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[2/1/2015] Sponichi interview with Chihiro Kaneko from January 16

by on Feb.02, 2015 @ 3:47 am, under NPB
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Sponichi posted an interview with Chihiro Kaneko on January 16 that covered more on his thoughts about the Majors. Here is one of the more interesting sections.

You exercised your domestic FA option. You struggled with the idea of going to the Majors through the posting system.

I was a difficult decision. We won eighty games, more than Softbank, but we lost in winning percentage. It was worse than just finishing in second. I wanted to win with our current team. But I was also worried that this year might be my last chance to go to the Majors.

You could have earned your international FA option if you waited one more year.

Yeah, but in my case, I would have to log quite a bit of time this year to get it. Getting hurt would mean another year. The posting system changed and I thought this was my chance to talk to all kinds of teams. I thought this was a really good thing for players, being able to exercise the domestic FA option and get posted, we could talk to every team. I thought this year was my best bet.

You didn't have much time to think since you had the NPB-MLB series in November.

The NPB-MLB series was big so there wasn't able to really think about my FA option. I'm not good at doing two things at once and I didn't want to decide without thinking things through properly, so I exercised the option.

You gave up on posting after the NPB-MLB series.

Things might have been different if it was something I wanted before I turned pro. But the team hasn't won a championship since I joined and I started to think that I might have another shot at the Majors.

At around the same time, you had problems with the elbow.

The elbow was something separate. It surfaced after I decided to play in Japan. There might be people that think I gave up on the Majors because of it, but that isn't what happened. That's really the way it played out.

Source: Sponichi 1/16/2015

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[12/25/2014] Orix Buffaloes: Chihiro Kaneko News and Notes

by on Dec.26, 2014 @ 3:20 am, under NPB
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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

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[12/24/2014] Orix Buffaloes: Chihiro Kaneko to remain

by on Dec.24, 2014 @ 3:13 pm, under NPB
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The Orix Buffaloes announced earlier today that Chihiro Kaneko (31) will be hold a press conference in Osaka later today. He is expected to announce his decision, which could be to stay with the Buffaloes.

Additionally, Hanshin Tigers' general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura told reporters today that Kaneko's agent turned down Hanshin's offer on Thursday night.

Source: Daily Sports 12/24/2014, Sports Hochi 12/24/2014, ZakZak 12/24/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/24/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/24/2014, Sponichi 12/24/2014

[UPDATE 12/24 @ 11:33pm]

Kaneko announced his decision to re-sign with Orix. He most likely agreed to a four-year deal worth an estimated two billion yen plus incentives.

Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 12/24/2014, Sponichi 12/24/2014, Sports Hochi 12/24/2014, Daily Sports 12/24/2014

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[12/23/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Takashi Toritani

by on Dec.24, 2014 @ 2:09 am, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles have not set any concrete deadlines on Chihiro Kaneko (31). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/23/2014 ... The Eagles are said to have prepared a deal with at least three years and the uniform number 19. Source: Sponichi 12/23/2014 ... Hanshin general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura told reporters on Monday that he spoke to Kaneko's agent on Sunday. "I spoke to his agent over the phone on Sunday. There was nothing new, but he did emphasize that money wasn't the only thing. He said Kaneko wasn't that kind of player," said Nakamura. The Tigers are not planning to make any changes to the offer unless they hear from Kaneko. Source: Sponichi 12/23/2014 ... Team facilities (medical, rehab, training) appear to be a big concern for Kaneko, in addition to winning. Source: Daily Sports 12/23/2014, Sanspo 12/23/2014

The Tigers have yet to hear from Takashi Toritani (33), as of Monday. They would like a decision before the end of the year, but there is a chance they will have to wait until next year. Source: Sanspo 12/23/2014

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[12/21/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Takahiro Okada

by on Dec.22, 2014 @ 3:49 am, under NPB
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The Hanshin Tigers likely made Chihiro Kaneko (31) an offer of up to four years at two billion yen. Posting and releasing are both possibilities. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014 ... The media learned on Saturday that the Tigers were able to make their offer on Friday. They may have submitted mutiple deals with one at up to four years. They may be willing to post or release him after two years of service time. They also requested a direct meeting with Kaneko. Source: Sports Hochi 12/21/2014


According to Sanspo, Seung-Hwan Oh's contract in 2015 will be worth an estimated 300 million yen. Source: Sanspo 12/21/2014

If Orix's Takahiro Okada (26) cannot get a larger guaranteed raise (last offer was a twenty-three million yen increase), he could settle for incentives that would put him closer to his desired salary. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/21/2014

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[12/20/2014] Chihiro Kaneko, Seung-Hwan Oh

by on Dec.21, 2014 @ 2:48 am, under NPB
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According to Nikkan Sports, the Hanshin Tigers may have originally been planning to offer Chihiro Kaneko (31) up to three years in the 1.5 billion yen range, but may have decided to go up to four years in the two billion yen range after considering what other teams might be offering. This could end up being Hanshin's "final" offer. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/20/2014 ... Kaneko wants to win and will factor that into his decision. Source: Chunichi Sports 12/20/2014, Daily Sports 12/20/2014 ... The Tigers tried to contact Kaneko's agent on Friday to submit an offer, but could not get through to him. They are hoping to get permission to speak directly to the pitcher after submitting their offer. Source: Daily Sports 12/20/2014 ... The Tigers might be okay with releasing Kaneko after at least two years of service time (they are not thinking about using the posting system). Source: Sanspo 12/20/2014


The Chiba Lotte Marines could be players if Seung-Hwan Oh (32) is open to staying in Japan after his two-year deal with Hanshin ends. Source: ZakZak 12/20/2014 ... Oh met the Hanshin Tigers for salary negotiations on Saturday and finalized an agreement for the 2015 season. The closer will be in the final year of a two-year deal. Oh signed a two-year deal worth a total 850 million yen before the 2014 season. Source: Asahi Shimbun 12/20/2014

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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

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[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

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[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

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[12/16/2014] Rumors: Chihiro Kaneko, Matt Murton, Kenta Maeda

by on Dec.17, 2014 @ 1:27 am, under NPB
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CBS Sports' Jon Heyman is reporting that Kyuji Fujikawa's (34) one-year deal with the Texas Rangers is for one million US dollars plus bonuses. Source: Jon Heyman Tweet 12/15/2014 ... The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevens also tweeted that the one million is guaranteed and includes a club option. Source: Stefan Stevens Tweet 12/16/2014

The Chunichi Dragons spoke to the Baseball Federation of Cuba in early December and were recommended two pitchers. The Dragons declined but are still considering possibilities. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2014

The media learned on Monday that the Hanshin Tigers may have reached out to Chihiro Kaneko's agent earlier this month and offered a multi-year deal that may have been for about three years. Source: Sports Hochi 12/16/2014, Sanspo 12/16/2014 ... According to Nikkan Sports, the Tigers could offer up to three years at about 1.5 million yen. Kaneko is planning to narrow down his option to two or three teams and could make a decision before the end of the year. Hanshin might also be okay with posting him after two years. Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/16/2014

The Tigers announced that they reached an agreement with Matt Murton (33) for the 2015 season. The two sides agreed on a one-year deal worth an estimated 3.9 million US dollars. Source: Sponichi 12/16/2014, Daily Sports 12/16/2014, Nikkan Sports 12/16/2014

Kenta Maeda (26) is planning to let the Hiroshima Carp know that he is still strongly interested in playing in the Majors when he meets team officials during preliminary salary negotiations. Source: Daily Sports 12/16/2014

Toru Hosokawa (34) finished off the final year of a four-year contract this season. He met the Softbank Hawks on Tuesday for contract negotiations and agreed to a new two-year deal. His salary next season will be an estimated 100 million yen (up thirty-six million yen). Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2014

The Rakuten Eagles are planning to add Darrell Rasner (33) to their staff as a US-based scout. An announcement is expected in the next few days. Source: Sponichi 12/16/2014

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