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Shohei Otani News and Notes: December 4, 2012

by on Dec.04, 2012 @ 12:16 pm, under NPB

[If you are looking for more Otani information, be sure to check the Shohei Otani tag]

Updates on Shohei Otani, from December 4, 2012.


  • Monday's meeting lasted about forty minutes.
  • Hideki Kuriyama wore Otani's school colors during their last meeting.  This time around, he apparently focused on color of the family dog (beige).
  • He will most likely choose to sign with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
  • He will likely get the max contract: 15M yen, 100M yen bonus, 50M yen incentives.
  • He was offered the number eleven.
  • He had two concerns: 1) he was not sure how he could begin his career as both a batter and pitcher (like what happens if he hits and does not get a chance to pitch), and 2) he was worried about what might happen if he were to change his mind about going straight away to the Majors.
  • With regards to point 2, Kuriyama said to reporters, "This is the organization's fault and my fault [because we forced the pick], so it is up to us to do what we can to help, to create a playing environment that is good for him.  It will not be on Otani, it will be on us."
  • Otani's father feels his son is smiling a little more during discussions with the Fighters.

Bottom line: Otani is leaning toward signing with the Fighters.

Source: Sanspo 12/4/2012, Sanspo 12/4/2012

Nikkan Sports...

  • Kuriyama feels it is his responsibility to protect Otani.
  • Kuriyama is quoted as saying, "If he is going to play in Japan, then I will take on whatever burden [comes from that].  This is the organization's fault and my fault.  I want to create a playing environment that is easy for him to play in.  The most important thing here is Otani's future.  I think others feel the same way.  This is about what is best for him.  And it is up to the adults to help create a path for him."
  • When Kuriyama shook Otani's hand and said, "I will be looking forward to hearing good news from you," the high schooler let slip a smile.
  • The Fighters gave Otani the number eleven, Yu Darvish's old number, because they want him to know that they are serious about him becoming a pitcher.  In other words, he need not worry about starting his career as both a hitter and pitcher and ending up just a hitter because he does not get many chances to pitch.
  • If anyone is to blame for Otani changing his mind about the Majors, it is the organization and Kuriyama, not Otani.  As such, the organization and Kuriyama intend to take full responsibility.
  • The Fighters offered Otani the max contract.

Bottom line: Otani is leaning towards signing with the Fighters.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/4/2012, Nikkan Sports 12/4/2012

Sports Hochi...

  • The meeting started at 6:00pm and lasted about forty minutes.
  • The Fighters' GM Masao Yamada, scouting director Takashi Ofuchi, and Kuriyama attended the meeting with Otani's parents.
  • Hanamaki Higashi High School manager Hiroshi Sasaki is apparently already getting some flak about Otani changing his mind.  Otani is worried about creating problems for domestic teams and MLB teams.
  • The Fighters see Otani as two players: a hitter and a pitcher.
  • Yamada said they did not talk about posting.

Bottom line: Otani is open to signing with the Fighters.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/4/2012


  • The Fighters see Otani as two players.  They are still not sure how he will appear on the player registry.
  • The Fighters could...  During games he pitches, they allow him to bat; during games he does not pitch, he plays as a position player.
  • Otani apparently felt comfortable about starting his career with the Fighters because they have an established development program.
  • Had a team other than the Fighters selected Otani, he would probably be on his way to the States.
  • Kuriyama wore glasses with a gold edges, a muffler with gold lines, and gold/beige colored undershirt and underpants.  He apparently selected the color of the family dog, a golden retriever named Ace, to symbolize becoming a part of the family.

Bottom line: Otani will likely sign with the Fighters.

Source: Sponichi 12/4/2012, Sponichi 12/4/2012, Sponichi 12/4/2012, Sponichi 12/4/2012

Other sources:


UPDATE @ 11:05pm - Sponichi posted portions of Kuriyama's interactions with the media on Monday.

On your meeting today...

It is not like Otani asked us to come.  There were things he wanted to confirm and we came here to explain them.

How do you think the meeting went?

We are doing this because we have believe.  I believed he would come [to Nippon Ham] from the very start.  We are moving forward with that mindset.

The organization offered the number eleven.

More than the number eleven itself, it seems he was happiest that we think highly of him as a pitcher.

If he signs, what about starting as both a hitter and pitcher?

He will of course do both.  I think he can do.

Is negotiating with the express idea of allowing him to move elsewhere in the future against the baseball agreement?

Who knows what will happen in the future.  We are not really talking about things with the assumption that he will go to the Majors.  But if he does have that dream, we want to help him toward it.

It seems the school has received some flak.

If he decides to play in Japan, then it is the organization's fault and my fault.  If his decision causes problems for other involved, then it is on us.  We want to do our best to create a good playing environment for him.

Source: Sponichi 12/4/2012

5 comments on “Shohei Otani News and Notes: December 4, 2012

  1. Chris

    Ok, I have to ask. What’s with Kuriyama and the colors he dresses in? Does this have a special meaning? In America I don’t think anybody would notice or care about this, it seems very strange to me.

    1. Steve Novosel

      I think he’s just trying to show how much the Fighters are thinking about the details of his life.

      This is a fantastic bit of work by the Fighters. Amazing. The rest of NPB should learn from this master class in self-promotion and marketing.

    2. Chris

      Totally agreed there Steve. As a Fighters fan, I never thought they’d pull this off. After Sugano last year, I figured they were shooting themselves in the foot again with a 1st round pick. Nothing is certain yet, let’s just keep our fingers crossed. If all goes well, wanna take a guess at what jersey I will be wearing next season???

      Of course, there will only be one true number 11 for me…

  2. Steve Novosel

    Seems like Otani would be a good DH candidate. He bats for himself in his starts and for the other pitchers as well. Could be a very team-unifying type of position. How many pitchers can say they help the team on their off days?

  3. DrMiraculous

    as regards the colors of Kuriyama’s dressing – he was asked by a reporter after the first meeting about why he chose the color tie he wore. Kuriyama told them that it was simply because it matched his underpants. I think he is having a bit of fun with the media reporters by telling them the colors are chosen for this reason or that, and the reporters are simply reporting it since everyone is so desperate for news!

Comments are closed.