Sports Hochi is reporting that former Yomiuri Giant Suguru Egawa could be a potential candidate to replace Bobby Valentine as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines next season. There is also talk about promoting current Lotte head coach Norifumi Nishimura to the position.
Even more interesting in all of this is particular quote from someone involved with the team:
Which translates roughly into:
"It's very difficult for a ball club that's in the red to support the 800M yen that's required to keep Bobby around. He's really provided a huge boost to our sales operations."
800M yen (roughly US$8.2M)?
I'm assuming this is over at least a 2-year period right? Or does this include the cost to keep Bobby AND his personnel around? Because otherwise it doesn't mesh with the ~380M yen ($US3.9M) reported in a recent Times article. (I've read some posts in online forums mention Bobby's salary as "growing" every time it's mentioned in the media.)
Is this just more "brainwashing" by the Marines' FO in an attempt to make Bobby look like he's high maintenance? Are they trying to make it seem like they're making the "sensible" move by letting him go because he costs so much money (even though he's offered to take pay cuts)?
But going back to Egawa... He may be an interesting option because of how much exposure he has in the media, but if the Marines' FO really thinks that simply replacing Bobby with a big name is going to quell the Lotte faithful, they've got something else coming to them.
And once again, I need to raise the question, why bring all of this up now during the middle of a season? I don't know if there's anything worse a ball club can do to a manager that's on his way out.
I conducted a mini-interview with a member of the Lotte Oendan core Lotte fan (let's call him Mr. K for now) to get his thoughts on the rumors and here's what he had to say:
On the Egawa rumors
I don't think that he will come to the Marines because Egawa does not like the Pacific League. Every one knows that he only likes the Central League.
A lot of names have been reported in the newspapers. Most of them only prove just how confused the Marines' FO is.
On the Nishimura rumors
I think that Nishimura wants to the be the manager of the Marines. Of course we like him, but he does not have the same charisma as Bobby. And of course, the FO will have a much easier time controlling him than Bobby. If there's no one to defy the FO, it could get bad for the team.
On whom he'd like to see take over the team
The only person we hope to see as manager is Bobby. The FO is only concerned about how to get rid of him. And the fans know this.
But other than Bobby, how about Lasorda?
I think Mr. K was trying to find a little humor in the Bobby fiasco by mentioning Lasorda, but I think it's quite obvious that the fans want Bobby back next season and that it won't be easy for the FO to replace him.
To borrow a quote from Walter Scott...
Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!