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Some Kenji Johjima Updates from 10/21/2009

by on Oct.21, 2009 @ 10:49 am, under NPB

The Yomiuri Giants have no interest in Kenji Johjima.

Team rep Hidetoshi Kiyotake on Kenji Johjima's impending return to the NPB:

We already have one of the best Japanese catchers in Shinnosuke Abe.  There's not much more to mention passed that.

While the Giants have begun looking for a catcher to replace Abe, they aren't look for an immediate replacement, but rather a youngster they can groom over a number of years.

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The Softbank Hawks also appear to be distancing themselves from Johjima.

Softbank COO Takeuchi said, "We do we need right now; what do we need 2-3 years from now...  These are the things we've talked about  Johjima's name?  Yeah, it surfaced in our discussions, but not in terms of what we'd do."

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And all this leads to the Hanshin Tigers being the most likely of destinations for Johjima's services.

Tigers' owner Sakai said, "He's a catcher that has represented Japan [on the world stage].  We definitely want him.  We intend to go after him hard."

Tigers' team president Minami said, "In looking over the next few years, we really need a righty bat that can hit in the middle of our line-up.  We'll put our efforts into trying to sign him.  We'll meet with him and let him know how interested we are in his service."

The Tigers are supposedly thinking about offering Johjima a 4-year deal likely worth over 2B yen.

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Sanspo mentions that the contract could be closer to 1.5B yen over 3 years and that the Tigers will give him his old Daiei Hawks uniform number 2.

The Tigers are also aware that Johjima may be interested in a managing position at some point in the future.

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Comments from Johjima on the 10/20:

I just recently became unemployed so there's still no movement.  My agent is supposed to fly into Japan tomorrow so please ask him about that.

...I did a lot of thinking and the result of that was my decision to return to Japan to play.  Being close to my family and friends was a big reason.

...It was great being able to spend the last four years playing with a great bunch of team mates and coaching crew.  I'm also grateful to the Mariners organization for allowing me a chance to attain my dream.  It was a little sad to part with the fans in Seattle.  I'd like to say "thank you" to all of them.