Interesting reports have gone up today about the three for two trade that sent Yoshio Itoi from the Nippon Ham Fighter to the Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday.
A Sanspo article, The Reporters Eye: Nippon Ham's Calculations, discusses how the Fighters may have decided to trade Itoi because he wanted to posted. They likely factored in his salary for this season, the drop in attendance last season, and whether or not they would be able to recoup the cost with the posting fee. Also factored into the condition: possible changes to the posting system structure that may lower/limit the amount that goes to NPB teams.
Additionally, there may have been concerns about a thinning infield with the departure of Kensuke Tanaka and an uncertain Makoto Kaneko. Keiji Obiki was apparently the Fighters' main target.
With the trade, the Fighters' payroll dropped to third and Orix moved up to second. Softbank sits atop the PL with the highest payroll (unsurprisingly).
Incidentally, Itoi reportedly asked for a raise of over 10% when contract negotiations with the Fighters resumed earlier this month.
Source: Sanspo 1/24/2013
Nikkan Sports mentions that Itoi may have asked to be traded if the Fighters could not agree to post him. They also note that the Fighters now have the option of moving 1st round draft pick Shohei Otani to the outfield, a position the youngster is more familiar with.
Source: Nikkan Sports 1/24/2013
Sports Hochi notes that the Buffaloes do not plan on posting Itoi after this season and perhaps not even after the next season.
Said team official Yoshio Murayama, "We need to sit down and talk to [Itoi], but we first want him to work hard to reach the top with our team. We also do not think he will [ask to be posted] after his first year."
A different team official added, "There is nothing in his contract that says we have to post him. Even if he wants to be posted, there is no way the organization will approve after the first year."
Sponichi notes that the trade likely came to fruition after the Fighters looked to the future and saw what might happen to the team if they did not trade Itoi, especially after he said he wanted to be posted.
Factoring into this was their policy of not wanting to force players to stay with their organization, whether it be through free agency or via posting. That meant having to post Itoi after the season and losing another player without gaining any able bodies in return.
Source: Sponichi 1/24/2013