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Orioles Make Offer to Japanese Pitcher

According to Patrick Newman over at NPB Tracker, the Orioles have made their final offer to Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, extending an incentive-laden deal that caps their chase of the starter, who has spent his entire career in Japan.

Newman cites shoulder concerns as the reason for a lower base salary and numerous incentives based on appearances and performance. It's an interesting offer, though Kawakami is sure to sit on it while waiting on offers from, well, anyone else.

Yet Kawakami may not be the only pitcher who the Orioles bring on board this offseason. Newman is among those reporting that Baltimore continues to show interest in Koji Uehara, a pitcher the O's have targeted as a starter while other teams have slotted him as a reliever.

If either pitcher signs, it'd be an interesting Baltimore foray into the untested (for them) Japanese pitching market. A sign that GM Andy McPhail's scouting roots are starting to fill out the organization's structure? Perhaps. Or maybe Baltimore just wants to make a splash ... somehow. Thoughts?

By Cameron Smith  |  January 1, 2009; 9:22 PM ET
Categories:  Orioles  
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I've noticed good clubs improve by worrying about pitching. Bad clubs worry about bringing in hitting (which is true of the Orioles).

I'm not sure kind of club starts actually outsourcing their pitching staff. I guess the Orioles will invent a new word for that.

If the Phillies a few miles up the road can win a world series by remaking the club in a few years, why can't the Orioles. Oh right, I forgot. Peter Angelos is cheap and won't pay for players. And further, the good clubs developed players through the draft and then paid the players that turn out to be good. At this point, have the Orioles wasted all their draft choices over the past 8 years?

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 2, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I've been wondering about the Nats thinking on Japanese pitchers for a while. What about Hitoki Iwase, the LHP / reliever?
"Can Dave or Chico (or Cameron, or Tracee, or Tom, or Tom) do a piece on Japanese FAs who might come over this year. In particular, I'm curious about Koji Uehara and Hitoki Iwase (and Kawakami, too, who is supposed to be another Kuroda). One is a swing man, the other a LHP late inning guy. Curious if the Nats have a philosophy here. Do they think that older Japanese pitchers are nice filler / low downside options while waiting for internal players develop or do they think they roadblocks hogging roster space that could be given to system products? Iwase essentially took Otsuka's place with the Chunichi Dragons and set some reliever records. Are the Nats at all involved if he is interested in coming over?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 28, 2008 8:39 PM "
Here is a nice Nats Journal discussion on whether the Nats are looking at Asia / Australia, featuring Scooter and BinM.
Here I mixed up Uehara and Iwase. Iwase is the lefty.
"Chico - Would you ask JimBo if the team has any plans to pursue Japanese pitchers Kawakami and Uehara? They both seem like nice immediate fits, although they are a bit older. Perhaps as a bridge to Smoker and McGeary. Or is JimBo satisfied with the internal lefty options like Hinckley so there's no need for Uehara? Kawakami has been compared to Kuroda and is regarded as a better prospect. Do they have a scout in Asia? Could you give them tips about Australia?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 8:57 PM "

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 2, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I hope the offer goes well. It'll be nice to see the diversity in the line-up...and the Japanese, already huge baseball fans, would give support to the Orioles. Heck, I'd love to come to the games at Camden Yards to see cute Japanese girls cheering for the hometown guy...heh heh. WORK OUTTA DEAL! =D

Come on Cal, say you won't mind seeing the girls walk pass you and saying: "Look! Ironman!" lol...

Posted by: cbmuzik | January 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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