Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hector Mendoza of the St Louis Cardinals

The St Louis Cardinals have signed former Yomiuri Giant Hector Mendoza to a minor league contract.  Mendoza is Cuban and was one of four players that the Cuban government let play in Japan in 2014.  Mendoza arrived in Japan shortly before the deadline for adding new players (July 31) in 2014 and spent the remainder of the season plus the 2015 and 2016 seasons with Yomiuri.  The majority of his time was spent with the farm team - he only made five appearances with the ichi-gun Giants - 3 in 2015 and 2 in 2016.  And it doesn't look like he pitched a lot with the farm team either - he only pitched about 46 innings in two and half seasons (you can see his farm team stats for 2014, 2015 and 2016 at NPB's website).

I was surprised when I had read speculation about what MLB would sign him because I thought he was going back to Cuba after the Giants let him go last fall.  Turns out he defected during his return trip which is why he's eligible to sign with the Cardinals.

I'm only aware of three Japanese baseball cards for Mendoza - a "bonus"2014 BBM 2nd Version card that was an insert with Sports Card Magazine #107 and cards in the BBM Giants team sets in 2015 and 2016.  It's possible he has a card in one of the Bandai Owners League sets in 2014 or 2015 or a Giants team issued set but I don't know about any.

SCM #281 (2014 BBM 2nd Version #706)

2015 BBM Giants #G33

2016 BBM Giants #G30
H/T NPB Reddit for the story

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