Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Rakuten Golden Eagles left-hander Yuki Matsui (27) is challenging the big league.굿모닝토토

‘Sports Hochi’ reported on the 26th (Korean time) that Matsui conveyed his intention to exercise his overseas free agent (FA) rights to the Rakuten club.

Matsui is known to have conveyed to the Rakuten team, ‘Considering my age, I think now is an opportunity to challenge the major leagues.’

He debuted in Japanese professional baseball team Rakuten in 2014 and recorded 25 wins, 46 losses, 236 saves, and an ERA of 2.40 in 501 games over 10 seasons.

He has also participated in the Premier 12 in 2015 and the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2017 and 2023.

He is an overhand pitcher who uses a fastball, splitter, and slider that average 92 to 93 mph.

Sports Hochi introduced that the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, and St. Louis Cardinals have been watching him.

Among these, he pointed out St. Louis as the team showing the most active interest.

St. Louis previously had experience recruiting Oh Seung-hwan, who played for the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese professional baseball team. Starting with this, there is a history of recruiting players who played in Korean or Japanese professional baseball, such as Miles Mycolas, Gwang-Hyun Kim, and Drew Bearhagen.

This team currently features Japanese outfielder Las Nubba, who played for the Japanese national team.

St. Louis ranked last season in the National League Central Division. Sports Hochi reported that St. Louis has prioritized reinforcing the bullpen this offseason and has begun work on reinforcing its power.

Rakuten President Seiyuki Mori said in an interview with Sports Hochi, “We want to respond to his idea (to challenge for the big leagues). “FA rights belong to the player himself, so it is difficult for the club to interfere with them,” he said, adding that he respects the player’s intention to challenge overseas.

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