Yu Darvish

Some notable numbers from Japan: Pacific League stats

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Now a look through the Pacific League stats. It’s all about the pitching there right now: in a six-team league, there are 12 starters with sub-2.00 ERAs.

Here was the Central League rundown, if you missed it.

First the bats:

Aarom Baldiris: .231/.329/.331, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB in 121 AB
Dee Brown: .161/.188/.194, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB in 31 AB
Alex Cabrera: .184/.247/.320, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 147 AB
Jose Fernandez: .239/.274/.394, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 155 AB
Mike Hessman: .210/.264/.395, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB in 81 AB
Micah Hoffpauir: .240/.306/.463, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB in 121 AB
Tadahito Iguchi: .351/.465/.520, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 0 SB in 148 AB
Akinori Iwamura: .165/.226/.195, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB in 77 AB
Kaz Matsui: .238/.286/.348, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB in 164 AB
Jose Ortiz: .234/.308/.447, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB in 47 AB
Randy Ruiz: .155/.183/.293, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB in 58 AB
So Taguchi: .364/.462/.439, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB in 66 AB

– Cabrera, Japan’s top power hitter over the last 10 years, appears to be fading at age 39.  The current Pacific League home run leader is Takeya Nakamura with 13.

– Former Royals prospect Dee Brown put together a respectable first year in Japan in 2010, hitting .241/.319/.436 with 21 homers and 76 RBI.  However, he’s going to need to bounce back in a big way if he expects the Seibu Lions to bring him back in 2012.

– Taguchi is having an exceptional year as a part-timer even though he’s less than four weeks away from turning 42.

Pitching:

Yu Darvish: 8-1, 1.42 ERA, 83/10 K/BB in 76 IP
Alfredo Figaro: 5-2, 1.73 ERA, 40/16 K/BB in 52 IP
Alex Graman: 1-0, 1 Sv, 3.65 ERA, 6/9 K/BB in 12.1 IP
D.J. Houlton: 6-2, 2.10 ERA, 41/7 K/BB in 55.2 IP
Kazuhisa Ishii: 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 25/5 K/BB in 25 IP
Hisashi Iwakuma: 3-2, 1.72 ERA, 418 K/BB in 47 IP
Bob Keppel: 5-1, 2.47 ERA, 17/17 K/BB in 51 IP
Bill Murphy: 2-1, 3.31 ERA, 12/12 K/BB in 32.2 IP
Chan Ho Park: 1-5, 4.29 ERA, 21/12 K/BB in 42 IP
Hayden Penn: 1-0, 1.11 ERA, 3/2 K/BB in 8 IP
Darrell Rasner: 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 17/12 K/BB in 22.2 IP
Carlos Rosa: 0-3, 2.66 ERA, 17/3 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP
Romulo Sanchez: 0-2, 4.73 ERA, 18/7 K/BB in 13.1 IP
Ryan Speier: 1-1, 6 Sv, 2.40 ERA, 17/2 K/BB in 15 IP
Brian Wolfe: 6-1, 2.44 ERA, 26/12 K/BB in 48 IP

– Darvish is third in the league with his 1.42 ERA.  His last three starts have all been shutouts, tying a record in Japan.  There hasn’t been much chatter of late about him coming over to the U.S. in 2012, but that may pick up again as the year goes on. Still years away from free agency, he’d have to be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

– Iwakuma was won by the A’s through the posting system last winter, then returned to Japan after failing to work out a contract.  He’ll be a free agent this winter, allowing him to negotiate with every team, and expectations are that he will make the jump to MLB.

– As Aaron mentioned last week, Park was recently sent to the minors by the Buffaloes.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.