A Christmas Day catchup of what’s going on with Japanese baseball:
- One long reign continued while another came to an end at the 49th Mitsui Golden Glove Awards. Ryosuke Kikuchi, the Hiroshima Carp’s dynamic second baseman, led all players with 283 votes and won the Mitsui Golden Glove in the Central League for the eighth straight year. SoftBank third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda had also been aiming for an eighth straight Golden Glove at the hot corner in the PL, but alas, it was not to be, writes Jason Coskrey.
- Former Yomiuri Giants great Warren Cromartie won’t be returning to the team as an adviser for the 2021 season, reports Coskrey. “From my first time, over 26 years ago in 1984 as a player under my mentor and sensei Sadaharu Oh-kantoku and Hara-kantoku for the chance this past year to live out a second life with the Giants as an adviser, I have to say it was a true privilege and honor to work again with the greatest baseball team in Japan,” Cromartie said.
- After a tumultuous year sans baseball, powerful outfielder Oscar Colas said he is now ready to sign with an MLB club thanks in part to the lessons he learned in Japan, he tells Kyodo. Colas refused to play this past season for the Hawks, who put him on the restricted list, preventing him from signing anywhere else. On Dec. 2, the Hawks declined to offer him a new contract, making him a free agent.
- Fukuoka Softbank Hawks outfielder Yuki Yanagita, who won his second Pacific League MVP award last week, signed a contract worth ¥610 million ($5.9 million) plus incentives for next season on Wednesday. The deal, a ¥40 million increase from his last salary, equals Hideki Matsui’s salary with the Yomiuri Giants in 2002 as the highest reported among Japanese position players in NPB.
- Other notable moves: The DeNA BayStars have acquired former Minnesota Twins right-hander Fernando Romero on a one-year deal worth a reported ¥75 million ($724,000), with a team option for a second year. Meanwhile, former MLB outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is returning to the Chunichi Dragons — his first pro team, which he joined in 1999 — after seven years with the Hanshin Tigers.