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[12/18/2013] Rakuten Eagles: Masahiro Tanaka prepared to stay if he has to

by on Dec.18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm, under NPB

Will the Rakuten Eagles post Masahiro Tanaka?

Sports Hochi 12/18/2013: No.

Sanspo 12/18/2013: Most likely, yes, perhaps as early as this week.

Sponichi 12/18/2013: Most likely yes.

Nikkan Sports 12/18/2013: Good chance they will post him.


Sports Hochi has posted portions of Tuesday's press conference.

What kind of things did you talk about?

It has been seven years since I joined the organization.  I spoke about how much I appreciated the Rakuten Eagles' support and that I also wanted to move on to the next stage [of my career].

What kinds of things have been going through your head?

I was not really thinking of much, since there was nothing I could really do until the new system was in place.

Were you asked to stay?

That is what they have always wanted and that is what they asked.  I stated my desires while taking that into consideration.

Is the decision final in your mind?

Well, I did tell them what I wanted to do.

There is not a lot of time.

The system became official today, so I am not really sure [how that works out].  We did not talk about when we will meet again.

Did you get a feel for what the organization might be thinking?

I honestly cannot say.  They did give me an answer today and we will continue to talk.  I will say what is on my mind and I am sure the organization will tell me what is on their mind.  We are talking right now.  They carefully listened to what I had to say and I am sure we will touch on a lot of things in our future conversations.

Do you feel now is a good time based on your age?

That is not everything, but it is a part of the decision.

What about your agent?

As I said before, I was waiting for the new system to become official.  I think it will be fine if I can begin the search now.

What do you think of the new system that allows players to talk to multiple teams?

I feel I am in no position to comment on the good and bad of the system.

If you decided to stay, you would be going for another championship.  Was there ever a doubt which you wanted?


Anything for the fans?

I feel nothing but appreciation.  I joined after graduating from high school.  Even though I got slapped around on the Ichi-gun mound, they warmly cheered for me.  I feel they were a part of the Rakuten Eagles that helped me grow.

Anything for your teammates?

We all fought hard this season.  I think they are the best teammates.  I am forever thankful.

Did you ask anyone for advice?

I think my wife understands my feelings.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013

Sanspo has also posted portions of the press conference.  Below are sections not included in the above and what was posted on Tuesday.

You were not able to speak your mind up until today, what that difficult?

Not really.  There is nothing that I can do since I have no control over it.  I already figured it would be after [the agreement became official].

Was the Rakuten's first championship this year a reason for leaving?

Yes. I think it was one of the reasons.

Was wanting to go while you were still young a reason?

Well, that is not everything, but that may have been a reason as well.

There is the option of going after you earn your international FA option.  Any reason why you have to leave now?

I took a lot of things into consideration.  Timing might be a strange thing to talk about, but that is what I was thinking and it was done in consideration of everything.

There are a number of things you will have to do in preparation for going to America, have you decided on things like your agent yet?

It was always after the new system was in place.  I think I will be fine if I can do things now.

How do you physically feel?

I feel better than that I thought I would.

When would you like a final decision to be made by?

I have not really thought of that.

Until everyone is satisfied?

Not so much satisfied...  We will talk things through.

You will be able to talk to multiple teams under the new agreement.

I feel I am in no position to talk specifically about the new system.  I would like to withhold my comments.

Is there a team you would like to play for?

None in particular.

Is there any part of you that is willing to stay?

I will not say anything about that.  The posting system is a right the organization has, if they say no and ask me to stay, then I am prepared, as a professional athlete, to do my best [under those circumstances].

Going for a second straight championship sounds like it would be rewarding.  Did your feelings ever waver between that and heading to the Majors?


Did you make this decision yourself?

With whom would I speak to?  My wife understands my feelings.

Source: Sanspo 12/18/2013


When asked about the possibility that he might not be posted, Tanaka replied:

"That is not something I will probably say.  The posting system is a right the organization has.  If they say they do not want to post me and that they want me to stay, then as a professional [athlete], I will still do my best.  I think that is what it means to be a professional athlete.  I am prepared for that as well."

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013


Arn Tellem might be Tanaka's agent, according to ZakZak.

Source: ZakZak 12/18/2013


Sponichi is already talking about a possible match-up dates between Tanaka and Yu Darvish, assuming the Angels sign him.

Source: Sponichi 12/18/2013


[UPDATE @ 10:05pm]

Chief Scout Hiroshi Abe told reporters today that it might take the organization some time to finalize a decision on Tanaka because it was not a simple discussion.

Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2013