Hideo Nomo Added by Padres to Boost Pacific Rim Presence

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The San Diego Padres and General Manager A.J. Preller continue to expand their international presence, ironically with more players who are most identified with having played the Los Angeles Dodgers. Friday they announced that Hideo Nomo would serve as an adviser to baseball operations, furthering the international feel to this off-season with Takashi Saito interning in the team’s front office.

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To this point – the Padres have swung and missed on several of the Japanese and Korean free agents who have been available in the past couple of years. Last year they missed on Jung-Ho Kang from the Korean Baseball League, as well as Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada.

This year they are rumored to be in several international prospects again but have yet to strike it gold.

Adding Hideo Nomo, the 1995 National League Rookie of the Year who became the first Japanese player to move to the big leagues they add some major presence. Many players in the majors now or on the rise look up to Nomo as it was important when he came over that he succeeded well to erase any stigma that Japanese players could make it in the major leagues. Nomo went on to throw two no-hitters over 12 seasons and ended up with a career record of 123-109 and 4.24 ERA.

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Last year the Padres had Moises Alou in a similar presence with the minor league coaching staff and boosting their presence in the Dominican Republic. Preller came to the Padres from Texas with a knack for international talent – and somewhat ironically started his tenure with a flurry of trades. With that year gone, we have seen more strategic smaller moves from Preller this off-season as he rebuilds the minor league system and seems ready to pounce on available major league talent as well. The recent buy-low signing of Fernando Rodney might be a case of that…if it works out.

What the Padres do in the next year in the international market could have a huge impact on the future of the Padres and in particular the future of A.J. Preller attempting to add more stability to the GM position than the Padres have had since Kevin Towers.

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