On Sunday the Swallows and Hawks announced a four player trade which will send INF Keizo Kawashima and LHF Ryo Hidaka to the Hawks and RHP Nagisa Arakaki and RHP Hiroshi Yamanaka to the Swallows. The deal was made official today as both teams introduced their new players in press conferences. Kawashima, who was on the Swallows’ active roster at the time of the announcement, was deactivated prior to last night’s game. A summary of all the players involved in the trade are provided below.
Nagisa Arakaki was drafted in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Hawks out of Kyushu Kyoritsu University. Arakai made the rotation from his rookie year and was a staple in the Hawks rotation until 2008. He lead the PL in innings pitched, batters faced, strikeouts, walks and wild pitches in his sophomore year. After a strong career start, Arakai started to decline in 2007 when he set an NPB record with 25 wild pitches. Arakaki has lead the PL in wild pitches four separate seasons. Arakaki did not pitch for the top team in 2010 and 2011 before he rebounded for a mediocre 15 start stint in 2012. Last season Arakaki made five spot starts and has not pitched for the Hawks this season. While the young Arakaki threw a wicked fastball (155 km/h) from a tall frame and got strikeouts with his sweeping slider, the Arakaki the Swallows will be getting a pitcher that throws a tame 144 km/h fastball and pitches more for contact. The Hawks clearly didn’t have room for Arakaki in their stacked free agent rich rotation, but the Swallows will no doubt give Arakaki some chances to throw. Arakaki has pitched for the Hawks’ Western League team and has recorded decent numbers. (10 G, 12.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 13 K, 1 WP, 4 R, 4 ER)
Nagisa Arakaki's Career Stats
Hiroshi Yamanaka was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Honda Kumamoto of the Japanese industrial leagues. After wowing Hawks fans with a killer pre-season in 2013, Yamanaka failed to bring that performance into the regular season and he pitched 29.1 total innings in 17 total appearances that included 2 starts. Yamanaka is a submariner, like the Lions’ Kazuhisa Makita, and throws a fastball in the 120 km/h range, a slow curve in the 80’s, and a sinker in the 110’s. As with all submariners Yamanaka lives and dies with his control. Yamanaka has made one relief appearance with the Hawks, but leads the Hawks’ farm team in innings pitched this season.
Hiroshi Yamanaka's Career Stats
Keizo Kawshima was brought over from the Fighters in 2008 as one of Shigeru Takada’s first acts as GM of the Swallows. Kawashima made an immediate impact and was the team’s regular shortstop for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. However, Keizo had to undergo surgery late in the 2009 season and missed the team’s Climax Series run. Since then he’s been cursed by injury with numerous comebacks being thwarted by a new injury. While Keizo can still get it done with the glove, his hitting has never returned to his 2009 form. The development and presence of players like Morioka, Imanami, Yachi, and Nishiura make Kawashima expendable in the Swallows’ organizational depth chart.
Keizo Kawashima's Career Stats
Ryo Hidaka also joined the Swallows in 2008 when he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft out of Nippon Bunri University High School. Hidaka made his Swallows debut in April 2011 but lasted a total of 0.2 innings in two appearances and spent most of the season at the farm. Hidaka was recalled in early September and made 14 appearances to finish out the season and showed promise. Hidaka started 2012 on the top team and pitched in 66 games and was a solid middle left-handed middle reliever. Hidaka’s season was cut short in 2013 after he came down with an injury after just two appearances with the top team. Hidaka made one appearance earlier this season in which he gave up 2 runs in 0.2 innings and has been pitching at the farm.
Ryo Hidaka's Career Stats
The deal essentially swaps two veterans on the decline (Keizo and Arakaki) for some players with upside (Hidaka and Yamanaka). As a 24 year-old lefty with one solid season under his belt, Hidaka is probably the player with the greatest upside among the four, but with the team sourly lacking starters the Swallows probably got the better of this trade in the near term. For the Hawks, who have the luxury of signing premium free agents during the offseason, the potential lost talent is probably not a big concern. Both Kawashima (Nagasaki) and Hidaka (Oita) hail from Kyushu and might find the change of scenery refreshing. Hopefully the same can be said for Arakaki and Yamanaka.
A special shoutout to Andy G, friend of Tsubamegun, for providing insight into the (now former) Hawks players.