This signing could be significant for the Mariners beyond the mere numbers Tazawa does or doesn’t put up. It used to be that Seattle was considered the destination of choice for Japanese players. At least, that was the perception. But I don’t think we can say that’s the case any longer. Whether it was Kei Igawa choosing the Yankees over the Mariners two years ago, Hiroki Kuroda picking the Dodgers over Seattle a year ago, or now Tazawa opting for Boston, it’s becoming obvious the Mariners can no longer rely on reputation or connections from ownership alone to lure Japanese players.
This team has taken a hit image-wise. And in the end, today’s modern Japanese players may be more like Americans than we think. In the end, they may pick the places offering the best money and the best chance of winning. The Mariners might do well in one of those aspects. But the other one has not been a factor in these parts for several years. One more thing at stake for Jack Zduriencik and company as they move forward. Because Tazawa, no matter what he turns into, was certainly not a bank buster.
Do you think that no-longer-sterling reputation has anything to do with the controversy generated by a blind-sourced story which alleged that the clubhouse fractured against the Japanese players, that Ichiro was so hated that his safety was in jeopardy and the team called a meeting over it*?
Because that seems like the kind of thing that would hurt a club’s ability to recruit talent from that country.
Weird it’s not mentioned there.
* oh and it turns out that didn’t happen