Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tanishige Named New Manager, Ochiai Returns as GM

It's been nearly a month now since Motonobu Tanishige was announced as the new player/manager of the Dragons.  When I first heard the news I was surprised, then a little disappointed, then finally okay with it.  I do think that Tanishige will be fine manager, he's probably seen everything that can be seen in Japanese Baseball as a catcher for twenty-five years and counting.  Still the player/manager thing is weird, it doesn't seem like the best possible scenario.  It's hard to say if management is really high on Tanishige and expecting him to transition into the full-time manager for the next decade or if they are just looking for a place holder.

It will be interesting to see how things work in the upcoming season.  Tanishige played in 130 games last year, but will he still be the main catcher now that he's also the manager?  There isn't currently a viable option at catcher to replace him, though there may be a couple free agent options.  If Tanishige continues as the main catcher he will have to rely on his assistant coaches quite a bit, which may not be a bad thing, but we shall see.  In Tanishige's press conference he mentioned that he will emphasize the defensive aspects of the game, which makes sense with him being a catcher and also fits with the skills of the current roster and the philosophy that led to the Dragons' success over the last decade.  Under Tanishige, Chunichi's "boring" style of baseball is likely to continue, but if it wins games I'm all for it. 

In what seems like a synchronous move with Tanishige's promotion, Hiromitsu Ochiai was named the new General Manager.  This is a move I like a whole lot, even if he isn't exactly a general manager, as has been rumored.  I believe that Ochiai is commited to winning and I think that will help in any role that he's given.  I know he's not afraid to make tough choices, and that will be important as the team begins a transition away from it's current veteran roster.  He has a lot of experience with this team and though he's had disagreements with upper management in the past, the fact that he's back already shows they have confidence in him, even though they don't always agree.  I think that will be a positive moving forward.  I believe Ochiai is the right guy for the job.

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