Tribe Talks to Junichi Tazawa

chris daviesAnalyst INovember 18, 2008

According to Jason Beck of, representatives from the Cleveland Indians met with Junichi Tazawa and his agent in Japan on Tuesday.

Tazawa has made a splash in his native Japan, opting to enter Major League Baseball rather than playing in the Japanese League. He requested that Japanese teams not draft him prior to their draft on Oct. 30, so he is free to enter the MLB immediately.

The 22-year-old flamethrower has already been contacted by the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and Atlanta Braves, but has gained the attention of several other teams. It is reported that the Braves have already offered a contract to the right-hander.

With a fastball that has been clocked at speeds as high as 97 mph, many more teams will be in contact with Tazawa.

According to NPB Tracker, a Japanese baseball blog, Tazawa's fastball has plenty of movement and runs in on right-handed batters along with a 12-6 curve. Last season with Nippon Oil he allowed only six earned runs over 54 innings, struck out 56 batters, and walked only four.

The Indians' interest would increase their already deep pitching pool for the 2009 season. The Indians have lefties Aaron Laffey, Jeremy Sowers, and Scott Lewis, and righties Anthony Reyes and Zach Jackson vying for the final three rotation spots next season.