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Talks for WBC star Imanaga can go to Jan. 11

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Published in Baseball
Monday, 27 November 2023 15:45

Shōta Imanaga, who got the win for Japan in this year's World Baseball Classic final against the United States, will become a free agent Tuesday and major league teams can sign him through 5 p.m. on Jan. 11.

Naoyuki Uwasawa, a 29-year-old right-handed reliever with the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters, also will become a free agent Tuesday and be available through Jan. 11.

Imanaga, a 30-year-old left-hander, was 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 22 starts this year for the Yokohama BayStars of Japan's Central League. He struck out 174 and walked 24 in 148 innings.

Imanaga, recognizable for throwback style high socks, became the second prominent Japanese pitcher on the free agent market after 25-year-old right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who can sign through Jan. 4.

Imanaga is 64-50 with a 3.18 ERA in eight season with Yokohama, striking out 1,021 and walking 280 in 1,002 2/3 innings.

His fastball averaged 93.5 mph in the WBC final, when he allowed one run and four hits in two innings, giving up a home run to Trea Turner.

Uwasawa was 9-9 with a 2.96 ERA in 24 relief appearances this year.

Under the MLB-NPB agreement, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

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