Tokyo Sports posted the following interview with Matt Murton on October 7.
Did this season leave you feeling unsatisfied?
No, not really. I think I had a good season. People around me might think I had a better year last year, when I won the batting title, but for me, this was a good season.
If you look at the numbers, you finished the season with the second lowest batting average of your Hanshin career.
But I played through issues and I think I grew, I feel I grew stronger. I think working hard and hitting .270 is better than coasting and hitting .300. It's about pushing myself to the limit. I think I was able to do that more this year, than last.
So in that sense, this was a good season.
Yeah. I struggled for a bit at the beginning and I did a lot of thinking this season about what I needed to do. I may have finished with a .276 average, but personally, I'm good with that.
But even if you're satisfied, the organization is not.
I know. No, maybe it's more like I knew. I knew even before the start of the season that there would be no contract for next year. They couldn't tell me what they expected from me.
Does that mean you were prepared for this to be your last season with Hanshin?
Yes. [Kentaro] Sekimoto had his retirement game on the 4th and I went in thinking that that game might also be my last with Hanshin.
I'm not sure. It might be Japan, it might be the United States. But if Hanshin isn't going to sign me to a contract, then I need to find another option. I've been with Hanshin for six years, so I feel sad, but this is about moving on to the next stage of my life.
The fans will be sad too.
I know. That makes me sad too. I lived in Kobe for six years and I met a lot of people. It's not just about teammates and fans, it's also about the friends I made and the people I met just by living here, like the people at the restaurants I go to... My kids grew up in Kobe. A part of me feels like this is home. That what makes it really difficult to leave.
Is this a turning point in your life?
Yeah. I just turned thirty-four and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to play the game. If there's no interest in me, then my only choice is to retire. Maybe it's time for me to retire, maybe it's not. Who knows. Right now, I'm only thinking about doing my best on the stage God has given me.
Source: Tokyo Sports 10/7/2015