UPDATE @ 9:00pm
Sports Hochi claims that Kobayashi's 2-year deal is worth 450M yen.
UPDATE @ 4:46pm
Sanspo has a few more comments taken from Hiroyuki Kobayashi after his press conference yesterday:
Please tell us again why you chose the Tigers.
They were really sincere. Playing for a team that wants you is something every player wants. And I think it makes it worthwhile.
What did Mayumi tell you?
That he had high expectations and that he was confident in me.
Did your role come up during your negotiations?
Yes. In front of Kyuji [Fujikawa]? Yes.
Your impression of the Kansai region?
Can't really say since I've never lived here (laughing)
What about Koshien?
It's a good place to pitch. I also like the mound.
Which team do you want to avoid losing to?
I have to go with the Dragons. They did win the CL last year.
Where are Chunichi's strengths?
They have a solid ground of pitchers.
You've also pitched well against the Giants.
The stronger the opponent, the greater the reward.
The Giants have a strong line-up.
Yeah, they do have a nice line-up. They have players like [Alex] Ramirez and Shinnosuke [Abe]. I think they've got a great line-up.
What'll be important in keeping them down?
It's to pitch my game. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. As long as I'm pitching my game [things will be ok].
Your thoughts on Jojima?
I think he's a great catcher.
Will you improve with your new team?
It's a change of scenery. I'd like to that very much. I can play baseball from a new perspective, so I'm looking forward to it.
Which number would you like?
I do tend to favor [the number 41]. But another player on the team is currently wearing it.
Will you be returning to Ishigakijima?
Yes, I will.
Akinobu Mayumi's comments regarding the pick-up:
He's the one player we wanted, the one player that really fits. We looked forward to this day. I'm really relieved. This gives me confidence.
It isn't about getting all three pitchers (Kubota, Kobayashi, Fujikawa) into games in order to win, but about creating a little breathing room so that we can rest one of the three pitchers so that we can keep them fresh over the course of a full season. So instead of thinking about this as extra competition, I'm thinking about this is a way to relieve the strain.
Using Kobayashi as a closer? Maybe once in a while. Up until now, we had Fujikawa closing out games we needed to win, regardless of whether or not it was a save situation. If it's a situation where we can rest Fujikawa. We also need to think about Kubota. We usually have Kubota and Fujikawa pitching in a lot of the games we're winning. But the more good pitchers we have, the less we'll rely on others.
Takahiro Arai told reporters he'll do his job to make Kobayashi feel at home:
Already decided? That's great. I think I'll invite him to dinner during camp. I can also fill him in on things he doesn't know.
He's really a great guy. I've worked with him before and that's why we talk a lot now.
Arai played alongside Kobayashi during the 2006 WBC and the 2007 Beijing Olympics Asia Qualifier.
The Hanshin Tigers will begin working on their protected player list in case the Chiba Lotte Marines opt to go with player + money compensation. Chiba Lotte Marines' team director, Akira Ishikawa, told reporters that the team hasn't officially decided what it wanted to do yet, but that it they decided to go with player + money compensation, they would need to decide soon. Ishikawa also said that the team would need to see the Tigers' protected player list before making any decisions. Daily Sports figures the Marines could be in the market for either an infielder or pitcher.
Giants' owner Takuo Takihana made a reference to the Kubota, Kobayashi, Fujikawa trio as the "Triple K" in comments to reporters yesterday.