With the MLBPA, MLB, and NPB reaching a tentative agreement on the posting system, Shohei Ohtani is assured to play the 2018 season in America. He’s not the only NPB star who could make his way across the Pacific this off season.
It was announced that Seibu Lions reliever Kazuhisa Makita requested to be posted this off season. Makita doesn’t have Shohei Ohtani‘s youth or skill with the bat, but he could help the Milwaukee Brewers build a bridge to closer Corey Knebel.
Who is Kazuhisa Makita?
He’s a 33-year old right-hander who is essentially the Japanese Chad Bradford. He throws side-arm from an arm slot that’s way south of his belt. This is Makita in the 2014 Japan All-Star Series…
He’s not going to light up a radar gun. Makita tops out around 85 MPH on his fastball. He also mixes in a curveball, slider, and sinker. However, he does get results. After spending a few seasons in the Japanese Industrial League, he earned with a contract from Seibu. He made his NPB debut at age 26, and was fantastic. He racked up 22 saves and posted a 2.61 ERA in 43 games including 10 starts. His results won him the Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award.
He spent the majority of the next four seasons as a solid starting pitcher before converting to a full-time relief role in 2015.
Last season, he appeared in 58 games and recorded a 2.59 ERA. He struck out only 35 in 62 2/3 innings, but he also only walked five batters. Total.
Why would the Brewers have any interest in him?
Makita has proven himself a solid bridge to Seibu Lions closer Tatsushi Masuda. He could serve a similar role as part of the bridge to closer Corey Knebel. Also, he won’t cost nearly as much as guys like Pat Neshek or Addison Reed. Makita will be posted, but he won’t come anywhere close to the $20 million posting fee that Ohtani will garner.
If Makita’s posting fee costs more than $5 million, a GM has been played. He’s also unlikely to receive a contract that pays him more than a few million dollars for not very many seasons. If the Milwaukee Brewers play their cards right, the could get a key bullpen piece for a few years for less than $15 million dollars including the posting fee.