Hanshin disclosed on the 12th that they are aiming to sign two foreign pitchers as candidates for the closer position. At the top of the list are San Diego Padres free agent Marcos Mateo (31), followed by Deunte Heath (30) of the Hiroshima Carp, Maikel Cleto (26) of the Chicago White Sox AAA club, Anthony Bass (28) of the Seattle Mariners and Atlanta Braves free agent David Aardsma (33). Should the team succeed in signing two, a strong possibility exists that the one who has a stronger showing at spring training in Okinawa next February would be made the “9th Inning Man.”
Team president Yotsufuji revealed plans to “make a move to acquire our top candidate” on the 11th. It looks as though they are leaning towards negotiating with Mateo first. Mateo appeared in 26 games with the Padres in relief this season, recording a win and a loss with a 4.00 ERA. He threw 27 innings and recorded 33 strikeouts against 9 walks, and does not seem like the type to implode. He’s 185 cm (6’1″) tall and weighs 100 kg (220 lbs) that he uses to generate an adequately powerful fastball in excess of 150 km/h (93 mph). Should negotiations not work out to sign Mateo, the team would send out feelers and see which of the other guys on the list would be the best fit for the Tigers.
The team officially announced on the 11th that it would end negotiations with Seung-hwan Oh, who has been implicated in an illegal gambling scheme. The two-time saves leader leaves big shoes to fill, but the fact is that the team has ample capital to make acquisitions with the salaries of Oh and the departed Matt Murton no longer on the books. If the team can sign two closers, the light at the end of the tunnel – the team’s first pennant in 11 years – will start to become visible in the distance.
- Marcos Mateo – born April 18, 1984 in the Dominican Republic. He signed his first contract with the Reds in 04, and upon moving to the Cubs in 2010, made his big league debut. All 70 of his MLB appearances were in relief, as he recorded 2 wins, 4 losses and no saves with a 4.65 ERA. He’s 185 cm (6’1″) tall and weighs 100 kg (220 lbs). He throws and bats right.