Hanshin Payroll #3 in NPB

Over the years, Hanshin has been known as a big spending baseball club. This is true to an extent, with the team consistently ranking in the top half of the salary rankings. It looks like this coming season, the team will rank #3, well behind the top two clubs, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Yomiuri Giants.

You will notice that…

* There are three MLB players (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, David Price) who will earn more this coming season than the entire 66-player roster of the Tigers.

* If the team salaries chart is accurate, there are *47* MLB players earning more than the entire Chunichi Dragons team will take in.

* The SoftBank Hawks payroll, while tops in the NPB, is lower than that of the Tampa Bay Rays, the stingiest team in the MLB.

* Players who move to the MLB stand to make several times the amount that they would in Japan.

How does this break down by player, you may be asking yourself? Well, here’s a look at the players’ salaries from the past 3 seasons. Notice that players who have left the team have also left the chart altogether, making it hard to compare the team’s aggregate payroll from year to year.

Player#Position2017 Salary2016 Salary2015 SalaryChange (%)
Yoshio Itoi7OF450.0------
Takashi Toritani1SS400.0400.0400.00.0%
Randy Messenger54SP350.0300.0250.016.7%
Kosuke Fukudome8RF230.0200.0150.015.0%
Kyuji Fujikawa22RP200.0200.0---0.0%
Shintaro Fujinami19SP160.0170.085.0-5.9%
Atsushi Nohmi14SP130.0140.0140.0-7.1%
Marcos Mateo38RP110.075.0---46.7%
Tsuyoshi Nishioka52B90.0108.0180.0-16.7%
Yuya Andoh16RP88.
Roman Mendez20RP75.0------
Eric Campbell293B70.0------
Minoru Iwata21SP53.068.060.0-22.1%
Rafael Dolis98RP50.050.0---0.0%
Akifumi Takahashi41RP50.
Yuta Iwasada17SP40.016.016.5150.0%
Shun Takayama9OF40.015.0---166.7%
Ryota Imanari493B38.040.036.0-5.0%
Hiroki Uemoto002B33.036.040.0-8.3%
Daiki Enokida13RP32.
Keisuke Kanoh99OF28.
Kazuya Takamiya34RP26.030.015.0-13.3%
Suguru Iwazaki67SP25.
Fumihito Haraguchi94C/1B22.04.84.0358.3%
Fumiya Hojoh2SS22.07.37.3201.4%
Ryota Arai323B21.030.030.0-30.0%
Taiga Egoshi25OF17.
Yuya Yokoyama15SP15.715.015.04.7%
Hiroaki Saiuchi26RP15.016.011.0-6.3%
Yusuke Ohyama33B15.0------
Hayata Itoh51OF15.017.015.0-11.8%
Ryoma Matsuda56RP14.012.010.416.7%
Ryutaro Umeno44C13.515.018.0-10.0%
Taichi Okazaki57C13.
Tsuyoshi Ishizaki30RP13.011.812.010.2%
Seishiro Sakamoto12C13.012.0---8.3%
Koyo Aoyagi50P12.07.2---66.7%
Taiki Ono28SP12.0------
Masahiro Nakatani60OF12.07.05.871.4%
Takumi Akiyama46SP11.
Hiroya Shimamoto69RP11.
Shinji Komiyama59C10.512.012.8-12.5%
Fumiya Araki58IF10.
Akihiro Yanase66RP10.0------
Yutaro Itayama63OF9.07.2---25.0%
Naomasa Yohkawa553B9.08.08.412.5%
Shoya Yamamoto47RP9.06.05.450.0%
Shintaro Yokota24OF8.
Daichi Takeyasu42P8.48.4---0.0%
Koki Moriya43SP8.
Ryosuke Ogata65OF8.
Kento Itohara33IF8.0------
Kentaro Kuwahara64RP8.09.010.0-11.1%
Kenya Nagasaka39C7.2------
Kosuke Fujitani45SP7.0------
Shungo Fukunaga40SP6.8------
Yuto Morikoshi37IF6.
Shinya Azuhata52C6.57.07.7-7.1%
Kazuo Itoh92RP6.
Hiroto Saiki35SP6.0------
Kenjiro Tanabo97RP5.34.84.810.4%
Naoto Nishida133IF5.05.86.0-13.8%
Kai Ueda62SS5.
Masumi Hamachi36SP5.0------
Atsushi Mochizuki60SP5.05.0---0.0%
Total Payroll3,287.1

You will notice that…

* The biggest salary gain (in terms of percentage) went to Fumihito Haraguchi, who was a development player until the end of April, and was paid accordingly. Until he had his huge breakout season.

* Other big increases went to Fumiya Hojoh, Yuta Iwasada and Shun Takayama. None of these comes as a big surprise.

* The biggest loser (you can take that to mean what you want it to mean) is Ryota Arai. WBC bench warmer pitcher  Shintaro Fujinami also took a decent-sized pay cut.

* Ten players’ salaries will remain the same this season, while 27 players earned raises and 18 guys got pay cuts. [Until players become free agents, they are really at the team’s mercy when it comes to their pay. Their salaries are determined based on a somewhat complicated formula which tallies up their stats from the previous season, their years of experience (or age, in the case of the really young guys) and the previous season’s salary. There is a limit as to the percentage of pay cut a player can suffer (I believe it’s 40%, but I could be wrong), but no limit to his pay increase. However, the rule of thumb is a moderate (5-15%) raise every season.]

Yoshio Itoi immediately became the team’s richest player, which I suppose takes some pressure off of Takashi Toritani.

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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.