As expected, Diamondbacks infielder Andy Green requested a release from his contract so that he could sign a deal in Japan. The Arizona Diamondbacks have been working with the Nippon Ham Fighters to negotiate the rights for Green to sign a contact. While not finalized, it is a foregone conclusion that the deal will get done. Sources close to the negotiations have stated that Green will sign a 2 year contract with the Ham Fighters that will pay him $660,000 for 2007 and $850,000 for 2008. The 2008 contract may be at the team’s option at which case Green would be compensated if the Ham Fighters decline the option. Incentives built into the deal could bring the total compensation to approximately $2 million over the two year period. The Ham Fighters won the Japanese League championship last season and are coached by Trey Hillman who was interviewed for the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, and San Diego Padres manager openings this off season.
Green saw limited playing time for the Diamondbacks in 2006. He appeared in 73 games and accumulated 86 at bats. Most of these at-bats came as a late inning pinch hitter though he did play some at third. Given the current situation in Arizona with the depth of the team and the young players who have secured starting positions, 2007 looked to be similar to 2006 with regards to playing time for Green.
It is interesting how things have played out. Andy Green was the Most Valuable Player in the Pacific Coast League in 2005 and made the Diamondbacks roster coming out of Spring Training. His skills were best suited for third base but he could also play the middle infield positions making him valuable as a utility player. With the emergence of Stephen Drew as an everyday player and the dominance of Orlando Hudson at second, Green was regulated to third playing behind Chad Tracy whose power numbers are greater than those of Green. In the end it became a numbers game and the numbers just did not add up for Andy. In a strange twist of fate, Green saw former teammate Dan Uggla be left off the Diamondbacks roster last year to be chosen by the Florida Marlins in the Rule 5 Draft. The result was that Uggla was given an opportunity to play every day and became a strong candidate for rookie of the year while Green saw very limited playing time. It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time and for Andy Green that just might be Japan. Hopefully the Arizona Diamondbacks will not regret letting Green go.