Masahiro Yamamoto (47), Takeshi Yamasaki (43), Hitoki Iwase (37), and Kenshin Kawakami (37) are all planning to continue their active careers next season. The media learned on Monday that the Chunichi Dragons met all four and broached the topic of retirement.
Team president Katsuhiko Sakai, team rep Ryohei Sato, and chief of team developement Takashi Ide met each of the players at a hotel in Nagoya on October 31. They pushed each to continue playing in 2013. They also said they planned to approach each of them during the season next year to discuss their future plans.
Said Sato, "Retirement did come up. We asked what they thought about it. We want them to consider becoming coaches at some point."
Bottom line, it seems the Dragons do not want to dance around the issue and want to keep things open.
Yamamoto and Yamasaki were uncertain about their futures before they decided to commit to 2013. The other two are still probably a couple years away from retirement: Iwase led the league in saves this year and Kawakami just finished year one of his NPB comeback.
UPDATE @ 10:15pm - Nikkan Sports has a quote from Sato that explains what the Dragons are trying to do.
"We cannot just think a player's career is over and assume they know what we are thinking. It also is not good for the player to be in a situation where they might not know if it is ok for them to stick around or they are not sure about what to do. I just said that beginning next year, we should speak openly about these things and not assume/suspect what the other is thinking."
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/2/2012