...Dragons' scout Yoshinori Ogata has been in the Dominican Republic since 11/27 to check out 4 Winter League games. Ogata will be returning to Japan 12/9.
The Dragons are still trying to find "the next" Tony Blanco.
Hirano wowed a crowed of about 320 kids by doing back-flips in the air.
...It doesn't seem like Kenji Johjima has helped the team attract any new fans to Spring camp next year.
A travel company put together about 8 tour packages to Spring camp but only about 100 people have signed up to go. That's about par for course when the Tigers didn't have Johjima.
Nippon Ham Fighters
...Shintaro Ejiri put the Fighters' first offer on hold, thinking that he deserved better. But after watching video of him pitching during the year, he backed off and accepted the Fighters' original offer during their second round of negotiations.
Said Ejiri, "I got tired just watching [the video]. The 2009 Ejiri DVD should not be allowed onto the market."
...If Tuffy Rhodes returns to the Buffaloes next season, Akinobu Okada will likely use him as a DH or pinch hitter.
Said Okada, "The ballparks have gotten much larger and that means defense is really important in the outfield. I don't plan on starting Rhodes and Cabrera every game. And I'll need pinch hitters during the Inter-league games."
...The Buffaloes re-signed Ikki to a contract worth 21M yen (up 3M yen).
...Nobuhiko Matsunaka plans on starting up a running program during his training in Guam.
The original plans called for Matsunaka to start running on 12/4, but it was later decided that it might be best if he waited until he went to Guam where it will be much warmer.
Incidentally, Matsunaka also said that he will not invite Keisuke Kaneko to Guam and will instead take Nobuhiro Matsuda and Yusuke Kosai. Matsunaka was working with Kaneko over the last 5 off-seasons, but Kaneko has not shown any signs of improvement.
"I won't be taking him. I want him to stand on his own two feet," said Matsunaka. "He isn't putting up any results. He needs to be more self-aware. Matsuda and Kosai do."
...The Hawks will likely assign Bum-Ho Lee the number 8, which is a lucky number in Korea.
...Munenori Kawasaki will likely be looking for a 1-year deal.
...Ryohei Kawamoto met with the Swallows' front office for over an hour on Thursday and left the meeting red-faced and upset. He put the Swallows' offer on hold and said, "I'm sorry for being the first hold-out. But they didn't seem to think my performance was good despite the tough situation I was playing in."
The Swallows apparently offered Kawamoto a contract worth 19M yen (down 1M yen).
Yokohama Bay Stars
...Rui Makino has decided to retire and has already landed a job as BP pitcher for the Yokohama Bay Stars.
Makino attended the 12-team tryouts at Koshien in November, but did not draw any interest from teams.
...Daisuke Ochi will be training in Hawaii during the off-season. It'll be the first time in his career that he'll be training on his own outside of Japan.
...The Giants re-signed:
Noriyoshi Ohmichi - 27M yen (down 3M yen) nikkansports
Kentaro Nishimura - 28M yen (down 8M yen) nikkansports