Will foreigners finish 10.9 billion won, the highest salary in Japanese baseball be used again, or the “big hand” soft bank offers 4 years and 43.6 billion won
The ‘big boys’ SoftBank Hawks, looking to win their first championship in four years, are going big again this year.
Mexican-born closer Roberto Osuna, 28, is set to rewrite Nippon Professional Baseball history. Reports have emerged that SoftBank has agreed to re-sign Osuna to a four-year, 5 billion yen contract. A week ago, there was talk of four years and ¥4 billion, but the price went up by ¥1 billion. The average annual salary of 1.25 billion yen (about $10.9 billion) is the highest ever.굿모닝토토
Until now, 900 million yen was the highest salary. Rakuten Eagles Masahiro Tanaka, 35, returned from the New York Yankees to earn 900 million yen for the second consecutive year in 2021-2022. After failing to perform as expected, Tanaka re-signed for 475 million yen, a pay cut of nearly half.
The highest paid Japanese player this year was “super ace” Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25, Orix) at 650 million yen. He signed for ¥650 million, up ¥280 million, after winning four pitching awards for the second straight year and leading his team to the Japan Series title last year.
SoftBank slugger Yuki Yanagita, 35, followed at 620 million yen. “Monster hitter” Munetaka Murakami (23, Yakult), who became the youngest player to win three batting titles last year, signed for 600 million yen, up 380 million yen, to tie for third place with multi-year contract holder Hayato Sakamoto (35, Yomiuri).
Trevor Bauer, 32, the reigning Major League Baseball Cy Young Award winner, pitched for the Yokohama BayStars for $4 million including incentives.
Bauer earned $4 million this season. Photo credit: Yokohama BayStars SNS
Osuna, who made his major league debut with Toronto in 2015, recorded 38 saves in 66 games for Houston in 2019. He won the American League saves title that year. By 2020, he had accumulated 155 saves in the majors.
He then moved on to the Mexican League before joining the Chiba Lotte Marines in June 2022. 90 million yen per year. In 29 games, he had a 4-1 record, 9 holds, 10 saves, and a 0.91 ERA. He lived up to his reputation as a dominant performer.
Last winter, SoftBank made a move. They paid 650 million yen for Osuna. His original team, Chiba Lotte, tried to keep him, but couldn’t beat SoftBank in a money fight. Osuna continued his winning ways this year with a 12-hit, 26-save record and a 0.92 ERA.
He is the only reliever in either league with a sub-zero ERA this season. According to Japanese media, there has also been interest from major league clubs.
SoftBank signed outfielder Gensuke Gondo, 30, to a seven-year, 5 billion yen deal after he became a free agent with the Nippon Ham Fighters late last year.Five Pacific League teams were in the running to sign Gondo, but SoftBank outbid them with money. Gondo was second in hitting (3-for-3), tied for first in home runs (26) and first in RBIs (87) this season. Expectations were met.
Despite the aggressive investment, SoftBank finished third this season and was eliminated from the First Stage in the Climax Series. They lost the final game and finished second to Chiba Lotte. In 2022, they lost the final game of the pennant race to win the league title.
For the third straight year, the perennial champions failed to advance to the Japan Series. Head coach Hiroshi Fujimoto (60) stepped down in October and second-year manager Hiroki Kokubo (51) took over.