Some more updates from the story about the Yomiuri GIants handing out bonuses that were over the suggested cap:
Hirofumi Hirano (Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) was asked to comment on the incident and said that it was not his place to make any concrete statements and that he wanted the teams and the NPB to work through the issues accordingly. He also said that most people tend to feel that fans will drift away if only the strong teams get stronger.
Yomiuri chairman Tsuneo Watanabe did not make himself available to the media on Thursday.
Asahi Shimbun found a basic memo (loose agreement) from 1998 that had the Yomiuri Giants promising to give then Kinki University manager a 20M yen sub-contracting gig after retirement. The Giants response: "We did not pay any money. We are not sure if such an agreement actually existed since it is from so long ago." Kinki University also responded: "We do not know what kind of agreements individuals make. As far as the university is concerned, there were no violations in work regulations."
The Giants are speaking to the authorities about the leaked documents.
Team president Tsunekazu Momoi's comments on the leaked documents: "I am sure this is the same for any team, but anything related to player contracts is at all times securely stored away. It is a very private matter. In our case, contract documents are securely stored in a safe with the head of the accounting department. Not even members of the accounting department have access. The only other people that have access, other than the head of the accounting department, is the team president and team rep. If that is the case and the documents have leaked out, that can only lead to suspicions that there was likely some sort of violation."
Nikkan Sports has posted a more in-depth Q&A with team president Momoi:
What do you want from Asahi Shimbun?
We want them to publish a written apology in their paper. We have not broken any rules and it is something from ten years ago. I have no idea what they are trying to accomplish by reporting something like this.
Were the bonuses above 150M yen?
I can not say. The contracts we sign with players are private so I can not talk about them.
Putting aside the question as to whether or not the reported 600M and 1B bonuses are actually correct, there are some fans that might feel the bonuses are too much.
The reported 600M and 1B bonuses are called into question. Generally speaking, if a player has that kind of talent, then they should be paid that amount. What kind of price tag is placed on a player is up to each individual team.
You should make a correction.
But we can not offer a correction because we can not say whether or not the amounts are correct. Even with regular contract negotiations we have never disclosed contract information. I can not name names, but there have even been reports asking why certain players are getting a certain amount of money.
What are your thoughts on the suggested caps?
There are some that feel suggested caps are suggested caps and that it is ok to go over them depending on the person, but there are a lot of financial things teams consider.
Does it do anything to help keep salaries from getting too high?
There might be something about trying to keep salaries from getting too high, but I think it is also just a guideline for how much rookie players should make.
Have you asked Asahi Shimbun about where they got the leaked documents?
I will not ask them that. I am a newspaper man myself. I can asked them about sources.
What do team owner Kojiro Shiraishi and team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe think?
There were no violations in the rules so this was not something that needed to be discussed with people like Shiraishi and Watanabe.
Comments from other team representatives, as reported by Sanspo:
Nobuo Minami, Hanshin Tigers President: "Looking at the whole picture, the Giants have not broken any rules. If you were to ask if what they did was good or bat, I can not say what they did was bad. There is nothing more I can really say."
Tsuyoshi Kinugasa, Yakult Swallows President, Acting Owner: "I am not in any position to say anything about another team. I did confirm with veteran employees that our team did not do anything like this."
Kiyoshi Nakahata, Yokohama Bay Stars Manager: "I can not see the point in digging up a story like this now. This is frustrating as a baseball-person. We are all working so hard right now. Being put into this kind of situation is really upsetting."
Noriaki Iida, Seibu Lions Managing Director: "As an organization, we received a warning from then commissioner Yasuchika Negoro in 2007. We took that warning seriously and have worked on maintaining compliance [with the rules]."
Yoshio Murayama, Orix Buffaloes General Manager: "We do not know all the details since this has something to do with another team. I would like to refrain from making any comments."
Nikkan Sports has posted the following comment from Hiroshima Carp owner, Hajime Matsuda:
At the time the cap limit was not a part of the rules and there was an understanding that it was just a guideline. If you were to ask if everyone was trying to abide by it, then I think I would say not so much. We may have never handed out bonuses that went over the limit, but that may have something to do with our financial standing. The draft has undergone a lot of changes and with trial and error, it has reached what it has become now. Right now, every team abides by the rules and everything is working as we would like it to. I can not understand why things from the past are being dragged out now."