According to a report from Sponichi, Takashi Toritani will be able to continue his streak of 1444 consecutive played games next season with the Hanshin Tigers, a record. Toritani hired agent Scott Boras earlier this offseason to test the waters for MLB teams in need of an everyday middle infielder. Boras noted that Toritani was “kind of the Cal Ripken of Japan.” At 33, Toritani has 6531 career plate appearances in Japan and hosts a career AVG of .285.
While Toritani was never set on coming to America to play ball, he tested the market, and received known interest from the San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Mets. Scouts thought his defense was very impressive, but wasn’t convinced his bat would stick in the majors. Toritani’s team, the Tigers, released a statement from Toritani, translated by Yakyubaka
I earned my international FA option and exercised it. I spent a lot of time thinking about my options and would now like to let everyone know that I decided to stay. I apologize to the fans, organization, and players for the worry I may have caused by taking so long to come to this decision. I would like to ask the fans to put their concerns aside in exchange for a season in which I will work hard to help share the happiness that comes from winning a league pennant and Nippon Series.
So much for Toritani in the majors. His legacy has been in Japan, so at this point, it seems to make more sense for him to stay there, rather than have a few sub-par years in America. If he really is the “Cal Ripken” of Japan as Scott Boras stated, it’s a good thing he’s staying there.