Thursday, September 1, 2016
Report: Norio Tanabe will step down after the 2016 season
In a move that was inevitable as early as the end of 2015, Norio Tanabe will not be retained for 2017. This became official from multiple reports throughout the Japanese media.
We here at Graveyard Baseball have viewed this as a foregone conclusion since before opening day, as many fans and people connected to NPB have speculated. The only way to save Tanabe would be if there was significant winning, but 2016 has been viewed as a lame duck year for the possibility of someone else in line.
Tanabe, 50, took over in the middle of the 2014 season as the interim manager after Haruki Ihara stepped down. The Lions would finish the season 43-44-1 after having a poor start and expectations from a 2013 postseason. He was originally the team's hitting coach.
Last year, after a promising start to 2015, the Lions would have a historic 13-game losing streak where they came short of the postseason finishing 69-69-5 in fourth place. This year, the Lions had issues defensively through the first two months, but the poor bats from June 14-August 7 did them in as they went 10-31 in that stretch.
Tanabe played for the Lions from 1985-1999 and even spent 1986 to play for the San Jose Bees, a California League Single-A team. He was thrust into a role that he possibly wasn't built for, but made the most of what he was given with.
As for the future? There are plenty of candidates the Lions have most likely spoke to or been thinking about for some time. The obvious names are Tetsuya Shiozaki (head/bench coach) and Koji Akiyama being linked. However, Yahoo! reports that the Lions have also talked to Shinya Miyamoto, who would be an outside the box candidate.
We will have further analysis and throw out some extra names as time goes on. As for now, the Lions need to avoid being in the Pacific League Cellar, something that they haven't done since 1979.
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Posted by Christian Gin at 10:28 AM