Tribe Signs Kaz Tadano
According to ESPN.com, the Indians have signed Japanese RHP Kazuhito Tadano to a minor league contract. An archived entry dated 11/25/2002 on BaseballGuru.com has a nice profile of him, including photos and footage of his delivery. According to the site, several major-league teams had been pursuing the college righty with the Tom Gordon-esque stature. The Braves, Marlins, Twins and Padres were reportedly interested in Tadano, who was not drafted by the Japanese professional leagues due to injuries to his elbow and shoulder (ouch!) that require further rehab. If starts like this one were commonplace for Tadano, it’s no wonder he was injured.
It’s good to see Mark Shapiro mining the Pacific Rim for talent, especially the low-cost collegiate variety. Waiting until a player like Tadano has proven himself in the Japanese League would necessitate going through the posting process, resulting in a tidy premium being paid for the right to sign a player. The signing also seems to indicate that Shapiro will not be cowed by the “big right-hander” scouting bias, instead focusing on a player’s abilities. As noted in the Guru article, Tadano features a 90-92 mph fastball and slider despite his small frame. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed, but unless Tadano turns out to be 35 with a torn labrum, this looks like a worthwhile risk for the Tribe to be taking.