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Yusei Kikuchi’s Press Conference on Monday

by on Oct.06, 2009 @ 12:43 am, under High School

Yusei Kikuchi and Hanamaki Higashi Manager Hiroshi Sasaki held a press conference after Kikuchi submitted his letter of intent.  What follows are some of the questions that were asked at the press conference.

Kikuchi talks to the media on Monday (Sanspo)

Kikuchi talks to the media on Monday (Sanspo)

Your current mental state after submitting your letter of intent...

Kikuchi: Time has just gone by so quickly.  As soon as I joined the High School baseball team, the manager told me I was going to the pros and now that day has actually come.

What kind of things did you talk about to your family?

Kikuchi: My parents said that they'll leave everything up to the manager.

What kind of pro baseball player do you want to become?

Kikuchi: I want to be the type of player that can leave something behind in the hearts of the fans.  Be it in Japan or in the US, the fact that I want to be the best pitcher doesn't change.

Japan or the US, which are you leaning towards?

Kikuchi: I'll be talking to all the teams and will make a decision after that.  I don't think I'm in a place where I can say anything more.  I would like to make a decision before the Amateur Draft.

What's the most important thing you'll be looking for when making a decision with Kikuchi?

Sasaki: The place where he'll grow the most, the place that will take care of him the best, that will be important.

It doesn't appear as if Kikuchi will attend the face-to-face meetings with the clubs...

Sasaki: There are just so many clubs interested in him.  After speaking to Kikuchi's parents, we thought it best that I be the one present to hear what the clubs had to offer Kikuchi.  I'll be the one to try and get as much information from each of the teams as possible.

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Comments from various NPB clubs

Rakuten Eagles, Toshiyuki Mimura, chief scout: For the sake of pro baseball in Japan, I hope he decides to start his career in Japan.

Nippon Ham Fighters, Hiroshi Yoshimura, GM: If the timing works out, the GM and scout will go see him. It would be best to talk to him directly.

Chiba Lotte Marines, Akira Ishikawa, club rep: We're waiting to see if he has any interest in our team

NY Mets, Isao Ojimi, scout: We'll see what happens after we meet and talk.  He needs to make a decision he won't regret.

Detroit Tigers: If I can get permission from the parent club, I'd like to go see him.

5 comments on “Yusei Kikuchi’s Press Conference on Monday

  1. Andrew

    Gotta love the white sneakers with the suit! I think that Kikuchi would sign with an NPB team first if it wasn’t for their Draconian free agency rule. It’s almost as bad as MLB’s old Reserve Clause!

    Although I hope he opts for the NPB, if he does choose to go to the MLB instead, let’s hope he gives the NPB free agency rule as one of the reasons he didn’t choose to play at home. Perhaps then the powers that be will see the light and change the rules!

    Reply
  2. Deanna

    …those white sneakers look like standard school shoes. Heck, is that an actual suit or is it just a school uniform? Hard to tell really.

    Er, what is so draconian about the free agency here? That it’s 8/9 years instead of 6 like in the US?

    Reply
    1. Gen Post author

      FA probably seems more Draconian from the outside, looking in.

      In other words, the rules in the Majors aren’t under the microscope because you don’t have players trying to leave the US for “greener” pastures like you do here.

      I do tend to agree that the FA process is a bit long in Japan. The 2008 test rules did make things ever so slightly better (high school players drafted after 2007 get their national FA options after 8 years and college / industrial league players get it after 7 years), but I don’t see why the NPB doesn’t just drop it all down to something like 7 years for both national and international FA.

      I guess the NPB is worried that there will be some sort of mad rush by every player to change teams or go to the Majors, but I really don’t think that would be the case.

      Reply
  3. Philip

    Yusei, Own the fact you’ll be the one who is not only the first Japanese player out of hs to MLB, but you will save the arms of fellow countrymen from herein. Take the gift blessed upon you and we look forward to welcoming you with open arms.

    Reply

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