Reports are emerging from Japan that potential Blue Jays import Takashi Toritani has decided to stay in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers. The 33-year-old second baseman was deciding whether to stay in his native country or sign with the Blue Jays or Padres. Toronto fans were hoping the Japanese standout would fill the team's massive hole at second base, but that possibility seems to be well and truly finished.
No substantial confirmation has come from North American sources, but a number of outlets in Japan have confirmed the news including this newspaper that reports that Toritani is staying.
【速報】鳥谷残留ｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗｗ： トラニュース http://t.co/AFGM30WXRD #阪神タイガース #hanshin #tigers pic.twitter.com/TCU2HWFMFs— トラニュース (@ToraNewsCom) January 8, 2015
There was also an article in Japanese that announced the news, although Google Translate doesn't really do us any favours trying to decipher it:
The major challenge was a long-cherished dream had been put into the field of view, but it became a form to meet the good faith of the tiger continued tenaciously Holdback. It's a pattern that was put in touch with Hanshin side late at night of the 8th.
As more English sources confirm the reports, the details will come into view but it looks like another possible Japanese signing has fallen through the Blue Jays fingers. The team will be forced to turn to the trade market to try and fill their second base position, unless they want to try and build a bridge to Devon Travis using a free agent signee (maybe Mark Ellis?).
It's also a blow to the Padres who have had a show-stopping offseason acquiring a number of stars, but still have a relatively weak infield when compared to their outfield trio. Both teams will now be in competition to shore up one of the few remaining holes in their respective teams.
Like Yu Darvish all over again...