Kenta Maeda became the quickest Carp to reach the 100M yen mark (out of high school and in his 5th year) on Monday when he signed for 120M yen (plus a 30M yen bonus for his titles). The previous record of 6th year was set by Tomonori Maeda. He's also just the 8th player out of high school in (NPB history) to reach the 100M yen market in his 5th year.
Maeda also made three promises: be the opening day pitcher; match the number of wins he records to his uniform number (18); and become the type of pitcher that can be considered Japan's ace.
Chugoku Shimbun is carrying comments from Maeda's press conference:
What are you thoughts on becoming the quickest Carp to the 100M yen mark?
I'm happy my name is now a part of Carp history. Hitting the 100M mark was one of my goals when I turned pro. My performance this past season was slightly above my expectations. I'm doing a good job so far of putting together good seasons.
What kinds of negotiations did you have with the club?
I asked what would have happened if I had the same numbers without the titles. They told me their offer wouldn't change. They really thought highly of my season.
How will you spend the off-season?
This is an off-season like no other, my schedule is packed. My pants feel a little big, so I think I've lost some weight. But I finished the event portion of my schedule yesterday. I'll return to Osaka now and slowly get back into a training routine.
What are your plans now?
Just like every year, I'll head to Okinawa for my training in January. I'll hit the bullpen once spring camp starts. My responsibilities have increased. I want to go in strong and pitch well enough so that I'm trusted 100%.
In other team news:
Kiyoshi Toyoda told reporters that he plans on starting over from scratch for the 2011 season. On Tuesday, Toyoda worked out (doing things like running sprints, playing catch, and lifting weights) at Giants Stadium.
Said Toyoda, "I don't pick where I'll play. I just need to do whatever I can to help the team win. I have nothing to lose. I want to start fresh."