The Hanshin Tigers meeting with Tsuyoshi Nishioka started after 2:00pm today and lasted about hour. When Nishioka spoke to reporters he said that the Tigers were the very first team to contact him when he became a free agent. Source: Daily Sports 11/9/2012
The Tigers offered Nishioka the number seven. He plans to make a decision this month and said that he spoke to more than three teams (Lotte, Orix, Hanshin). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2012
Daily Sports has posted the Q&A from Nishioka's press conference. It is long so I took the liberty to select ones I felt might be of interest:
Hanshin was probably the first team to contact you, did you sense how strongly they felt about you?
When I became a free agent over there, there were indeed the first team to contact me. They do seem very interested and I appreciate that.
Regarding negotiations, did they put anything concrete on the table?
I asked them to lay out all their terms and I said nothing in return. Just as with the other teams, I decided to accept whatever was proposed. But I feel [the Tigers] offered me a very good deal.
So were you feel satisfied?
It is not so much about satisfaction. At no time did I feel there were conditions I needed to have. I paid a lot of attention toward how teams plan on using me and whether or not they really have a need for me.
Did they say anything that left an impression?
They said they would wait for me at the wonderful Koshien, along with the fans. They said they wanted me to help them take down the Giants. We spoke for a while and a lot of words were exchanged. In the end, I felt they needed me.
What about the uniform number?
When I played in Japan, I wore the number seven. When I went over to the US, I wore the number one. I do not have any strong desire for a single-digit number. But GM [Katsuhiro] Nakamura offered to give me the number seven, but another player is wearing that number right now. I want to think things through and do as the team wishes.
What about your position?
We only talked about terms so I am not sure, but I told them that I have only played second and short. And just as with the other teams, I told them I did not a guaranteed starting position.
Your impression of the Tigers?
When I came [into the this room], I noticed the difference in the number of media and how much coverage they get. I went to Koshien to watch games when I was younger and I think they are a team that gets a lot of attention.
When will you decide by?
Every team has moved into the off-season and is preparing for the next season. I do not think this is something that will be decided today or tomorrow. I would like to, at the very least, decide some time this month and inform the teams.
Any additional negotiations?
I have already decided I would sit down with each team once. I do not plan on asking for anything. I accept their proposals then they tell me how much they need me and in what capacity. I want to decide based on that information.
Now that you have spoken to three teams, has anything changed?
Changes in my feelings... Just as I said after my Lotte press conference, I am keeping my feelings flat. There is a part of me that feels uncertain with the media pushing ahead and writing things. There may be times when I am surprised by what is written.
Do you feel as if you have been able to narrow things down a bit?
It has not been mentioned, but I have spoken to a number of other teams. I sat down not just with these three teams but also with others and listened to their offers. Today marks the end of my meetings and now I am at the point where I must decide. I think I am lucky to be in this kind of situation and I could not put up any results in America. I recognized my lack in ability and I am here now because I want to start over from scratch. I want to consider everything and select the team I want to play for.
[Post-press conference Q&A]
What about the playing at positions other than second and short?
I may be asked to play a position other than second and short, but I do not think it is necessary to have a guaranteed position. If I can not put up results, then teams should not use me since they probably have other players. I want teams to do that. This is a competitive market. It has nothing to do with the contract. Japan has a different style that is unlike America. Japan is also about more than the contract. I do not want to break that tradition. If I let them baby me, then I think my career as a player will end sooner. I think I would rather not received that kind of condition.
The team that has not been mentioned is a team in Japan?
Have you not met directly with the teams that have not been mentioned?
No, I have met them. I have also spoken to some over the phone. But I have left it up to each of the team to decide whether or not they inform the media. I think there are also teams situations to consider.
Do you feel distress with this decision?
I am already feeling a little distressed. But I said I wanted to get this settled this month and even though this will be a difficult decision, it is good to be in this kind of situation. So not much distress, since I think I am lucky.
Are you currently working out?
I am practicing. That is my job. There is nothing else for me to do.
Source: Daily Sports 11/9/2012
And earlier this morning, Nikkan Sports reported that the Hanshin Tigers may have prepared a two-year deal worth 600M yen. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2012