Friday, September 30, 2016

Report: Seibu Lions announce six Senryokugai players not returning in 2017

The Saitama Seibu Lions offseason started on Thursday after the final regular season game concluded. They announced six Senryokugai players who will be cut on Friday afternoon.

P Yuta Nakazaki, IF Shogo Kimura, OF Naotaka Takehara, P Takayuki Yamaguchi, P Kazuki Miyata and C Takanori Hoshi were announced as cut players.

Kimura and Takehara were offseason additions by the Lions after passing their tryouts. Takehara saw a few games as a pinch hitter while Kimura was a frequent player off the bench as a shortstop and third baseman. He became expendable with Naoto Watanabe's emergence in the second half after Kimura tore his ACL.

Yamaguchi was a draft pick in 2013 and never played an ichi-gun game while Miyata spent a limited time with the team in 2015.

Nakazaki is the older brother of Carp closer Shota Nakazaki. He was originally a first round draft pick in 2008 out of high school and remains a bust. He only appeared in 15 ichi-gun games combined from 2009-2016, including eight this season.

Hoshi mostly worked with the ni-gun and played in only 120 ichi-gun games from 2011-2014. He failed to play on the first-team in both 2015 and 2016.

As a result of these cuts, six roster spots have opened up for the Lions. A seventh spot is open due to the retirement of Atsushi Okamoto and it's possible another wave of cuts could come. There will also be a decision made on each foreign import not named Ernesto Mejia, which could free up even more space.

The 2016 NPB Draft is on October 20 and the Lions now have some space to work with for the event due to these cuts.


Other notes:

-Tetsuya Shiozaki (head/bench coach), Hideki Hashigami (strategy coach), Shinji Mori (pitching), Shingenobu Shima (hitting) and Yoshihiro Doi (bullpen) are likely to stay as part of the coaching staff. Shiozaki could be moved to being the farm team manager.

-The Lions announced that Hiroshi Narahara (base running/3B coach) and Katsuhiko Miyaji (farm batting/outfield defense) will not return in 2017.

-Chikara Onodera (farm pitching), Tatsuya Nakano (trainer) and battery coach Masanori Taguchi resigned from their positions.

-Norio Tanabe could be offered a different front office job for the Seibu Lions. Seibu chairman Takashi Goto believes he can have an untitled job related to human resources.

-Toshifumi Baba could be offered an infield/base coach job. He has previously worked in KBO.

-Fumiya Nishiguchi could be offered a job as a ni-gun pitching coach.


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