Japanese right-hander Chihiro Kaneko might have been one of the top starters on the open market this winter had he been posted by the Orix Buffaloes, his Nippon Professional Baseball team. But the 31-year-old just re-signed with the Buffaloes for four years and around $16.6 million, according to the Japan Times.
Kaneko had an exceptional 1.98 ERA and 199/42 K/BB ratio in 191 innings this past season for Orix and probably would have commanded a big-time MLB contract (worth much more than $16.6 million over four years). But he wasn’t an unrestricted free agent and the Buffaloes did not want to part with him.
Kaneko attended some World Series games in October to get a taste of Major League Baseball.
He told the Japan Times that becoming an MLB pitcher is something he would like to do “at some point.”