Kenta Meada met the Hiroshima Carp today for salary negotiations and informed them of his desire to one day play in the Majors. In speaking to reporters, the twenty-five-year-old Hiroshima ace said, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would like to give it a shot when I feel the time is right for me."
[UPDATE @ 9:53pm]
Sports Hochi has posted a portion of the press conference:
Did you tell the team you were interested [in the Majors]?
It would be a lie if I said I did not want to go. It has come up in normal conversations in the past. It would be nice if I can give back to the team [with the posting fee].
When did you start thinking about [the Majors]?
It it something I have thought about for quite some time. The feelings grew stronger after I had a decent outing during the WBC.
When would you like to try?
I do not know how things will go, but I would like to go when I am in a good place. I only have one baseball career. I do not want any regrets. This is not something I can do if I want, so I will continue to discuss things with the organization.
What do you think about how things are going with the posting system?
As a player, I am concerned. I think it is a concern for all the players that are interested, especially while the rules are still undecided. It does not apply to me right now, but I am curious to see how things turn out.
Source: Sports Hochi 12/10/2013
[UPDATE 12/11 @ 3:35pm]
Additional comments have been posted by Sports Hochi:
When did your feelings of the Majors begin to grow?
I only know Japan. I never experienced international competition, so it was difficult for me to set it as a goal. Then I played in the WBC and put up decent numbers and my feelings grew. It became a more certain dream.
You set a new franchise high in salary (280 million yen, surpassed previous franchise high of 250 million set by Hiroki Kuroda in 2007).
As were my stats from this season. I would like to set all kinds of franchise records. I am thankful that they think of me so highly.
Source: Sports Hochi 12/11/2013
Maeda also said that he planned to discuss things with the organization again next winter, after pitching and thinking things through next season.
In response to their ace's desires, Carp Owner Hajime Matsuda said "I will accept it as a dream, but right now, there are no plans to accept. If the excitement among the fans gains momentum, then there might come a time we have to think about it." He also said, "Of the twelve NPB teams, we are furthest from a championship. If we can have an overpowering season in all regards, then perhaps."
Source: Sports Hochi 12/11/2013
[UPDATE 12/11 @ 7:33pm]
Similar, but slightly different comments take from Nikkan Sports:
Maeda: "With regards to next year, I would like to do my best for the team I am under contract with, the Carp. However, it would be a lie if I said I never dreamed about the Majors or said I did not want to go. I have though about the Majors and I would like to give it a shot. It would be great if there was a way that would allow both myself and the team to gain something from it."
Matsuda: "This is not something we are worried about right now. We understand it as a dream. This is not something that only affects us. We do understand his dream, but will the fans feel the same way? There is no way to say when we would let him go." ... "If positive sentiment builds, if it gets to a point where everyone wants to see him off and would like for him to take on the challenge, then perhaps it is something we would consider. There may be a time when we will have to think about it."
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/11/2013