit, but realistically, he should have packed up and bought a condo in Japan years ago. Japanese teams have a history of spending big on marginal MLB talent, including Bosox sub Gabe Kapler, who signed earlier this fall to a one-year, $2 million contract.

So, sayonara Tony, and see you in the Baseball America foreign box scores.

First basemen for sale
Since I'm in the transaction spirit, the Transaction Guy gives a report of, I think, two puzzling moves in baseball today: Mets C Vance Wilson goes to Detroit for SS prospect Anderson Hernandez; and Tampa Bay signs SS Alex Gonzalez to a one-year, $1.75 million contract, plus incentives.

T-Guy also mentions a couple first basemen still for grabs, including an old favorite. They are:

Robin Ventura
Tony Clark
John Olerud
Robert Fick
Brad Fullmer
and old favorite, Travis Lee

Put any of these guys in a Braves uniform, and Bobby Cox could milk some good miles out of them, like Fick a few years back.

Put them on the Devil Rays, and you get ... Robert Fick on the Devil Rays last season.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger will travel said...

I think Tony will do quite well in Japan. I can hear the fans now screaming, TONY! TONY! TONY!..the way they scream BENNY! BENNY BENNY! for Benny Agbayani. For the lastest news check out Bob Bavasi's japanball.com site

At 10:41 AM, Blogger el123chico said...

everybody was kung fu fighting...

maybe i should go to japan to play baseball.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I realize this is off-topic and not related to the Phils whatsoever, but I am interested to hear how you feel about this:



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