For years, Anthony Bass believed that Major League Baseball players going to play in Japan signalled the end of their careers in North America. He, like many other scribes and athletes, thought that foreign baseball was easier and less demanding than its North American equivalent.
Now, he regards Japanese professional baseball as a vastly different, not lesser, challenge for players everywhere.
“A lot of people don’t realize how talented the players are in Japan,” he told Blue Jays Nation. “There were so many players I played against that could’ve easily played professional ball here.”
In the fall of 2015, the Texas Rangers traded him to the Seattle Mariners, who in turn tendered him a contract not long after. That winter, the Mariners signed three relievers — Steve Cishek, Blake Parker, and Donn Roach — leaving him on the outside looking in.
Even though he was committed to the Mariners, Japanese teams had been interested in him all winter, checking in at various points throughout the offseason. Conversations between his agent and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) clubs really started to pick up near the end of December, leading Bass to ask for his release to sign with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation