Two weeks ago, I asked you to suggest players who could do well in Japan, and you exceeded my expectations by coming up with 37 names. Here they are, with a few notes thrown in by me.
Guys I Also Picked
Obviously these are excellent selections.
Guys Who Have Been There
Of these three, only Johnson was remotely successful in his first go-round in Japan. Jones and Restovich never got a sustained chance at the top level.
In my estimation, all these guys have been decent at the MLB level recently enough to warrant MLB opportunities, even the sub-replacement Melk Man.
Injury Question Marks
McPherson was at the top of my NPB list for a long time, but he’s just too injured at this point. Foreign players are usually short-term investments for NPB teams, and as such they avoid guys with injury histories.
The days of established MLB players moving to Japan for one last paycheck (a la Jesse Barfield in the early 90′s) are for the most part over. As such I don’t see these guys in Japan, but D-Train would be fun.
The Lost One
I would love to see Dukes turn things around and become a Josh Hamilton-type story, but Japan is not the place for him to do that.
Nice call by commenter Michael, who picked Hoffpauir, as Nippon Ham is reportedly going after him already. Bowker and Duncan are good picks too, though I think Pittsburgh will give Bowker a chance after trading for him.
I must plead ignorance on these two guys. I didn’t mention Kevin Frandsen, but he was on my list last year.
I would guess that Buckner is the most likely of this group to wind up in Japan.
I gave you my list last week. As the offseason progresses, we’ll see which of these guys makes the journey across the Pacific.