Sunday, August 28, 2016

An Unfortunate Series of Events

We just returned from our trip to Japan, and while I'd hoped to post some things on the trip, I was unable to because of some computer access issues.  In my previous post I had mentioned that I hoped that the Dragons would still be relevant in the Central League race when I got to Japan.  I guess I should have been more specific, as the Dragons were still in the race when I arrived in Japan, but immediately fell on their face and by the second week of my stay were dead in the water and then decided to fire their manager.  Chunichi was 6 and 14 while I was in Japan has been 10 and 25 since the All-Star break after playing close to .500 ball for the first half of the season.   Fortunately Ichiro's chase for 3,000 hits and Koshien were also going on too, so there was no lack of interesting baseball stuff to follow.

It's hard to say how much of the blame falls on Tanishige, Chunichi's fired manager, I would say that the team's lack of depth has been the biggest factor in their mid-season collapses the last several seasons.  Certainly a portion of the blame should fall on General Manager Ochiai, who has to this point failed to rebuild the depth of team to the neccesary level.  Of course rebuilds are never easy and Chunichi had a string of poor drafts prior to Ochiai coming back onboard.  Still the coming offseason is a big one for Ochiai.  There is talk that top Dragons' players Hirata and Ohshima are tired of Ochiai's miserly ways, and yearly contract disputes.  Both players will be domestic free agents this offseason for the first time, and if Ochiai fails to bring them back for next season, he will have pretty much torpedoed the team's chances to build a team in the near future.  Ochiai has a lot of support from the front office for previous success as a manager and likely also for cutting payroll, but if Ochiai can't keep Chunichi's core together for next season he will certainly lose my support. 

View from the Outfield Panorama