Late Thursday night, one of the first Japanese big-league pitchers in MLB, Hideo Nomo, signed a Minor League contract with the Kansas City Royals with an invitation to Spring Training.
Nomo's career fizzled dramatically in his final season with the Dodgers (2004), and last pitched in the big leagues in 2005 for the Devil Rays. Nomo's fastball, which once consistently topped 93-95, fell dramatically in his final two seasons. Now, he relies almost solely on guile and deceit.
Nomo will probably be given a chance to compete with Brandon Duckworth, Luke Hudson, Chin-hui Tsao, Neal Musser, and a slew of other arms for that final bullpen slot. However, realistically, I think this is a token move designed more out of respect and Spring Training depth than to attempt to resurrect the fallen career of a '90s star. It's possible that Nomo could provide veteran tutelage and leadership for our mostly young pitching staff for a limited period of time. Let's just say I sincerely hope that this move isn't the veteran 'reclamation' pitching signee us Royals fans have waited months for.
Nonetheless, the "Hillman Effect" continues forth......