Well, this one came out of nowhere, and appears to have fallen through the cracks of the usual news outlets.
The Japan Series champion Chiba Lotte Marines are moving toward the acquisition of Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed reliever Carlos Rosa, a senior club official said Sunday. "We are examining the possibility of adding him to our pitching staff," Akira Ishikawa said. "There is another candidate. We'd like to move things forward quickly."
-- Japan Times
[Update: In what might well be related news, Steve Gilbert Tweets this morning that the team are "watching waiver wire very closely. Could nab a reliever there."]
Rosa came to Arizona from the Kansas City Royals in May last year, having been exchanged for minor-league shortstop Rey Navarro. He appeared in 20 games for the Diamondbacks, posting a 4.50 ERA, mostly in May and June, and was one of the candidates for a back-end bullpen spot this spring. He'd pitched pretty well this pre-season: over his ten appearances and nine innings, he had allowed ten hits and three earned runs, with a K:BB ratio of 9:2.
He's not the first player we've sent to Japan - most recently, infielder Rusty Ryal had his contract sold to the Yomiuri Giants. The downside is, it is purely a financial transaction, so will inevitably weaken the system, simply by the act of removing a player from it - you can't, say, get a Japanese prospect back [more's the pity - I'd go for Eri Yoshida, the female knuckeballer, just for the hell of it!]. That said, at age 26, Rosa was pretty much at the end of his string as far as prospect status goes, and when you only have 34 major-league innings by that point...