I received this e-mail a few minutes ago:
to have gotten the negotiating rights to Seibu Lions ace setup man
Shinji Mori for between $400-500,000. Mori has a fastball that is
between 91-94mph with a devastating splitter and an average slider.
Between 2000-2003, the righthander was perhaps the premier setup
man in all of Japanese baseball, However, the last two seasons have seen
his ERA inflate substantially even if his 2005 left/right splits and
opponent batting average against were excellent. You can view his
Japanese stats at:
At best, Mori is a kind of downmarket Kazuhiro Sasaki. At worst, he
will go through periods where his command takes a vacation and he gets
After the 2003 season, Mori asked to be posted to MLB, but the
Lions front office refused that request and an acrimonious back and
forth dialog ensued, leading some to speculate that he may have
deliberately tanked it for a while in 2004, though it didn't keep the
Lions from winning the Japan Series. Mori then asked to be posted again
at the end of 2004 and was rebuffed again. Last season, Seibu's bullpen
was awful as Seibu barley finished third, so that they would suddenly
unload one of their prime pitching assets surprised the hell out of the
press and the team's fans. One has to think that they just got tired of
Mori, who was coming up to his free agency at the end of 2006, and
decided to see if they could get some cash for him.
The Yankees were also whispered to be interested, but it is unclear
if they made an offer. More details about the results of the bidding
should be made clear in the next couple of days.
Not sure if it is true or not, but if it is then we've got a pretty capable pitcher on our hands.
I checked out his stats (which can be found here, but you need to search his name to find him), and his totals are impressive. Over 9 seasons, he has pitched 653 innings and struck out 755 batters. A k/9 of 10.4. His career ERA is 3.39, but the last two years he could have purposely tanked. Those two seasons were 4.59 and 4.22 in a combined 98 innings. So to have such a low career ERA says something about the previous seven seasons.