Sunday, December 20, 2015


Ending weeks of speculation, Mexico City and Jalisco slugger Japhet Amador will play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League in 2016.  After negotiations that began during last month's baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Diablos Rojos representatives Roberto Mansur and Roberto Castellano came to terms with Rakuten president Yozo Tachavina that will assign the rights for Amador, the 2015 Mexican League MVP, to the Japanese club next season.

Amador, who turns 29 next month, led the Liga with 41 homers and 117 RBI's last summer to go along with a .346 batting average for the Red Devils.  He belted 14 homers in June alone, including a stretch of five consecutive games between June 18 and 21 (starting with both ends of a doubleheader against Carmen on the 18th and continuing with a three-homer game against Campeche a day later) to tie a Mexican League record held by Rene Gonzalez, Nick Castaneda, Jorge Vazquez and Salon de la Fama member Nelson "The Admiral" Barrera.

The 6'4" Amador, nicknamed "The Giant of Mulege," was hitting .288 with a Mexican Pacific League-leading 14 homers and 48 RBI's for Guadalajara's Jalisco Charros before leaving the team after a game with Hermosillo on December 16.  He was considered a potential MVP candidate for the winter circuit as well, although that may become less likely with his absence over the final two weeks of the regular season.

Amador will travel to San Francisco for a physical exam, which could be an interesting exercise (so to speak) for the 311-pound first baseman making his first foray into a country where the condition of baseball players has long been of paramount importance.  He will then be assigned a date to report to the Sendai-based Eagles for spring training.