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Hiroyuki Kobayashi decides to sign with the Hanshin Tigers

by on Jan.20, 2011 @ 1:48 pm, under NPB

UPDATE 1/21 @ 1:16am

Seems like it's a 2-year deal worth a total 500M yen.

UPDATE @ 6:00pm

Sanspo has comments taken from Kobyashi after his negotiations with the Tigers today:

Your thoughts now that negotiations are over?

I  feel relieved.  I want to focus on doing my best for the Tigers now.  I've pretty much decided to go with them.

What made you decide on the Tigers?

They've been pushing hard to sign me.  And that really struck me.  Being able to play for a team that needs you is a great feeling.

What will your role be with the Tigers?

I think it'll be to provide a solid bridge to Kyuji Fujikawa.  I'd like to compete for that spot and win it.

Your thoughts on Koshien...

They were an opponent up to now, but to think the fans at Koshien will now be on my side gives me strength.  It's a good park to pitch in.

Your negotiations with team in the US...

Fact is, I didn't get any good offers.  I decided to give up because I couldn't agree to any of them.  I couldn't get an MLB level deal.  But I've already switched gears.  In order to help this team win a championship, I'll play as if my life were on the line.

UPDATE @ 5:44pm

Kobayashi apparently received 8 offers from MLB teams, all of which were either minor league deals or split contracts.

UPDATE @ 4:55pm

The Marines want only money compensation for losing Kobayashi since they don't really have enough spots on the roster for another player.

1:48pm JST

The Hanshin Tigers end-game just got a little stronger.

Hiroyuki Kobayashi has decided to join the Hanshin Tigers.

No word on the actual contract yet, but it's probably a multi-year deal.

And at this point, it appears the end-game trio (made up of Tomoyuki Kubota, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, and Kyuji Fujikawa) will be called the KKF.

===

Sanspo is carrying comments that were taken from Kobayashi yesterday:

How's your shoulder?

It's feeling good.  I still have 4 days of training left [in Ishigakijima] and will keep working out at the same pace.

Does that mean you'll be ready for spring camp?

Yeah, that's what I need to do.

Do you tend to throw a lot during spring camp?

Not really.  I tend to like pitching in game-like situations instead of the bullpen.

Does that mean you also don't throw much before games?

No, I throw before games.  Before games, I usually throw all my pitches to the inside and outside.  And that means I throw quite a lot.  That alone is probably about 30-40 pitches.

Will you be throwing all your pitches during the first half of spring camp?

I started with my fastball first.  I want to make sure I can throw the hard pitches first.

You said today was an off-day and that you only did light workouts, but did you actually do more?

Right.  (While looking toward his trainer)  He really runs a tight ship.

You'll be meeting the Tigers tomorrow...

They've been after me for a long time.  There was also talk about meeting in Ishigakijima, but since they have been waiting for me, I thought it best if I went to see them.  You know, go to Osaka and meet the manager and the president.

Do you have an idea of what you're going to say?

I'm thinking I'd like to do my best with the Tigers.  I took time mulling this over, but I think playing for a team that really wants you is something all players want.  I feel good about this.

When did you decide?

Today.

What made you decide on the Tigers?

They strong desire to sign me.  Being able to play for a team that really wants you is the number 1 thing all players want.

Did you discuss this with anyone?

No.  This was my problem.

Will you still try for the Majors?

I'm not thinking about that right now.  And that would be disrespecting the Tigers.  Depending on how you look at things, it's all the same game of baseball.

So you're ready to play for the Tigers?

Yes.

The club really considers you an important piece in winning a championship.

I need to work hard.  And if I can help the team win, that would be great.  If we taken each win on by one, we can focus on winning the CL and winning the Nippon Series.  That part doesn't change.

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