Imports Messenger, Mateo Sign 2017 Contracts

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Hanshin announced on the 29th that it has signed Randy Messenger (35) and Marcos Mateo (32) on for next season. Messenger will make an estimated ¥350,000,000 ($3.1 million) per season for two years. Next season will be his eighth with the club, which gives him the longest tenure for a foreigner in team history, surpassing the 7 seasons served by Gene Bacque (1962-68) and Jeff Williams (2003-09). Mateo gets a one year deal worth around ¥110,000,000 ($975,000).

This season, Messenger made 28 mound appearances going 12-11 with a 3.01 ERA. Since arriving in Japan 7 years ago, he has picked up 73 wins (versus 65 losses). He won the league title for most wins in 2014 and twice took the strikeout crown (2013-14).

Messenger commented through a club official: “I’m proud to be able to play for the Hanshin Tigers again next year. It’s going to be my 8th season, and we still haven’t won a pennant during my time here so I hope we can win it all with Coach Kanemoto this year. I’m working hard to arrive at camp in good shape to stay in the rotation all year and contribute to the team’s success. I’m prepared to keep pitching through the Nippon Series. I look forward to seeing the fans again in the spring.”

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Mateo finished his first season with the club and was given the role of closer at first. He appeared in 52 games going 1-3 with 20 saves and a 1.80 ERA. Said Mateo, “Signing this contract today makes it feel real that I’ll be back with the Hanshin Tigers next season. Next season I aim to get through the entire season without injury, and increase the number of mound appearances I make. My countryman (Roman) Mendez has also signed with the Hanshin Tigers, and I feel like it’s my job to teach him about baseball in Japan, but it’s not just about the two of us – all the pitchers must unite to help win the pennant.”

 

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.