Monday Bullets is a feature in which Tsubamegun writers (mostly Kozo) gather random news, thoughts, images, movies, etc. during the week and publish them for off day consumption.
Due to a couple of Monday games and overall busyness this column took a bit of a break. But the end of season is always filled with roster moves and news that we haven’t covered in our game reports. This final 2014 Monday Bullets will try to cover all the off-the-field action from the end of the season.
- The Swallows announced 10 cuts at the beginning of the month. The following players were let go.
- INF Akinori Iwamura (35) – Not surprising given his numbers. Not sure if anyone else will give him a chance. The team no longer has an active connection to its championships amongst its players.
- INF Yoshiyuki Noguchi (33) – Slightly surprised to see Noguchi let go since the team gave him playing time in garbage time in September. Noguchi was the longest continuously serving drafted Swallow player prior to his release. That title now goes to Hatakeyama who was drafted in the 2000 draft. Yuichi is the longest continuously serving Swallow having been signed in 1999.
- C Genki Nitta (32) – Nitta aged out as Nishida took his spot as backup-backup catcher.
- P Takehiko Oshimoto (31) – Was very surprised to see Oshimoto get cut as he’s only two seasons removed from pitching very well.
- P Kenta Abe (30) – Abe never got it going for the Swallows.
- P Hiroki Sanada (30) – A failed offseason signing.
- P Hitoshi Yamamoto (25) – Injuries cut short Yamamoto’s career.
- INF Tomoya Matano (21) – Matano was drafted in 2010 alongside his high school teammate Nishida. Matano got cut without ever playing on the top team.
- Ikusei P Yuji Nakane (25) – Nakane had to get cut as an ikusei player. However, the team has announced their intention to re-sign Nakane to an ikusei contract once the window opens in November to allow him to continue his rehab.
- Ikusei OF Takanori Sato (21) – As a four-year ikusei player Yoshinori’s younger brother cannot re-sign to another ikusei contract with the Swallows. I am of the opinion that Sato showed enough offensive flash to deserve a regular contract.
- Wladimir Balentien’s left Achilles surgery was performed successfully, and Coco will begin rehab in earnest. Hopefully he’ll be ready for the beginning of the season.
- Lastings Milledge will play winter ball in Venezuela.
- The big news from the last few weeks was the announcement of Mitsuru Manaka as the new top team manager. Manaka has been part of the organization since 1992 when he was drafted out of Nihon University. After his retirement in 2008, he immediately took a position as a ni-gun coach. He served as the ni-gun manager from 2011 to 2013, and last season he sat on the top team bench as a chief offensive coach. In 2007, Manaka set the Japan record for pinch hit appearances (98) and pinch hits (31) in a single season.
- Accompanying Manaka’s promotion brought a few other coaching changes. The team announced that head coach Shinichi Sato, infield and base-running coach Noriyuki Shiroishi, and battery coach Kosei Ono would not have their contracts renewed and will not return next season. Katsunori Nomura, Ryuji Miyade, and Hajime Miki have been mentioned as possible promotion candidates from ni-gun.
- The following Swallows lead the league the following categories.
- Tetsuto Yamada – Plate appearances (685), at bats (596), hits (193) which set a season record for Japanese right-handers, doubles (39), total bases (321), and runs (106).
- Wladimir Balentien – OBP (.41928) beat the Carp’s Kikuchi by .00003, and SLG% (.587).
- Masanori Ishikawa – Home runs allowed (20), runs allowed (97), and earned runs allowed (87).
- Chris Narveson – Balks (3).
- The draft is scheduled to take place on October 23. We’ll try to post a profile on the players attached to the Swallows before and we’ll write up the actual chosen players soon after.
- As Dave mentioned in the final game writeup, we will also be recording a final 2014 wrap up podcast. If there’s anything you’d like us to discuss, questions you’d like to have answered, or phrases you’d like us to say so you can make them into a ringtone, leave a comment here.
In behalf of Chris, Dave, Garrett, and myself, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us this year. See you all next year!!!
- I leave you all with this image of Hatakeyama.