Updates on Toshiya Sugiuchi from 12/20/2011:
- The Yomiuri Giants did a solid job convincing and wowing Sugiuchi during their three meetings: they had Tatsunori Hara call during their first meeting, presented him with the number 18 during their second meeting, and finished with a phone call from Shigeo Nagashima during their third meeting.
- The team will officially introduce Sugiuchi during a press conference on 12/23.
- Softbank negotiations: the Hawks' changed the person in charge of negotiating with Sugiuchi partway through the current season. After offering a four-year deal worth 1.6B yen (incentive-based), the Hawks matched the Yomiuri Giants' offer (four-year deal worth 2B yen; non-incentive-based). Acting owner Kazuhiko Kasai also promised to change the Hawks' salary assessment system during the meeting on 12/14.
- When Sugiuchi was asked if he would have stayed if there were no problems during negotiations last year, he replied, "That was not the only reason, but it did give me cause (push me in that direction)."
Nikkan Sports is carrying the following comments from Suiguchi:
What did you tell [the Softbank Hawks]?
I told them that this was going to be my last year with them. They thanked me for all the victories I provided them the last ten years.
Can you tell us how you arrived at your decision?
Until last year, I never thought about becoming a free agent. Something happened last year that changed my mind. But president [Kazuhiko] Kasai and owner [Masayoshi] Son told me they would not let me go anywhere else and then the fans asking me to stay during the parade. It made me uncertain when I was initially 90% set on joining the Giants.
Have you already told your teammates and [Koji] Akiyama?
I told chairman [Sadaharu] Oh two days ago and the manager yesterday. Chairman Oh said that my baseball career was going to become richer. I also heard from [Hiroki] Kokubo and [Nobuhiko] Matsunaka.
Your agent cried too.
Of course he cried. We never thought it was going to end like this.
Sanspo is carrying a different set of comments, likely taken at a different time:
What was the deciding factor?
I wanted to play for a team that I could sink all my energy into. I also felt like putting on the number 18.
Your thoughts on the number 18.
I do feel a lot of pressure, but I would like to turn that pressure into something positive. I plan to be prepared to bear the burden.
Your thoughts on [Tetsuya] Utsumi.
We played on the same WBC team and we practiced together. I think I have a pretty good idea of what kind of person he is. I think competing against each other will work out well and I would like to do my best not to be beat.