Winter News Roundup

Well, the festive season is over and the 2010 baseball season can be spotted lurking on the horizon, just waiting to take over our lives again. Here’s a round up of what’s been going on in SwallowsLand so far this offseason that hasn’t been covered elsewhere on the site:

  • The Swallows made only their second ever free agency signing (the first being catcher Aikawa), bringing over Atsushi Fujimoto over from Hanshin. Seriously underwhelming news there then. Another light-hitting infielder to go with the collection we already have, but hey, an extra body is welcome I guess. Welcome to Tokyo Atsushi. He will, perhaps fittingly, wear now-retired Tsubamegun hero Shiroishi’s number 10.
  • Aaron Guiel was rewarded for his solid 2009 season (.267 avg, 27HR, 80RBI) with a two year contract worth 90 million yen in the first year with incentives. The popular Canadian could earn up to 270 million over the course of his contract. Good business by the Swallows there, and I will be glad to see Aaron back in Tokyo colours in 2010. Incidentally, Guiel has apparently expressed a desire to end his career with the birds. So maybe from this year you’ll actually be able to buy some merchandise with his name on it. No, scratch that, stupid idea.
  • No news on the re-signing of infielder Jamie D’Antona, despite noises from the organization that they wanted him back for 2010 and from the man himself indicating he would like to return. Though given Jamie’s treatment at the hands of our esteemed manager at the tail end of last season, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see Jamie back in a Swallows uniform this season. Let’s hope that’s not the case as, my lord, we need him.
  • Apparently the Swallows are looking to change Norichika Aoki’s uniform number from the 23 he’s used in his career so far, to the number 1. The same number worn by such past greats as Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Takahiro Ikeyama and erm, Akinori Iwamura. They are looking for him to become the face of the organization (as if he wasn’t already), but was a number change really necessary?
  • Salary negotiations are now pretty much done. Expect something on that to hit Tsubamegun in the near future (here are last year‘s).
  • Generally not very good pitcher Yuhei Takai is currently trying to convert to an outfielder by swinging the bat hundreds of thousands of times during this offseason. He’ll be using an Ichiro model glove and a Aoki model bat. Hopefully some of the branding will rub off on the lad and he’ll make the grade. Good luck to him.
  • Former Tokyo bullpen ace Ryota Igarashi who left the Swallows this offseason to take a shot at the MLB, has signed with the New York Mets. Being somewhat of a Mets fan myself this is indeed good news, but we here at Tsubamegun Towers are putting money down on when we’ll see the headline “IGARASHIT” after Ryota’s first meltdown.

That’s about it for the moment. Expect activity to increase on the site as we approach the pre-season, and please bear with us as we try to get things in order post-site re-jig.

Oh, and a belated Happy New Year to you all out there.

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