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[12/19/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Yohei Oshima, Kenta Maeda

by on Dec.20, 2014 @ 6:27 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers could offer Chihiro Kaneko (31) anything from a one-year deal to a four-year deal. Source: Daily Sports 12/19/2014 ... The Tigers believe Kaneko (right elbow) will be ready for the start of the regular season. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/19/2014

Yohei Oshima (29) met with Chunichi for salary negotiations for the third time this off-season on Thursday and agreed to their original seventy-four million yen offer. He considered arbitration, but decided to sign. "This won't end unless someone folds. I've been a long-time fan so I don't really want to cause any problems for the Dragons. My wife telling me that there would be no guarantee I would be happy after arbitration was also a big factor." Oshima's wife also told him that he was already making enough money. Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2014, Sponichi 12/19/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/19/2014

Hiroshima's Kenta Maeda (26) is expected to finalize his contract for the 2015 season before the end of the year. Maeda met the Carp on Thursday to lay the groundwork for a contract. He will most likely sign for 280 million yen (no change from this season). Source: Sports Hochi 12/19/2014

[12/19/2014] Hanshin Tigers, Yakult Swallows

by on Dec.20, 2014 @ 5:32 am, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

Yakult Swallows

  • The media learned on Thursday that the Swallows will be introducing a new set of alternate home uniforms with the word "Tokyo" across the chest. The new design will be unveiled in January. It will be the first time a Yakult uniform has featured the word "Tokyo" on the chest. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014
  • Shingo Kawabata's wife is seven months pregnant with the couple's first child. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014

[12/19/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Softbank Hawks, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Dec.20, 2014 @ 5:29 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

Seibu Lions

  • Chun-Lin Kuo will join the 2014 draft class for rookie training camp in January. Source: Daily Sports 12/19/2014
  • Takayuki Kishi's wife gave birth to the couple's second child, a boy weighing 2,860 grams, in Tokyo on the 17th. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • Kimiyasu Kudo would like to give every player two or three chances to play in pre-season games next year (intra-squad and exhibition). He plans to let the Ichi-gun pitching coach staff handle Ichi-gun pitchers during spring camp because he wants to watch over Ni-gun and San-gun pitchers. Source: Sanspo 12/19/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/19/2014

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • Masao Yamada will be stepping down as general manager and is expected to become an amateur scout adviser. Director Hiroshi Yoshimura will most likely take on the added role of interim general manager. Source: Sponichi 12/19/2014

[12/19/2014] Rakuten Eagles: Stadium renovation details

by on Dec.19, 2014 @ 10:28 pm, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles unveiled details about stadium renovations they are planning to perform during the off-season. Construction will cost about one billion yen, according to media reports.

The Welcome Gate - The gate wil be built near the main entrance of the public square. It will stand 6.4 meters high and 11.2 meters wide. A digital screen will provide fans with updates.

The Team Store - A team store will built in the public square. At about 660 square meters, it will be over three times as large as each of the stores that are located on the first and third base sides (each are roughly 100 square meters). The store will also be used to display panels featuring the team's growth over the last ten years.

The Multi-Use Dome - A dome will be built in the outdoor open area on the third base side of the stadium. It will be twenty-one meters in diameter and ten meters high. The dome will be used as a public viewing space with space for up to 400 people. It will also be used for various kinds of events.

VIP Dining - On the first floor of the first base side of the stadium, an eating area for up to 100 people, with a focus on season ticket holders, will be created.

Other changes - replacing the seats in the area behind home plate, increase royal box seats, moving the press area, adding a sports bar and food shops for the near seats on the third base side.

Source: official announcement, Daily Sports 12/19/2014

[12/18/2014] Rumors: Kenta Maeda, Yohei Oshima, Seung-Hwan Oh

by on Dec.19, 2014 @ 3:45 am, under NPB
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Some more numbers from Kyuji Fujikawa's contract with the Texas Rangers, from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman: $1M '15 salary, $2M club option for '16 w/ 100K buyout. so $1.1M guarantee. '16 base can rises to $3.5M on '15 gf. Source: Jon Heyman Twitter 12/17/2014

The Yokohama Bay Stars held a press conference for Hideki Okajima (38) on Thursday. He was assigned the number twenty-one and agreed to a contract worth an estimated sixty million yen plus incentives. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014

The Hanshin Tigers are planning to send a representative to Korea to negotiate terms for the second year of Seung-Hwan Oh's (32) two-year contract. The Tigers are also hoping to learn more about what Oh has planned after the 2015 season. Source: Sanspo 12/18/2014 ... Daily Sports is reporting that Oh is open to remaining in Japan after the 2015 season, based on information taken from a source close to the pitcher. Tigers' general manger Katsuhiro Nakamura feels it could come down to either staying in the NPB or returning to Korea. Source: Daily Sports 12/18/2014

Kenta Maeda (26) met the Hiroshima Carp official at Mazda Stadium on Thursday for preliminary salary negotiations and was told that they were not planning to post him to the Majors this off-season. Maeda accepted the decision. The two sides are expected to finalize a contract for the 2015 season before the end of the year. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014, Sports Hochi 12/18/2014, Daily Sports 12/18/2014

Yohei Oshima (29) resumed salary negotiations with the Chunichi Dragons on Thursday and decided to agree to their original offer of seventy-four million yen (17.75 million yen raise). Oshima went over the numbers with team representative Kazuo Nishiyama and felt better about where he stood with the team. He also did not want negotiations to drag out for too long. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

Yuki Yoshimura (30) met the Softbank Hawks for salary negotiations on Thursday and placed their forty-five million yen (ten million yen raise) offer on hold because he felt he deserved a little more. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014, Sponichi 12/18/2014

The Hawks re-signed Masato Sakata (21) to an Ikusei contract. His uniform number will remain 120. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

The Yakult Swallows are interested in Yomiuri senryokugai Suguru Ino (31). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014

Yokohama senryokugai Kazumasa Kikuchi (32) had surgery to clean out his right shoulder in October and is not yet ready to retire. He is hoping to attend tryouts with teams during spring camp. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

Thirty-eight-year-old pitcher Tomokazu Oka is hoping to continue playing next year and is waiting for an offer. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

[12/18/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Yakult Swallows, Chiba Lotte Marines

by on Dec.19, 2014 @ 3:12 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers want a chance to speak directly with Chihiro Kaneko (31), but were told by his agent that he will only meet with the top teams. The Tigers believe that means they will have to one of a handful of teams remaining after Kaneko narrows down his options. The Tigers are expected to offer a three-year deal, but could also go to four years. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014 ... The Tigers could offer Kaneko two kinds of multi-year deals: a two-year contract with posting and a longer term contract that could go up to four years. They could also offer the uniform number eighteen. Source: Sports Hochi 12/18/2014 ... The Tigers understand they may have to revise their offer a number of times before reaching an agreement. Source: Daily Sports 12/18/2014

The media learned on Wednesday that the Yakult Swallows received a list of protected players from the Yomiuri Giants on Monday. The Swallows are planning to make a decision on their compensation for losing Ryoji Aikawa after Lotte and Nippon Ham decide on their compensation for Yoshihisa Naruse and Keiji Obiki. Source: Sanspo 12/18/2014, Sponichi 12/18/2014

The Chiba Lotte Marines are still hoping to decide on their compensation for losing Yoshihise Naruse before the end of the year. Source: Sanspo 12/18/2014

[12/18/2014] Yomiuri Giants, Hiroshima Carp, Yakult Swallows

by on Dec.19, 2014 @ 3:08 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

  • In the trial between Hidetoshi Kiyotake and the Yomiuri Giants, the Tokyo District Court ruled against Kiyotake and ordered him to pay Yomiuri 1.6 million yen in damages. Kiyotake filed the original lawsuit in December 2011 after his termination following an internal scuffle over personnel changes. He sued Yomiuri for sixty-two million yen for an unfair dismissal and defamation. Yomiuri countered with a 100 million yen defamation lawsuit of their own. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014, Daily Sports 12/18/2014

Hiroshima Carp

  • Yoshikazu Kura could become the first player in franchise history to play in a game as catcher after turning forty. Hiroshima has had ten players in their forties but none have been catchers. Kura will turn forty on July 27, 2015. Source: Daily Sports 12/18/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • Ryo Akiyoshi's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy, on the 16th. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

[12/18/2014] Rakuten Eagles, Seibu Lions, Softbank Hawks, Orix Buffaloes, Nippon Ham Fighters

by on Dec.19, 2014 @ 2:56 am, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

Seibu Lions

  • Hideto Asamura wants to focus on second base and is willing to give up short. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014

Softbank Hawks

  • Kimiyasu Kudo is planning to add tire flipping to spring camp workouts next year. He feels it will be a good way to break up the monotony and make things fun for players. Source: Sponichi 12/18/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • Former Hanshin Tiger Naohisa Sugiyama will join the staff as Hiroshi Moriwaki's media relations manager and personal assistant, effective January 1. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/18/2014

Nippon Ham Fighters

  • The Fighters held a press conference to announce that Masao Kida (46) will join their staff as an assistant general manager, effective January 1, 2015. Source: official announcement, Sponichi 12/18/2014
  • Yuji Arahari's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl weighing 2,982 grams, on December 17. Source: official announcement

[12/17/2014] Rumors: Chihiro Kaneko, Norihiro Nakamura

by on Dec.18, 2014 @ 4:48 am, under NPB
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Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Orix Buffaloes' last offer may have been three years at 1.5 million yen.
  • In addition to Orix, Hanshin, Chunichi, Yokohama, and Rakuten are all said to be interested.
  • The Hanshin Tigers held internal discussions on Tuesday and are closer to finalizing terms for their offer. They will most likely put together a competitive three-year contract, but the sky will not be the limit. They may also be willing to post Kaneko after two years. They may be ready to submit their offer soon.
  • The Buffaloes know that Kaneko likes to think things through and is the type of person that needs to be convinced before making a decision. They would like to know what he wants before the end of the year, but realize things could spill into 2015.

Source: Sanspo 12/17/2014, Sanspo 12/17/2014, Daily Sports 12/17/2014, Sports Hochi 12/17/2014, Sports Hochi 12/17/2014, Sponichi 12/17/2014, Sponichi 12/17/2014

Kaneko updated his blog again.

To my fans,

Thank you for all the comments.

I read all of them.

I wanted to talk about free agency, something everyone is curious about.

I was once asked, "Aren't you supposed to exercise your FA option when you know there is another team you want to play for?"

I have never imagined playing for another team or signing a contract with another team during the season while playing as a member of the Buffaloes.

After I exercised my option, I received offers from other teams and listened to each one with fresh ears.

It's not just about my evaluation. Teams are telling me about things like how they break down data, their plans for team development, and what the team owner is thinking. Some teams have told me about their ties with the community.

This is a first for me. It has been very exciting and informative.

This is something I was able to experience because I exercised my FA option.

I focused on my performance during the season and then listened to offers for the first time after exercising my FA option. It made me realize again, just how important this is for me.

That is why I am still thinking, still struggling.

I am not trying to get teams to increase their offers and I'm not trying to figure out the right time to sell...

I am thinking hard again today because I want to give everyone good news!

Oh, things are going well with my right elbow. It's no longer really causing me problems in my day-to-day activities.

===

Seibu's Takumi Kuriyama was offered a two-year contract, but instead signed a one-year deal. Source: ZakZak 12/17/2014

The Tigers exercised a club option with Matt Murton. At about 450 million yen (based on the current conversion rate of one dollar = 116 yen), he will be the second highest paid player in franchise history, behind Tomoaki Kanemoto's 550 million yen in 2009. Source: Daily Sports 12/17/2014, Sponichi 12/17/2014

Norihiro Nakamura (41) received an "offer" from Gunma Diamond Pegasus (BC League) senior director Alex Ramirez. Nakamura is still waiting for an offer from the NPB. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/17/2014

[12/17/2014] Meikyukai News and Notes

by on Dec.18, 2014 @ 4:46 am, under NPB
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The Meikyukai will hold a meeting in Hawaii on Wednesday. They will most likely discuss eligibility requirements. Pitchers are required to either win 200 or more games or 250 or more saves to qualify. Some Meikyukai members feel 200 victories might be too high for present-day pitchers. Of the fifty-six current members, only fifteen are pitchers. Source: Sponichi 12/17/2014

Organizational changes. Sadaharu Oh (chairman) and Shigeo Nagashima (director) will step down from their respective positions to become honorary advisers. Vice chairman Koji Yamamoto will take over as chairman. Two vice chairman will most likely be named: Isao Shibata and Atsuya Furuta. Kazuhiro Sasaki and former Hiroshima manager Kenjiro Nomura will be added as directors. Source: Sponichi 12/17/2014 ... Yamamoto was officially named the new chairman on Wednesday. Shibata and Furuta were named co-vice chairman. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/17/2014

Koji Yamamoto would like to schedule more youth baseball clinics in Japan that feature younger Meikyukai members, like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki. Source: Sponichi 12/17/2014