Rumors always become reality. Outfielder Kensuke Kondo (31) did that, and closer Roberto Osuna (28) did that. If the Softbank Hawks jump in, there will be no competition. This time, it is right-hander Kohei Arihara (31). Softbank announced on the 10th that it had signed a contract with Arihara, who is returning from the United States. I signed with a total of 1.2 billion yen over three years and an average annual salary of 400 million yen. It is a recruitment to fill the void left by ace Senga Godai (30, New York Mets) who went to the major leagues.

Softbank opened its wallet wide to win again this year. I brought two players who were active in the same Pacific League earlier. They recruited former major league save king Oh Soo-na and national team outfielder Kondo.

Osuna, who joined the Chiba Lotte Marines during last season, recorded 4 wins, 1 loss, 9 holds, 10 saves, and an ERA of 0.91. He showed his presence with an overwhelming pitch. Chiba Lotte wanted to renew the contract, but Softbank moved. He signed a contract for an annual salary of 650 million yen.

In 2019, when he was a member of the Houston Astros, Osuna recorded 38 saves (4 wins, 3 losses, an average ERA of 2,63) and became the American League’s No. 1 saver. He posted 155 saves and 10 holds for his major league career.

Kondo, who became a free agent with the Nippon Ham Fighters, signed a 7-year, 5 billion yen 안전놀이터 contract. It is the largest contract in the history of Japanese professional baseball. Nippon Ham tried their best to keep Kondo, the main hitter, but they couldn’t beat Softbank.

Kondo recorded a career batting average of .307, 1016 hits, 52 home runs, and 446 RBIs for 11 years at the Nippon Ham. He played an active part in the 2019 Premier 12 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the Japanese national team, and was selected for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team.

Softbank also brought in Hiroki Manei (31), free agent catcher of the Yokohama Baystars, for 4 years and 300 million yen. The backup player, not the main catcher, was reinforced.

Arihara is the pitcher with the most wins in the 2019 Pacific League. That year, he won 15 games and ranked first in wins. He joined Nippon Ham with the first pick in the rookie draft, won 60 games in 7 years, and advanced to the major leagues. He signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

He has not been able to take a seat due to injuries and sluggishness. He appeared in 15 games (14 starts) over two seasons, recorded 3 wins, 7 losses, -7.57, and returned to Japan. Arihara said, “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to play for a team that aims to be the best in the world.”

Softbank, the strong player in the Pacific League, has been pushed back by the Orix Buffaloes for the past two years. This year, I was in first place with one last game left, but lost in the final game and fell to second place. I was tied with Orix, but I was behind in the opponent’s record. Orix, which beat Softbank, won the Japan Series.

From 2011 to 2020, won the Japan Series 7 times in 10 years. Softbank, which has been slowing down recently, is aiming for the first championship this season in three years. A total of 7.15 billion yen (approximately 67.46 billion won) was spent on recruiting external power.

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