The Yomiuri Giants met with Toshiya Sugiuchi's (31) agent today and offered the number 18.
"The Giants are fully prepared to take Sugiuchi in and they are now [physically] showing it. I even got some goosebumps," said Tatsuma Sakai, Sugiuchi's agent.
He then added, "I will speak to [Sugiuchi] over the weekend and would like to see a decision made sometime early next week."
A different report has the following slightly different set of quotes from Sakai: "The stage has been set for [Sugiuchi] to devote [the rest of his career to] Yomiuri. ... [The question is now] does he move on to become the successor to the number 18, or does he stay to see the number 47 become a retired number. I want to carefully talk things over with Sugiuchi."
Yomiuri Giants GM Atsushi Harasawa was quoted as saying, "it is a number with history and tradition. We would like him to add to that history."
Before presenting the number, the team contacted previous players that wore it and asked for their opinions/blessings -- Harasawa contacted Tsuneo Horiuchi and Masumi Kuwata while Tatsunori Hara contacted Motoshi Fujita's wife. The number has not been worn since Kuwata left the team after the 2006 season.