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Shohei Otani updates from October 24 -
The Nippon Ham Fighters held an organizational meeting at the Ni-gun facilities on Tuesday. During the meeting, they confirmed their plans to select Otani with their first pick.
"It is Otani-kun. I am planning to select the best player available. ... Otani-kun commented that he wanted to play for an MLB team, but our plan is to select the best player. We plan to select Otani-kun. ... We understand that Otani-kun has strong feelings for the majors. Even if we do get rights to negotiate with him, I am not confident [we can sign him]. However, we will not step down." said GM Masao Yamada.
Yamada also told reporters he decided to go public with the pick because he felt it might not be good to "surprise" him with the selection.
Source: Sanspo 10/24/2012
The Fighters understand the risks involved, especially after they failed to sign their first pick, Tomoyuki Sugano, last year. But they have been following Otani since his first year and feel he is the best player available in this year's draft and their goal has always been to select the top player with the first pick.
"It is not about selecting players we know we can sign, but rather selecting the number one player. That is what the draft is about and what our scouting is about," said GM Yamada.
Team official and Hideki Kuriyama are scheduled to meet today to finalize the decision.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/24/2012
The Fighters could try to persuade Otani by offering him Yu Darvish's old uniform number. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/24/2012
The Fighters could have remained quiet on their pick, like they were last year with Sugano, but they decided to go public because they did not want to hide anything and because they want Otani and his manager to understand their feelings.
"We could have done what we did with Sugano and selected Otani on draft day, but we were not sure if a surprise would be good. We want take this challenge on and stand without hiding our thoughts. We would like Otani-kun and his manager to understand where we are coming from," said GM Yamada.
He added, "I have heard this will be very difficult. I am not confident [we can change his mind]. I understand his feelings and I have no idea what will happen once he is selected."
If the Fighters do select Otani and he turns them down, they will become the first team two lose their first round draft picks two years in a row since the Hanshin Tigers in 1974 (Masaaki Koga) and 1975 (Yoshio Adachi 足立義男?).
Source: Sports Hochi 10/24/2012
The Fighters are planning to select Otani with their first pick on Thursday.
"Every year we select the best player. We have kept to that plan. We plan to [stick to that plan by] selecting Otani this year. We do not want to move away from that plan. He has already informed everyone of his desires, so it will be a battle against the Majors, or maybe more just being open with our feelings," said GM Yamada.
Source: Sponichi 10/24/2012
Sponichi has posted the Q&A with Yamada:
You will select [Otani] with your first pick?
Yes. With our number one pick. We could have been quiet about the pick, like we were last year with Sugano, but we decided to be open and follow our original plans. That is why we announced it today.
Did you decide during the scout meeting?
It was more or less decided. There are no differences in opinion within the organization. We have always select the best player every year. And so it is. It will be a little difficult though.
Chances of signing him seem very slim.
I guess you can say that we do not feeling like pulling out [just because of his press conference] and you never know how things will be.
It would appear as if his mind is set.
We did think about that. We understand his feelings. But that is also why we do not know what will happen. As an organization, we feel he is worth it.
What kind of advantage is there in announcing the pick?
Not much really. We are just showing that there is nothing going on in the background. We are taking this challenge and we are not hiding anything.
Do you think your work with Darvish will help?
Not just Darvish, but all our young player, our number one picks out of high school, are all making good progress. I do have confidence in that area.
Source: Sponichi 10/24/2012