There were rumblings back on December 27th in the Japanese press, just after the team went public with their successful acquisition of outfielder Lastings Milledge, that Tokyo was in the market for a starting pitcher import.
RHP Orlando Roman, a veteran of the minor leagues in North America, Mexico and the pro league in Taiwan, could be appearing in a Tokyo Swallows uniform in 2012. He spent four seasons at AAA (two of which were in Mexico), mostly as a reliever, and amassed 50 saves and a 2.57 ERA.
The 6’2″ hard-throwing pitcher has spent the last two seasons pitching for the Brother Elephants in Taiwan and was the strikeout leader in 2010.
He was used primarily as a starter in Taiwan and showed that he can log a lot of innings. He had 161 strikeouts in 203.2 innings this past season, and his ERA for 2010-11 is 3.20. He also pitched for Puerto Rico in the 2006 WBC.
So it’s possible that Tokyo just picked up a 33-year-old pitcher who can start or come out of the bullpen. However, we are still waiting for more confirmation from the Japanese press.
If it turns out that he’ll be joining the Swallows in 2012, then the team now has five non-Japanese players that are vying for the four top team roster spots. Closer Chang-yong Lim, set-up man Tony Barnette, and outfielders Wladimir Balentien and Lastings Milledge are the other four players that Roman might be competing with.