For those who follow me on Twitter @DaigoFuji you know that I am a little bit of a Boston Red Sox fan. What you may not know is, I am a life-long Ichiro fan. Ichiro was born and grew up in Aichi prefecture where I am from, and Ichiro and I share our allegiance to Noagoya-based Chunichi Dragons. Ichiro and I both lamented when Dragons’ Yasushi Tao, who led the league with most hits from 1982-84, was traded in 1985. I saw a banner that the young ichiro created in Ichiro museum when I visited. I dream to see Ichiro manage the Chunichi Dragons in the future.
So, this was my reaction when I found out that Ichiro was traded to the
dreaded New York Yankees.
I knew he was not the first Japanese players to be traded, in fact, far from it. But I wanted to do some research to find out just how many Japanese players were traded in the past. Here are some finding while compiling the list from baseball-reference.com data:
- From what I can gather, there are 19 trade transactions involving 16 Japanese players.
- Hideki Irabu, Mac Suzuki and Tomo Ohka were all traded twice.
- First trade was Hideki Irabu trade from the San Diego Padres to the New York Yankees in 1997. Irabu’s rights was purchased by the Padres from Chiba Lotte Marines in January 13, 1997, but Irabu and his agent Don Nomura refused to pitch for the Padres, forced the team to trade him to the team he wanted to play for.
- Tomo Ohka was the first July Trade deadline deal, bringing the Boston Red Sox closer Ugueth Urbina in 2001.
- Other July trade deadline deals are: Iguchi in 2007; Fukudome in 2011; Uehara in 2011; and Ichiro in 2012.
- Besides the Ichiro deal, the biggest trade involving a Japanese player maybe 2006 trade involving Aki Otsuka. The San Diego Padres acquired Adrian Gonzalez in the package.
- Hiroki Kuroda, then a L.A. Dodger, refused a trade in 2011.
List of Japanese players traded
- Hideki Irabu : May 29, 1997: the San Diego Padres sent Hideki Irabu to the New York Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on April 22, 1997. April 22, 1997: The San Diego Padres sent players to be named later, Gordon Amerson (minors) and Homer Bush to the New York Yankees for Rafael Medina, Ruben Rivera and $3,000,000.’
- Hideo Nomo June 4, 1998: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Brad Clontz to the New York Mets for Greg McMichael and Dave Mlicki.
- Mac Suzuki June 18, 1999: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with a player to be named later to the New York Mets for Allen Watson and cash. The Seattle Mariners sent Justin Dunning (minors) (September 14, 1999) to the New York Mets to complete the trade.
- Hideki Irabu December 22, 1999: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Montreal Expos for players to be named later and Jake Westbrook. The Montreal Expos sent Ted Lilly (March 17, 2000) and Christian Parker (March 22, 2000) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade.
- Masato Yoshii January 14, 2000: Traded by the New York Mets to the Colorado Rockies for Lariel Gonzalez and Bobby Jones.
- Mac Suzuki June 24, 2001: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Sal Fasano to the Colorado Rockies for Brent Mayne.
- Tomo Ohka July 31, 2001: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Rich Rundles to the Montreal Expos for Ugueth Urbina.
- Tsuyoshi Shinjo December 16, 2001: Traded by the New York Mets with Desi Relaford to the San Francisco Giants for Shawn Estes.
- Kazuhisa Ishii March 20, 2005: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Mets for Jason Phillips.
- Tomo Ohka June 10, 2005: Traded by the Washington Nationals to the Milwaukee Brewers for Junior Spivey.
- Akinori Otsuka January 6, 2006: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Billy Killian (minors) and Adam Eaton to the Texas Rangers for Adrian Gonzalez, Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young.
- Kazuhito Tadano April 4, 2006: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Oakland Athletics for Ramon Alvarado (minors).
- Kazuo Matsui June 9, 2006: Traded by the New York Mets with cash to the Colorado Rockies for Eli Marrero.
- Tadahito Iguchi July 27, 2007: Traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Philadelphia Phillies for Michael Dubee (minors).
- Akinori Iwamura November 3, 2009: Traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jesse Chavez.
- Kosuke Fukudome July 28, 2011: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with cash to the Cleveland Indians for Abner Abreu (minors) and Carlton Smith (minors).
- Koji Uehara July 30, 2011: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with cash to the Texas Rangers for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
- Ryota Igarashi March 30, 2012: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Toronto Blue Jays for player to be named or cash.
- Ichiro Suzuki July 23, 2012: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with cash to the New York Yankees for Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell.
Update/Note: LA Angels LHP Hisanori Takahashi moved to Pittsburgh Pirates during 2012 season, but it was a waver transaction and not a trade.