The Yokohama Bay Stars backed off Chihiro Kaneko (31) talks earlier this month because they wanted to focus their efforts on Yulieski Gourriel. Source: Sponichi 12/25/2014 ... Hanshin Tigers' general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura told reporters he felt they had to make an offer, even if the odds were stacked against them (they had a feeling he would stay put). Nakamura also told reporters that they did have a chance to talk to Kaneko directly. Source: Sponichi 12/25/2014, Sponichi 12/25/2014 ... The Orix Buffaloes' four-year contract does not include any promises to post Kaneko. He may have to wait until he re-earns his FA option during the 2018 season (at the earliest, assuming he misses no time during the regular season). Source: Sponichi 12/25/2014 ... Kaneko made his decision over the last few days leading up to the announcement. He did not spend too much time consulting with his wife. The moves Orix made this off-season was a big factor in his decision. Kaneko is slated to make an estimated 500 milion yen next year. He will become the eleventh player in NPB history, second in franchise history behind Ichiro, to reach 500 million. He will join Kazuhiro Sasaki, Yu Darvish, and Toshiya Sugiuchi as the only pitchers in NPB history reach 500 million. He will also be one of three 500-million-yen players next year (Shinnosuke Abe, Sugiuchi, and Kaneko). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/25/2014 ... Hanshin, Chunichi, Yokohama, and Rakuten were all reportedly open to letting Kaneko leave for the Majors after one or more years. Source: Sanspo 12/25/2014, Sanspo 12/25/2014
Sponichi posted portions of Kaneko's press conference on Wednesday:
How do you feel?
I feel relieved. Now that it's been decided, I want to work harder than this year to help the team win.
What decided it for you?
There were things that went beyond terms and when I added my own feelings, Orix was at the top. Wanting to play for Orix was one of the factors.
Hanshin general manager Nakamura was the Orix general manager when you joined.
It's true that he selected me, but that alone...
You gave up on the Majors this off-season.
I am interested, but it also got me thinking about what it means when good pitchers go [to the Majors] every year. I'd like to try to bring some excitement to Japanese baseball.
Did the surgery on your right elbow factor into your decision?
I've had this procedure before, but I'm not complete without worries. It was something I thought about.
What would you like to accomplish next season?
I was received things like the Sawamura Award and the MVP, but I couldn't be really happy because we couldn't win a championship. I want to take things one day at a time and think about what I can contribute to the team.
Source: Sponichi 12/25/2014