Roughly a week ago Chunichi and third-baseman Hector Luna came to agreement on a contract extension. The deal adds an additonal two years to Luna's current contract and has a club option for a third year. Extending Luna makes a lot of sense, not only because he's leading the NPB in hitting, but because he's a capable third-baseman leaving first base open for other foreign players.
Luna's signing is interesting because it seems to show a change in team philosophy concerning foreign players, at least in this instance. Over the last near-decade that I've followed the Dragons their management has been unwilling to do multi-year contracts with foreign players, even productive players and fan favorites like Tyrone Woods and Tony Blanco. I'm not sure if Luna's production alone led to his extension at this time or if the consequences of not re-signing Blanco over the last offseason had something to do with it. Blanco has been a beast this year for Yokohama, currently hitting .341 with 23 HR and 62 RBI, but I don't think too many people expected him to hit quite that well. I certainly wasn't expecting that from Blanco, I was a little more than 50-50 in favor of re-signing him because he'd had trouble staying healthy the last couple years and hadn't produced as much as when he first came to Chunichi. I was also curious to see what other foreign first-basemen could be acquired. I'm not sure what exactly has led to Blanco's success this year, likely a combination of a fresh environment, the "new" NPB ball and Yokohama's stadium, but in hindsight Chunichi looks pretty bad for letting him go. Clearly the Dragons didn't want to let Luna get away in free agency and fortunately Luna was interested sticking around.