With the 2021 season having come to a close, we are looking back at the year that was for members of the Texas Rangers.
Today we are looking at pitcher Kohei Arihara.
In doing these write-ups, obviously, whenever I do a write-up, I have to pick a player who hasn’t been written up yet.
Early on that was easy, since almost every Ranger who played in 2021 was still waiting to be written up.
Then after a while I’d have to go to the B-R Rangers page and look through and scan names and see who I hadn’t written up yet who I felt like writing about that day.
Then I got to the point where I would have to go through and double-check and make sure I hadn’t written a given player up yet — that would be embarrassing, wouldn’t it?
Yesterday I went through and made an actual list of who was remaining (there were 8 players still to go), and I found that for a couple of guys I had to double-check, because I thought I had already written about them, but it turned out I hadn’t.
Then there was Kohei Arihara.
I was sure I had done a year in review for Kohei Arihara already. I was sure I had done that rather early on in the process.
I Googled “ ‘Kohei Arihara’ review lonestarball.com”, which is what I generally did when I thought I had written someone up but wasn’t sure. That brought me a hit on Eli White’s 2021 Year in Review, but not Arihara.
I did a couple of variations of that Google search. Nothing.
This morning, I Googled again. No.
I then went and searched Arihara in the LSB search bar, and looked at all the stories with Arihara in them over the past six months or so.
I went to Twitter and searched “year review arihara”, since if I had written the story and posted it it would have been tweeted out.
Now, you may be thinking that this is a bit excessive on my part — that I should have just accepted I was mistaken and moved on. And part of this effort is because I didn’t want to write about Kohei Arihara again. I’ve written about him numerous times over the past fourteen-fifteen months, and there’s generally not anything new to say, and nothing that’s particularly positive, and I would just as soon not think about him anymore, much less plow that same ground again.
But it is also because I am becoming increasingly convinced we are living in the Matrix — or at least I am, I don’t know about all you zombies — or some other simulation which is glitching more often of late. Its like the Mandela Effect, only localized as to me, I guess, and in regards to minor things like whether or not I’ve done a year in review on Kohei Arihara.
Is the artificial structure that is running our reality having its processing power strained? Has the number of people in the world, the number of things, the actions and activity that is going on everywhere, grown so large that the computing power necessary to run the simulation can’t handle it? Is it like when you’re in the late game stages of Civilization V, and the world has grown so vast that there are five or ten minutes between your turns because of everything that has to be updated?
Anyway. Kohei Arihara.
Man, does anyone really want to talk about Kohei Arihara right now?
It is spring training. We are, like, sixteen days away from Opening Day. Something like that. The Rangers signed some good players. Everyone has the same record right now. Its a time of hope and optimism. Its not a time to talk about 2021 Kohei Arihara.
But needs must.
Kohei Arihara entered the 2021 season as part of the Rangers’ rotation. Signed to a two year, $6.2 million contract prior to the 2021 season after being a decent but not particularly great starting pitcher in Japan, Arihara was one of those gambles that teams in the situation the 2021 Rangers were in take. There wasn’t much reason to think Arihara would be a good starting pitcher in the major leagues — I mean, if there was, he’d have gotten more than 2/$6.2 million — but he had a history of durability, and the Rangers felt there were some things they could do to make him more effective, and really, at the end of the day, what do you have to lose (other than $6.2 million)?
It was a relatively low cost pickup that had the potential for some pretty decent rewards.
It just didn’t work out.
Arihara actually started the season with pretty good surface numbers — he allowed six runs over 20.1 IP in his first five starts, good for a 3.07 ERA, and he even had a 3.12 FIP to go with it.
I remember at the time, though, looking at the Statcast data, and seeing figures that were big red flashing warning lights — that Arihara was pitching like someone who should be getting hammered.
Arihara gave up 5 runs in 2 IP in his fifth start.
Arihara gave up 6 runs in 2.2 IP in his sixth start — he gave up only four hits, but all four were home runs. He also walked a couple of batters and hit a guy. He only faced 16 batters.
Arihara got an injection in his finger that pushed back his next start. When he took the mound, he gave up five runs in 3.2 IP.
Arihara then went to the injured list with an aneurysm in his pitching arm. He had a 6.59 ERA and a 6.62 in seven starts at that point.
I figured Arihara was done for the year, and was done in the majors at that point, but Arihara busted his ass in rehab and was brought back to the big leagues in September. After an okay outing, a mediocre outing, and a terrible outing, he was optioned to AAA Round Rock.
Soon thereafter he was designated for assignment. As no team wanted to assume his $3.6 million salary for 2022, he cleared waivers and was outrighted.
Arihara is in camp now as a non-roster invitee (since he is no longer on the 40 man roster). He was talked about during the offseason as someone who could compete for a rotation spot, but I don’t know that anyone really thought that was in the cards. He gave up 5 runs in 1.2 innings of work in yesterday’s 25-12 Rangers win over the Guardians, and yeah, its spring, but still, giving up five runs in less than two innings doesn’t help his case.
So Arihara will likely spend the year in Round Rock, giving the Express innings and toiling in AAA. While it is possible he shows something that results in him getting another chance in the big leagues, I’m skeptical that will happen.