According to Sanspo report, NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato has been tasked to select the WBC manager. Kato has been quoted as saying that any potential candidate should 1) be able to persuade Japanese MLB players to join the team, 2) be logical and not impulsive, 3) be able to win.
Possible candidates include Hiromitsu Ochiai, Sadaharu Oh, Tatsunori Hara, and Koji Akiyama.
Of these four, Ochiai appears to be the leading candidate:
- An unnamed NPB source is quoted as saying, "Commission Kato thinks highly of Ochiai's approach to baseball and ability to lead a team."
- Ochiai remains a popular figure after leaving the Chunichi Dragons' organization, which could help with merchandising opportunities (separate from the WBC).
- The NPB is currently thinking about scheduling friendly exhibition games against Australia and Cuba in November. That would not give active managers much time to prepare since they may be involved in the Nippon Series.
The one problem with Ochiai at this point appears to be the unwillingness he displayed when it came to sending Chunichi players to the second WBC.
Kato is currently expected to make an official announcement of his final decision in October.
In other related news, the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association could reach a final decision on the WBC during a meeting on July 20. Source: Sanspo 6/20/2012