Barrett arrives(ed) to bolster Swallows' bullpen

New Swallow Ricky Barrett (left)

New Swallow Ricky Barrett (left)

Firstly, I’d like to wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and New Year wherever you may be from all of us at Tsubamegun!

Next,  a bit of news from December that we haven’t got round to mentioning yet is the acquisition of Minnesota Twins lefty Ricky Barrett.

The 27 year old, who pitched 50 games of triple-A ball to the tune of a 3.21 ERA in 2008, signed a one year deal with Yakult, with the team having an option on a second year.

Ricky will bring his 150kph fastball to help out Tokyo’s bullpen, and will hopefully join the Oshimoto/Igarashi/Matsuoka/Lim team of quality relievers so that we have a 5th dependable arm to rely on.

Barrett will take the No.18 jersey last worn by Shugo Fuji.  Welcome to the team Ricky.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • So, it looks like the Swallows are set to go with Lim, Guiel, D’Antona, and Barrett as its imports (did I miss anyone?). Not sure if using up 2 import spots on relievers is the best strategy in terms of team building.. let’s hope he also successfully adapts to NPB!

  • There’s Lee, too. Three new foreign acquisitions – I’m wondering what the strategy is. Has there been a rule change I haven’t heard about? Seems like a less than effective way to allocate apparently precious financial resources.

  • Well, 4 imports are allowed on 1-gun at a time, so and with Guiel’s health and the new imports adjustment issues, I guess having 5 imports is a minimum safe measure.

  • Could be. Because of the limit, I favor going for a foreigner only if he’s clearly better than any Japanese player the team could have gotten at that position. That way, a team isn’t forced to send a producing player down to 2-gun in order to bring up a different player, a la Sikorski.

    The quandary now is what to do if Guiel is healthy, D’Antona adjusts well, and other players don’t lose their touch. With Guiel in, either Fukuchi or Iihara (probably Iihara) is going to be sitting down and both are productive, solid players. If D’Antona settles in at first, Hatakeyama’s big chance is put on hold again. The Swallows are still stuck without a catcher competent on both offense and defense – easily the most glaring weakness in the lineup.

  • All five suketto performing well sounds like the right kind of problem to have. The news has been that Ryoji Aikawa is on his way to Yakult if he doesn’t get an MLB offer, and the only team that is interested in him is Baltimore, and their interest is contingent on adding a Japanese starter (Uehara or Kawakami).

  • Aikawa would be the most exciting acquisition of all.

  • Rob

    I’m on the fence about Aikawa. Leaning toward upbeat, but not convinced.
    Catcher is probably TYS’ biggest weakness (insert Takada joke here), and most anything would be an improvement, but I don’t want to spend big FA bucks for .255 and 7 HR. They can’t get that out of the guys they already have? On the other hand, if they could fix that, or at least make it less of a weakness, they could move on to fix something else, and that would be good. Plus, making a CL rival weaker is never a bad thing.

  • Rob

    On yet another hand, maybe that’s what TYS was thinking last year – “just plug somebody in at catcher, and surely they’ll hit at least .250”.
    The Dragons have crawled along with Tanishige consistently hitting .234 for the last three or four years, with less power each year. He’s gotten by with that because he’s thrown runners out and called games well, but last year he couldn’t throw anybody out, leaving his control of the pitching staff his only contribution.

  • You hit the nail on the head in that last comment, Rob. Fukukawa was not bad behind the plate – certainly the best of the Swallows’ lackluster bunch, but hitting .250 for him seemed about as likely as Aoki batting .400. This is sad, as he showed a bit more power than Aikawa. Trouble is, he was in a slump for almost the entire season. Tokyo has neither the bats nor the pitching to make up for 2 guys in the batting order hitting like pitchers.