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[11/23/2014] Yoshihisa Naruse decides to sign with the Yakult Swallows

by on Nov.23, 2014 @ 11:38 pm, under NPB
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Yoshihisa Naruse (29) contacted the Yakult Swallows and told them that he wanted to play for them next year.

"He contacted us to let us know he wanted to sign with us," said team official Masanori Matsu. He added, "We got good replies from the players we wanted: a starting pitcher and a player up the middle. I think we accomplished what we set out to do."

Naruse will most likely be assigned the number 17. Keiji Obiki (30) has also decided to sign with Yakult. He will most likely be assigned the number 2.

Source: Sanspo 11/23/2014, Sanpso 11/23/2014, Sports Hochi 11/23/2014, Daily Sports 11/23/2014, Sponichi 11/23/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/23/2014

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[11/22/2014] Free Agents: Takashi Toritani, Chihiro Kaneko, Eiichi Koyano, Keiji Obiki

by on Nov.23, 2014 @ 4:39 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • The media learned on Friday that Yutaka Wada already spoke to Tortani and asked him to stay. Their meeting took place after the Nippon Series.

Source: Sanspo 11/22/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/22/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • Softbank Hawks' president and acting owner Yoshimitsu Goto does not personally believe it is necessary to negotiate terms with Kaneko that include posting options. The Hawks have never posted a player of their own and would probably rather avoid setting a precedent.
  • The Hanshin Tigers are also not planning to include any special terms for posting, certainly nothing after just one or two years. The Tigers have made it a point not to post players, with one exception: Kei Igawa.
  • The Tigers could go up to four years on a offer to Kaneko.
  • The Chunichi Dragons might be willing to post Kaneko after one year. They once posted Akinori Otsuka a year after they obtained him in a money trade with Kintetsu.
  • The Orix Buffaloes would like to meet Kaneko for negotiations before the end of the year.
  • Kaneko and team official Ryuzo Setoyama could meet on the 24th. Both are slated to be at Kyocera Dome for fan appreciation day.
  • Kaneko could submit a request to be posted some time after the winter meetings in December.

Source: Sanspo 11/22/2014, Sanspo 11/22/2014, ZakZak 11/22/2014, Daily Sports 11/22/2014, Sponichi 11/22/2014, Sports Hochi 11/22/2014, Sports Hochi 11/22/2014, Sports Hochi 11/22/2014

Eiichi Koyano

  • The Orix Buffaloes may be the front runners to land Koyano. Their offer was apparently better than the two-year, 200 million yen offer the Seibu Lions made.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/22/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • Obiki will most likely end up selecting the number 2 because he wanted to respect the seriousness that comes from wearing the number 1.
  • Obiki's press conference with the Yakult Swallows will most likely take place some time in early December.

Source: Sanspo 11/22/2014

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[11/20/2014] Keiji Obiki decides to sign with the Yakult Swallows

by on Nov.20, 2014 @ 6:20 pm, under NPB
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Keiji Obiki (30) contacted the Yakult Swallows earlier today to tell them that he has decided to sign with them.

"He contacted us to let us know he was going to sign with us. I'm relieved," said team official Masanori Matsui. He continued, "Our younger players up the middle are getting better, but this gives us more depth. Hopefully the competition will help push things in a positive direction."

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/20/2014

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[11/16/2014] Free Agents: Chihiro Kaneko, Takashi Toritani, Eiichi Koyano, Keiji Obiki, Ryoji Aikawa, Tatsuhiko Kinjo

by on Nov.17, 2014 @ 11:02 am, under NPB
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Chihiro Kaneko

  • Orix Buffaloes president Hiroaki Nishina is prepared to get involved in negotiations if the front offices feels his presence will help.

Source: Sports Hochi 11/16/2014

Takashi Toritani

  • The Hanshin Tigers could resume talks with Toritani on Monday. They will most likely meet over a meal.
  • Negotiations with domestic teams will most likely not involve Scott Boras.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/16/2014, Sanspo 11/17/2014

Eiichi Koyano

  • Koyano is planning to meet multiple teams.
  • Seibu and Orix are said to be interested.
  • The Lions could be willing to give Koyano the everyday job at third.
  • Orix could offer Koyano a two-year deal worth 200 million yen.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/16/2014, Sponichi 11/17/2014, Sponichi 11/17/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • The Rakuten Eagles met Obiki on Sunday at a hotel in Tokyo.
  • The meeting took place over dinner. It started around 6:00pm and ended over two hours later.
  • Rakuten may have offered Obiki a four-year deal worth 400 million yen.
  • Obiki met the Orix Buffaloes in Tokyo on Saturday.
  • Orix may have offered Obiki a three-year deal worth 300 million yen (same as the Yakult Swallows). They could have also offered a three-year deal at 400 million yen.
  • "I appreciate all the offers and wish I had three bodies so I could agree to each. I need a little more time to think and will try to reach a decision in two to three days," said Obiki.
  • The Swallows are not expected to make a follow-up offer.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/16/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/16/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/17/2014, Sports Hochi 11/16/2014, Sports Hochi 11/16/2014, Sports Hochi 11/16/2014, Sponichi 11/16/2014, Sponichi 11/17/2014, Sponichi 11/17/2014, Daily Sports 11/17/2014, Daily Sports 11/17/2014

Ryoji Aikawa

  • Aikawa could finalize his decision after his next meeting with the Giants.

Source: Sponichi 11/17/2014

Tatsuhiko Kinjo

  • Kinjo's meeting with the Yomiuri Giants on Saturday lasted about forty-five minutes.
  • Kinjo agreed in principal to a one-year deal with the Giants. Details will be worked out during their next meeting.
  • The Giants could give Kinjo the number thirty-three.

Source: Daily Sports 11/16/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/16/2014

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[11/14/2014] Free Agents: Toritani, Kaneko, Obiki, Naruse, Koyano, Aikawa

by on Nov.15, 2014 @ 2:36 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • The Tigers are planning to improve upon their last offer.
  • The Tigers thinking about including future plans for naming him manager.
  • Tigers' team president Nobuo Minami and Yutaka Wada could be included in the next round of negotiations.
  • The Tigers realize discussions with MLB teams will take some time and are prepared to wait on Toritani's reply into the new year.
  • The Tigers are expected to resume negotiations some time next early next week.

Sources: Daily Sports 11/14/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/14/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Chunichi Dragons will wait to contact Kaneko until after the Suzuki Japan All-Star Series.
  • Motonobu Tanishige is willing to get involved in negotiations.
  • The Hanshin Tigers would like to make an offer if the opportunity presents itself. Their biggest concern is what Kaneko is trying to accomplish by exercising his option. They may decide to approach him after they see how Orix handles the situation.
  • Softbank and Rakuten are also interested.
  • The Orix Buffaloes are also planning to resume negotiations after the Suzuki Japan All-Star Series.
  • Buffaloes' team official Ryuzo Setoyama told reporters on Friday that Kaneko has not contacted them and they have not contacted him. He also said they have yet to talk about posting him.

Source: Daily Sports 11/14/2014, Sponichi 11/14/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/14/2014, ZakZak 11/14/2014, Sanspo 11/14/2014, Sanspo 11/14/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • Negotiations with the Yakult Swallows started at 11:00am.
  • Yakult most likely offered Obiki a three-year deal worth 300 million yen. They may have offered him the uniform numbers 1 and 13.
  • Yakult manager Mitsuru Manaka wore an orange and purple striped tie to negotiations, in reference to Hosei University.
  • Obiki felt passion behind Yakult's request to join them and was pleased that they valued his leadership and personality; he did not notice the colors of Manaka's tie at first, but was happy when he did.
  • Obiki is expected to meet Orix this week and Rakuten next week on the 16th.
  • Obiki is not planning to meet each team more than once.
  • There is a good chance the Rakuten Eagles will offer a larger package (years and yen).
  • The Orix Buffaloes could also offer Obiki the uniform number 1.

Sources: Daily Sports 11/14/2014, Sports Hochi 11/14/2014, Sports Hochi 11/14/2014, Sponichi 11/14/2014, Sponichi 11/14/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/14/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • Negotiations with the Yakult Swallows started at 5:00pm.
  • Yakult most likely offered Naruse a three-year deal worth 600 million yen and the uniform number 17.
  • Yakult manager Manaka wore a dark blue tie with red and white stripes to negotiations, in reference to Yokohama High School.
  • Naruse was glad Yakult did not have to juggle uniform numbers to give him 17; he did not notice the colors of Manaka's tie; he felt needed with Manaka's presence.
  • Naruse currently has no plans to meet other teams.
  • Staying close to Tokyo was Naruse's top priority.
  • Naruse is planning to thank fans for their support during Lotte's fan appreciation day on the 22nd.

Sources: Daily Sports 11/14/2014, Sports Hochi 11/14/2014, Sports Hochi 11/14/2014, Sponichi 11/14/2014, Sponichi 11/14/2014, Sanspo 11/14/2014

Eiichi Koyano

  • The Seibu Lions are planning to reach out to Koyano sometime around the 18th.
  • The Lions could offer a multi-year deal and the uniform number 5.
  • The Orix Buffaloes are also interested.

Source: Sponichi 11/14/2014, Sanspo 11/14/2014

Ryoji Aikawa

  • Aikawa wants to play for a team that will give him a shot at winning the everyday catching job.
  • The Yakult Swallows are planning to go with Yuhei Nakamura at catcher next season.
  • The Yomiuri Giants are willing to give Aikawa a chance to win the everyday job. He will most likely be competing against Seiji Kobayashi.
  • Aikawa is not planning to return to the negotiating table with Yakult.
  • There are no other teams currently interested in Aikawa.
  • Aikawa could finalize his decision some time next week.
  • The Giants could offer a one-year deal worth around seventy million yen plus incentives. Aikawa earned 110 million yen with the Swallows this year. Their last offer may have been an estimated eighty million yen.

Source: Sponichi 11/14/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/14/2014, Sanspo 11/14/2014

[11/13/2014] Free Agents: Chihiro Kaneko, Takashi Toritani

by on Nov.14, 2014 @ 2:38 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • Toritani has signed with Scott Boras. Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014
  • A number of MLB teams could be interested, including the Nationals, Red Sox, Astros, Royals, and Blue Jays. Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • Team official Ryuzo Setoyama is expected to meet team owner Yoshihiko Miyauchi on the 18thi to talk about Kaneko. Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014
  • The Red Sox had five scouts, including international scouting director Eddie Romero, check on Kaneko during the season. Other teams that could also be interested: Rangers, Cubs, and Diamondbacks. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/13/2014
  • The Chunichi Dragons could be mulling over the idea of offering Kaneko a one-year deal that would be worth an estimated 200 million yen (no change from this season) plus a signing bonus and the chance to be posted any time after the 2015 season. Source: Sports Hochi 11/13/2014

The Yomiuri Giants are scheduled to meet Yakult's Ryoji Aikawa (38) on Thursday (11/13) and Yokohama's Tatsuhiko Kinjo (38) on Saturday (11/15). Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014 ... The Giants are expected to offer Aikawa a one-year deal. Source: Sanspo 11/13/2014 ... Yomiuri met Aikawa at a hotel in Tokyo on Thursday. There are currently no plans for Aikawa to return to the negotiating table with Yakult. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014 ... Aikawa's meeting with the Giants lasted about an hour. No specific contract terms were discussed. Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014

The Yakult Swallows will most likely offer Yoshihisa Naruse (29) a three-year deal worth about 600 million yen, along with the number seventeen, and Keiji Obiki (30) a three-year deal around 300 million yen. Naruse is expected to sign with the Swallows. Obiki will most likely talk to other teams, like Rakuten and Orix, before making a decision. Source: Sanspo 11/13/2014 ... Yakult met Obiki in the AM and Naruse in the PM. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014 ... Negotiations with Obiki lasted about forty minutes. He was most likely offered a multi-year deal worth more than seventy million yen a year. He may have also been offered the uniform number one. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014 ... Negotiations with Naruse lasted about thirty minutes. He was offered a three-year deal and the number seventeen. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014... Naruse and Obiki were both offered three-year deals. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014 ... Obiki is expected to meet with Rakuten and Orix. Source: Sponichi 11/13/2014

The Seibu Lions could inform Eiichi Koyano (34) of their interest in him on the 17th. Source: Daily Sports 11/13/2014

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[11/12/2014] Free Agents: Chihiro Kaneko, Yakult Swallows, Eiichi Koyano

by on Nov.13, 2014 @ 5:56 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani (33) is considering the possibility of having to head to the United States without his family. Source: Sanspo 11/12/2014

The Yakult Swallows announced that they will meet Yoshihisa Naruse (29) and Keiji Obiki (30) for negotiations in Tokyo on Thursday. Mitsuru Manaka is scheduled to attend the meetings. Source: Daily Sports 11/12/2014

The Chunichi Dragons are interested in Chihiro Kaneko. They could shift whatever resources they planned to offer Hiroyuki Nakajima to Kaneko. Source: Sports Hochi 11/12/2014 ... The Dragons could be preparing a three-year deal worth an estimated one billion yen. If they do meet with Kaneko, they plan to keep things quiet. Source: Daily Sports 11/12/2014 ... The Softbank Hawks could be preparing a four-year deal worth over two billion yen. The Orix Buffaloes may have offered their ace as much as 1.5 billion yen over three years. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/12/2014 ... The Rakuten Eagles are also interested in Kaneko. Source: Sponichi 11/12/2014 ... The Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants are interested, but will most likely take a wait and see approach because they are not sure what Kaneko wants. Lotte, Seibu, and Yakult either have other players on their radar, or not enough resources. Source: Sponichi 11/12/2014 ... MLB teams that sent scouts to watch Kaneko include the Phillies, Red Sox, and Padres. Source: Sponichi 11/12/2014 ... Kaneko made the 2015 team calendar (month of March). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/12/2014

The Orix Buffaloes and Seibu Lions are interested in Eiichi Koyano (34). Source: Sports Hochi 11/12/2014, Sports Hochi 11/12/2014 ... Seibu could offer Koyano a multi-year deal and the uniform number five. Source: Daily Sports 11/12/2014

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A quick note about Kaneko and his FA option.

The decision to exercise the option means that Kaneko will have to wait at least four years until he can re-earn an option that will allow him to head overseas as a free agent. The only way he can go to the Majors now, within the next four years, is through the posting system. You could argue that it would have been smarter for him to earn his international option by staying with Orix for one more season, but it is possible he feels very strongly about going to the Majors this year. This is a big risk for Kaneko that could end up back-firing if Orix rejects his request to be posted. It could mean having to sign with another NPB team and working out some sort of agreement that might allow him to head to the Majors through the posting system after one or more seasons (but fewer than four).

 

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[11/9/2014] Rumors: Orix Buffaloes, Seibu Lions, Rakuten Eagles

by on Nov.10, 2014 @ 4:55 am, under NPB
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Eiichi Koyano (34) is expected to make an official announcement about his FA option on the 11th. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2014

The Orix Buffaloes and Seibu Lions are interested in veteran Eiichi Koyano (34). Source: Sports Hochi 11/9/2014, Sports Hochi 11/9/2014

The Buffaloes are also interested in Keiji Obiki (30). Kila Ka'aihue (30) is no longer on their radar, but other foreign players with NPB experience, like Tony Blanco (33), are. Obiki may be their top priority. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2014

The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Yokohama senryokugai Hitoshi Fujie (28) and Seibu senryokugai Koji Yamasaki (33). Source: Sponichi 11/9/2014

The Chiba Lotte Marines liked what they saw out of Shun Tono during twelve-team tryouts on Sunday. There were five or six pitchers that drew their attention. They could go after a pitcher. Source: Sponichi 11/9/2014

Kentaro Nishimura and Yoshiyuki Kamei told reporters on Sunday that they are not planning to exercise their FA options. Source: Sponichi 11/9/2014

The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Yokohama senryokugai Travis Mikihisa Samura (21). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/9/2014

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[11/8/2014] Rumors: Eiichi Koyano, Naoki Miyanishi, Kam Mickolio

by on Nov.09, 2014 @ 4:36 am, under NPB
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Eiichi Koyano (34) is planning to exercise his FA option. Source: Daily Sports 11/8/2014 ... A number of teams, including Orix, could be interested. Source: Sponichi 11/8/2014, Sponichi 11/8/2014

Naoki Miyanishi (29) met with team officials for contract negotiations on Saturday. He decided not to exercise his FA option and instead signed a two-year deal that will pay 180 million yen plus twenty million yen in incentives in 2015. There is also an option for a third year that will become guaranteed if he pitches in fifty or more games in each of the next two seasons. He held a press conference at the team offices to announce his decision. Source: official announcement, Daily Sports 11/8/2014, Sponichi 11/8/2014

Keiji Obiki (30) started thinking about free agency after the last game of the Final Stage of the Climax Series. After the game, players called to the manager's room and were given encouraging words with plans for the 2015 season. Obiki was expecting to hear something similar, but only got a "good job." Source: ZakZak 11/8/2014

The Hiroshima Carp notified Kam Mickolio's (30) agent that they will not be offering a contract for the 2015 season. One team official told reporters while they were confident Mickolio could protect three-run leads, they were concerned about his ability to protect one-run leads. They also added that their pitching staff was close to being filled out. A number of NPB teams, including Yokohama and Yakult, could be interested. Source: Sports Hochi 11/8/2014

The Yomiuri Giants are expected to resume contract discussions with Yoshiyuki Kamei and Kentaro Nishimura on the 9th. Source: Sponichi 11/8/2014

The Giants are said to be interested in Chunichi senryokugai Daiki Yoshikawa (22). Source: Sponichi 11/8/2014

The Yakult Swallows are interested in both Kam Mickolio (30) and Bryan Bullington (34). Source: Daily Sports 11/8/2014

Hanshin Tigers' manager Yutaka Wada is prepared to get directly involved in negotiations with Takashi Toritani (33). Source: Sports Hochi 11/8/2014, Daily Sports 11/8/2014

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[11/7/2014] Rumors: Hanshin, Hiroshima, Yakult, Softbank Orix

by on Nov.08, 2014 @ 4:06 am, under NPB
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Hiroyuki Nakajima

  • The Seibu Lions have spoken to Nakajima over the phone. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/7/2014 ... Team official Haruhiko Suzuki spoke to Nakajima over the phone for about twenty minutes. He may have offered the former Lion at least three years, an everyday spot at third base batting third, and the uniform number three. He may have also asked him to reach 2,000 hits while in a Seibu uniform. Nakajima is still interested in playing in the United States. Source: Sports Hochi 11/7/2014 ... Nakajima may have been offered a three year deal worth over 800 million yen, the every day job at third batting third, the uniform number three, and a plan until retirement. The Lions are not interested in getting into a bidding war. Source: Sponichi 11/7/2014
  • The Lions are the only NPB team that can negotiate with Nakajima without having to worry about compensation. The Tigers may opt to wait until December to avoid the compensation penalty. Source: Sports Hochi 11/7/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

Keiji Obiki

  • Obiki on why he decided to exercise his FA option: "The front office tried really hard to get me to stay, but the coaches never said anything to me about next year. It would have been nice to talk to Hideki Kuriyama once..." Source: Sponichi 11/7/2014, Sports Hochi 11/7/2014

===

Hanshin Tigers

Hiroshima Carp

  • Eishin Soyogi (34) told reporters on Thursday that he still wanted more time to think about his options and that he would most likely speak to the Carp at least one more time. He does not want to have any regrets. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/7/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • The Yakult Swallows are looking into Kam Mickolio (30), in addition to Keiji Obiki and Yoshihisa Naruse. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/7/2014

Softbank Hawks

Orix Buffaloes

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