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Blue Jays interested in Takashi Toritani

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Boras entertained a mass of baseball writers, at the Winter Meetings today, giving his view of the baseball world. One of the things he said was that the Rays should be in Montreal (and here I never liked Boras before).

About the Jays, as well as telling us  that they have to scrap the 5-year rule thing (no self interest there), he said that the they were interested in Japanese middle infielder Takashi Toritani. He is 33, a left-handed batter, and hasn't missed a game at shortstop in 10 years for the Hanshin Tigers. The Jays would be looking at him to play second base for a couple of seasons, until Devon Travis is ready for the majors.

Takashi has a .285/.372/.412 slash line in 1556 games in the Japan Central League. I have no idea how those numbers would translate to the MLB, but it looks like he has a good eye at the plate.

SB Nation's Amazin' Avenue had a profile of Toritani here. About his defense they say:

Toritani has a reputation for being a very capable defensive infielder. He regularly makes plays from deep in the 6-5 hole, getting to balls with his above-average range and completing them thanks to his strong throwing arm, which is among the best in Japan. Earlier in his career, he was somewhat error-prone and rushed his throws; but after tying for the league lead in errors in 2008, the shortstop shored up that aspect of his game. Since then, he has committed fewer than ten errors per year, averaging roughly six per season. How his defensive numbers would translate to MLB is anyone's guess, as Japanese infielders have historically had trouble adapting to the new league. Working in Toritani's favor is the fact that the Tigers' home field is the storied Koshien Stadium, an outdoor, natural grass and dirt playing field, one of only two in Japan, along with Mazda Stadium (home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp). Because the transition from playing primarily on artificial turf to primarily on natural grass has been difficult for other Japanese players in the past, Toritani might be able to avoid something that has plagued most of his predecessors. In 2012, a scout who watched the shortstop was unsure about where an MLB team might use him, saying, "If an MLB team does decide to take him, I don't know if he'll be used as a shortstop. Maybe second base, maybe elsewhere."