Tigers sign Fu-Te Ni

The Tigers have turned to the Pacific Rim to bring in another reliever candidate (yeah, here’s the nearly as confusing translated version). Fu-Te Ni is a lefty reliever from Taiwan. What we can ascertain, thanks in large part this comment and this post from East Wind Up Chronicle, that he will be starting in AAA.

Commentor Yu-Hsing Chen did all the lifting on this on, including digging up some YouTube-y goodness:

Ni is 26 and from the above video his fastball appears to top out at 87 mph. It looks like he has a breaking ball that sits in the mid 70’s. It appears that he had garnered some interest from the Mariners as well. Ni is billed as The Taiwanese Okajima.

This is the second Taiwan signing for the Tigers in the last 2 years with Chao-Ting Tang debuting in the GCL this year.

Tigers pass on Junichi Tazawa

In an effort to maintain the relationships in the Pacific Rim that the organization has been cultivating recently, the Tigers are going to pass on Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa is the amateur Japanese player who is going to skip the Japanese professional leagues and try and jump right to the US.

Tazawa is being courted by a number of teams, and the Tigers sent scout Dick Egan to see him earlier and another scout (presumably Pacific Rim coordinator Kevin Hooker) to visit again in recent weeks. But Jon Paul Morosi caught up with Al Avila and Avila had this to say:

“We have invested much time and resources the last two years building our staff and rebuilding our good relationships in Japan and in other Asian countries in order to be players in those markets for years to come,” Avila said in an e-mail to the Free Press.

You see, there’s this gentleman’s agreement that the respective countries wouldn’t harvest each others amateur talent and Avila is going to honor that.

Chao Ting Tang - cr Roger DeWitt
Chao Ting Tang - cr Roger DeWitt

I fully admit that I don’t have a grasp on the relationships at play here, but I’d think that part of the point of increasing the presence would be to scout – largely amateur – players. Maybe it is, but not just in Japan. The Tigers did sign Chao Ting Tang from Taiwan last season. And they have a new scouting coordinator for the region. But I still don’t understand the apprehension about ruffling the feathers of the Japanese professional leagues.

That said I’m not upset that they are passing on Tazawa. I was intrigued early on, but his price is higher than I expected it would be. He’s likely to be paid similar to a top draft pick, and there is at least one scouting report that isn’t necessarily glowing. It calls into question his velocity and stamina.