Hiroyuki Kobayashi recently earned his international FA rights. And it now seems as though he will be exercising those rights during the off-season. While he toed the usual company line of, "it's in the middle of the season so I want to focus on that right now" response to questions about his future, it seems someone close to the situation told the media that Kobayashi still has a strong desire to pitch in the Majors and will likely take a shot at testing the international FA waters after the season.
Kobayashi has been talking about playing in the Majors since the 2007 off-season. Those feelings likely grew stronger as fellow teammates Masahide Kobayashi and Yasuhiko Yabuta headed off to the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals, respectively for the 2008 season.
Kobayashi also had a chance to move to another team during the recent off-season, even getting a number of offers from other clubs, but likely decided to stick with the Marines so that the clock on his FA option wouldn't get "reset."