Sanspo: Katsuya Nomura was a little surprised that his ace, Hisashi Iwakuma, was awarded the MVP award. "What? It wasn't a Seibu player? I remember winning the award once when my team didn't finish in first (1963), but we were still in second place."
Sponichi: Tetsuya Yamaguchi became the first player ever to sign on with a team as an Ikusei player and then go on to win Rookie of the Year Honors.
Sanspo: Yoshinori Sato (YAK) was awarded the Sankei Sports Award for his performance in the Eastern League. Naoto Tsuru (HAN) won the award for the Western League.
Sponichi: Yokohama Bay Stars owner Kiyoshi Wakabayashi is clamoring for the team to hold onto Daisuke Miura. The Bay Stars had the worst team ERA in the NPB last season (4.74) and losing their ace would most certainly make things worse for the team going into the 2009 season.
Sanspo: Junichi Tazawa tossed another complete game (9.0 IP, 33 BF, 4 H (1 2B), 0 BB, 10 K, 0 R), and now the Rangers appear to be preparing to offer the righty a Major League contract. Jim Colborn (Texas Rangers' Director of Pacific Rim Operations) was quoted as saying, "He's at the top of our list. And I think he has the chance to become an impact player right away. I'll be discussing things with the GM and we'll probably offer him a contract." (translated from Japanese)
Craig Shipley (VP of International Scouting for the Boston Red Sox) was also in the stands (first base side) watching Tazawa. When reporters asked him for a comment he replied by saying, "Why are you asking me anything at this point in time?"
Sanspo: Chunichi Dragons players Hitoki Iwase, Akifumi Takahashi, Takuya Asao, Kazuhiro Wada, and Masahiko Morino have all declined invitations to play at the 2009 WBC. Iwase is nursing an injury, but the reasons for the other 3 players refusing is yet not known. Sports Hochi is running with this as a "Boycott" by the Dragons.
Sponichi: Shuichi Murata and Seiichi Uchikawa are both ready to play at the WBC if they make the final cut.
Sponichi: The NPB presented their suggestion for trying to keep young players in Japan at yesterday's Player's Association Meetings. The proposal calls for a ban on allowing players that reject the draft from being able to sign with NPB teams on their return for a set period of time (players out of high school: 3 years; players out of college and pro-am: 2 years). The Player's Association is against the proposal.
The two sides did come to agreement on others areas: Ikusei players can now be re-signed by the same team for more than 3 years; and the two sides have agreed on trying to come up with a rule that will prevent newly acquired free agents from going to the Majors via the Posting System right away.
Sponichi: The NPB finished in the red again this year. Ryozo Kato, NPB Commissioner, said "It seems every year we finish at least 3-oku yen in the red." Because of this, the NPB is now working on a new plan that could help fund the NPB. Initially reports suggest that the NPB is discussing putting together a new company, similar to that of the MLBP (MLB Productions).
Sponichi: Mark Peeper (?), Koji Uehara's rep at SFX, said that he got a number of calls regarding his client. He also mentioned that teams were interested in him as a starter and that they were willing to offer multiple years. Peeper is known in Japan for also representing Masahide Kobayashi (CLE).
Daily Sports: The Lotte Marines will re-enter negotiations with Hisayoshi Chono on the 24th. Ryozo Setoyama, club president, is looking forward to meeting Chono for the first time and said, "I'll ask him to join our organization in complete sincerity."
Sports Hochi: While ESPN is reporting that Kameron Loe and the Softbank Hawks have agreed to terms on a 2-year deal worth 1-oku, 9,000-man yen, the Hawks are neither confirming nor denying the report. Masashi Tsunoda, club rep, said "ESPN is unconfirmed. We're still checking him out."