Hi all, I should have my draft preview podcast ready very soon. Will be editing a little bit now. I recorded it yesterday and unfortunately it's already a little out of date (curse you Carpies!).
In the meantime some interesting developments have taken place with regards to the team. Firstly, Ariel Martinez has left the team and is now a free agent. He performed well this year hitting a .276/.350/.435 slash with 8 homeruns in 82 games this year. It seems...strange to jettison a player that actually did quite well but perhaps there were some things in the background. It sounds like firstly, Martinez reluctantly left the catching position this year to make some kind of team contribution. His inability to play as a catcher may have been a deciding factor. The team may also have not thought his relative contribution worthy of the possible price-tag. With news that Tatsunami is going on a scouting mission the the Dominican Republic Winter League, it sounds like they're looking for someone a bit cheaper and with more upside.
On the staff side of things, there has also been a bit of a shake-up. There was news earlier that Toshio Haru, long serving batting coach, would be leaving the team. He has now left the team alongside other long-standing coaches, Takashi Ogasawara and Hidenori Kuramoto. Ogasawara has been busy developing arms on the farm since 2013 and has a fairly decent track record. Hidenori has been up and down between the first and second team as an outfield coach since 2013 as well. Haru I can understand leaving given the hitting issues, but I don't understand jettisoning two perfectly good coaches in Ogasawara and Hidenori. The former I thought was quite good at his job and this now leaves two relatively inexperinced pitching coaches in Daisuke Yamai and Takuya Asao. Hidenori was given a role on the farm this year as a development coach, but I think that was merely the precursor for him leaving the team when his contract finished. There may have been compatibility issues with Atsushi Kataoka that led to the change, but this is pure speculation. What will this mean for the farm team? Since Asao was hired, the team have had 3 pitching coaches on the farm. Maybe cutting one is making room for another hitting coach perhaps? We'll have to wait and see.
With all the outs, we have had an in. Former MVP, Kazuhiro Wada has joined the Tatsunami backroom as first team hitting coach. He was reportedly sent an invite when it was announced Haru was leaving. Wada was a great hitter in his day but has not had any coaching experience. His post-retirement days have been mostly spent as a colour commentator. Wada and Tatsunami spent two years together with the Dragons in 2008 and 2009.
That was just a small update on some key moves the Dragons are making. I will be interesting to see what further shake-ups may occur post-draft and if there will be further additions to the coaching staff.
Sad to see Martinez leave, that is intriguing about Tatsunami going on a scouting mission though.ReplyDelete
I liked Martinez as a person too, so yeah, it sucks. Akinori Otsuka was meant to go to the DR last year but they pulled the plug because of COVID-19. Shigekazu Mori frequently went to the DR when he was manager and head coach so I think Tatsunami is just going a familiar route. I dare say they'll be lookin for a power-hitter and probably a starter.Delete