Thirty-five-year-old Kosuke Fukudome has reportedly turned down the Yokohama Bay Stars. Fukudome is expected to sign with the Hanshin Tigers.
According to Nikkan Sports, Fukudome had ended contract negotiations with all teams on the 23rd to gather his thoughts and discuss options with his agent and his management company. The offers on the tables were all pretty much the same, but, according to some close to the discussions, the Tigers had the lead because of the natural grass at Koshien Stadium and because of sincerity. The Hanshin organization also apparently managed to make some improvement to their original offer: two years guaranteed at 150 million a year, club option for the third year with buyout, and incentives that could push the total value of the deal to 750 million yen.
Sponichi places the max total of the deal at 600 million yen (base 150 million yen plus up to 50 million yen in incentives each year). They also note that Fukudome ultimately chose the Tigers because they decided to ease the requirements on the incentives. Hanshin could make an announcement of the deal as early as today.
Daily Sports mentions that Fukudome's agent phoned GM Shigeru Takada at around 1:00pm today to turn down Yokohama's offer. The Bay Stars are now expected to shift their attention to foreign outfielders. Daily Sports also figures the max total of deal to be 600 million yen over three years (buyout available in third year). They mention terms, sincerity, and intensity as reasons why Fukudome selected the Tigers over the Bay Stars.
UPDATE @ 6:47pm - Tigers informed reporters today that team president Nobuo Minami was informed of Fukudome's intent to sign with the team. Source: Sponichi 12/25/2012
UPDATE @ 9:28pm - GM Katsuhiro Nakamura on Fukudome: "Perhaps Koshien was the reason why he picked [Hanshin]. I think he agreed with the goal of taking down the Giants at [Koshien]. His ability to hit will be a big plus." Source: Nikkan Sports 12/25/2012