Takeya Nakamura's meeting with the Seibu Lions on Thursday lasted about 50 minutes. The team is not known for handing out multi-year deals, but with Nakamura set to earn his domestic FA option some time next season, they decided to take the necessary measures to make sure he remains for at least three seasons.
Said GM Haruhiko Suzuki, "[Nakamura] is special. The multi-year deal shows that we want him to stay. There is no one else in Japan that can hit as many homers and drive in as many runs. He is number one."
According to Sponichi, the Lions gave Kazuhisa Ishii a two-year deal to join them after the 2007 season. They also offered Kazuo Matsui a four-year deal after the 2003 season, but he ended up leaving for the Majors.
Sanspo is carrying the following comments taken during Nakamura's press conference on Thursday:
What are your thoughts now that negotiations are over?
I think they thought highly of the home run and RBI titles I won this season, in addition to all the homes I hit despite the new baseball.
You got a big three-year deal worth 1B yen...
I felt really wanted me when they offered such a big contract, even though I have not yet earned my FA option.
Are you satisfied with the two titles you won?
I think I was able to do ok, though it seems others had trouble. I was two homers away from 50. I was not really satisfied about that. If I can hit one more home run a month, I will get there.
There's a good chance [Hiroyuki] Nakajima will be leaving...
I think those shoes will be tough to fill. I want to do what I can to help fill them.
[Takumi] Kuriyama became captain and chairman of the team's player's group...
Kuriyama knows how to be a leader. I am vice chairman so I will approach the season as if I were vice captain. Everyone, please give Kuriyama one third of the space you plan to give me.