The Saitama Seibu Lions officially announced they reached agreement with Ernesto Mejia and Chun-Lin "Kaku" Kuo for 2016.
Mejia, who will be 30 in December, had a down season in 2015 where he was hitting mostly .220 for the year. He had a strong second half and still was able to amass 25 home runs after being the one half of the reigning Pacific League home run kings for 2014.
The problem for Mejia was how often he would strike out or hit ground balls. He's capable of providing pop to the lineup, but needs to improve his average so that he won't be subbed early and gain trust of Norio Tanabe. The Lions would often sub him out as early as the sixth inning for a pinch runner because his bat wasn't reliable. He will make an estimated $2.4 million in US Dollars, according to Nikkan.
|Kuo took this selfie with Mejia on his Instagram|
He has the ability to be a decent ground ball pitcher, but his control can be off. It was his first season playing professional baseball at any level as he only played in international competitions. The good news is, he had two quality starts during the WSBC Premier 12 where he allowed two runs over 15 innings pitched. This included going eight innings with one run allowed in a do or die game.
If Kuo can fix his control, he ceiling could be as a no. 3 starter. If not, the Lions should try using him in middle relief. He will make about $250,000 in dollars.
Both of these signings are not surprises as the Lions all but said Mejia would return for the next year. Kuo is also young, where they hope to develop him after investing a handful of yen.
The league appeared to have adjusted to Mejia after tearing it up in 2014. We can only hope things go up from here after he had a rough season of striking out.
-The Lions promoted OF Daisuke Togawa from ikusei to the 70-man roster and he was assigned No. 71. Currently, they have no ikusei players under contract and didn't draft anyone for it last month.
-With the signing of Mejia and Kuo, they currently have 62 players under contract with four more draft picks to sign. P Shogo Noda, OF Aito Otaki, P Tadasuke Minamikawa and P Keisuke Honda are still waiting on their contract.
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