MLB fits for Wladimir Balentien
September, 13, 2013
By Joe Kaiser | ESPN.com
If you didn't hear of Wladimir Balentien during his brief time in the major leagues from 2007-2009, you've probably heard of him now. The 29-year-old outfielder recently tied the Japanese single-season record for home runs (55), set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and tied by Karly "Tuffy" Rhodes in 2001 and again by Alex Cabrera in 2002.
Balentien's massive power may be the only plus tool he brings to the field, but it has caught the attention of Japan, where he has now slugged 117 homers in three seasons, and one has to wonder if it could again find a place on a MLB roster. First, it'd require some negotiating -- he still has two years remaining on the three-year, $7.5 million deal he signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows before the season -- and his MLB history isn't exactly stellar: 149 strikeouts and 15 home runs in 559 career plate appearances. But it's still worth pondering.