Masahide Kobayashi Signs With Indians

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DirtDog

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The deal is done. It's a two-year deal with an option for 2010. Kobayashi is the first Japanese professional ballplayer in Indians history.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are close to signing Japanese reliever Masahide Kobayashi. The 33 year-old is taking his physical today. The Braves and Mariners were also known to have interest in him. It's been said that Kobayashi would prefer to close but it's not a dealbreaker.
Here's what Bob Bavasi of JapanBall told me about Kobayashi:
This closer was the number one draft pick by the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1999. He may be the best available reliever on the free agent market, though he has not made the sort of overtures about wanting to leave Japan as the other two. During the recent playoffs in Japan, his manager, Bobby Valentine, noted that Kobayashi keeps "looking better every time out.” True enough, and a reason I like him.