Another Solid Starting Pitcher Joins Free Agent Ranks

The starting pitcher market in this winter's free agency features a few nice options. Now we can add one more to the list, as former Shohei Ohtani teammate, 29-year-old Japanese veteran Naoyuki Uwasawa will be leaving the Nippon Ham-Fighters to try his hand in the major leagues next season. 

He had a 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 24 games in 2023, in 170 innings. 

Uwasawa seems to be aware of the great need of many MLB teams to sign rotation help this winter, as he told Kyodo News:

"Teams need pitchers that can eat up innings," Uwasawa said. "I can contribute by going many innings without getting an injury."

Indeed, he's started a full complement of at least 24 games in five out of the last six years in the NPB (which only plays 144 games a season). Overall, he boasts a 3.19 ERA in nine seasons in the top Japanese league, with a 1.18 WHIP. 

He was a teammate of Shohei Ohtani in Nippon for three seasons before the two-sport star came to the major leagues. 

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports