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NPB to grant players free agency earlier, sort of
2008-04-04 11:42
by Bob Timmermann

The Kyodo News Service reported (last week and I missed the story) that the waiting period for Japanese players to become free agents is going to be lowered from nine years to seven years for players who started out of college or industrial ball and eight years for players signed out of high school. However, according to this discussion at, players wishing to go overseas would still have to have nine years in before heading across the Pacific.

Pitchers Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami both recently reached the old minimum requirement to become free agents.

2008-04-04 15:20:30
1.   Bob Hendley
My little experience with Japan suggests that while its hard to leave, it is even harder to return. What are the experiences on re-entry back into NPB after service overseas. Has it been done? One reverts back to their previous team? Have you packed yet?
2008-04-04 15:35:11
2.   Bob Timmermann
Players who go back are free agents. Hideki Irabu, Masato Yoshii, and Kazuhisa Ishii had moderate success. Ishii is still active.

Tsuyoshi Shinjo returned and was a huge star for the Fighters despite not being very good.

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