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[11/11/2015] Hanshin Tigers part ways with Matt Murton

by on Nov.11, 2015 @ 6:39 pm, under NPB
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Matt Murton posted the following update at his official website today:

Hello everyone.

The Hanshin organization officially informed me the other day that they were not going to offer me a contract for the 2016 season.

I am grateful to the cheering fans and the people that supported my family in Kobe over the last six years.

I probably never would have been able to accomplish all that I did during those six years without everyone's support.

I am sad to have to leave, but at the same time, I am looking forward to facing the challenges ahead of me.

I pray for everyone's happiness.

Please do not forget that Jesus loves everyone.

God Bless!

The Murton Family

Source: MurtonBaseball.com

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[10/9/2015] Tokyo Sports posts an interview with Matt Murton

by on Oct.09, 2015 @ 1:32 pm, under NPB
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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.

What now?

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

[9/18/2015] NPB: Umpire reprimanded for incident involving Matt Murton

by on Sep.19, 2015 @ 9:30 am, under NPB
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The media learned on September 18 that the Hanshin Tigers filed a petition for the improvement of umpires after an incident involving an umpire (name withheld) and Matt Murton on September 12.

According Tokyo Sports, the incident took place immediately after a Hiroshima game at Koshien on September 12. An umpire walked over to the Hanshin dugout on the first base side of the field and started shouting things like, "You're too damn loud! You should keep your mouth shut!" toward Murton. Tempers started to flare, but fortunately Kosuke Fukudome was standing nearby (he heard everything and was also upset at what was happening) and managed to keep his teammate from making things worse.

The NPB conducted an investigation on September 15. They interviewed players, other than Murton, that were on the field when the incident took place. The umpire in question later admitted to shouting at Murton and said, "I didn't use [violent language]. Our eyes met and I just went into that mode."

The umpire was reprimanded for his actions. The NPB informed Hanshin that they would train their umpires to avoid a repeat occurrence.

Source: Tokyo Sports 9/18/2015, Tokyo Sports 9/18/2015, Sanspo 9/18/2015, Daily Sports 9/18/2015

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[9/3/2015] Hanshin Tigers: Matt Murton collects 1000th NPB hit in 809th game

by on Sep.04, 2015 @ 5:35 am, under NPB
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Matt Murton collected his 1,000th NPB hit during the Hiroshima Carp game on September 3. With a runner on third and one out in the bottom of the 1st, Murton hit a single to center off Yuya Fukui for hit number 1,000.

Murton added two more hits to his total after his 1,000th: a single to center in the 3rd and a double to left in the 7th.

Other notes about the hit:

  • Murton is the first foreign player in Tigers' history to reach 1,000 hits.
  • He recorded his 1,000th hit in his sixth season, fastest in NPB history.
  • He recorded his 1,000th hit in his 809th game, fifth fastest in NPB history. Ichiro Suzuki holds the NPB record of 757 games. Boomer Wells holds the NPB record for foreign players of 781 games.
  • He recorded his first hit on March 26, 2010 off Yokohama's Stephen Randolph.
  • He holds the NPB record for most hits in a season with 214. He led the league in hits in 2011 (180) and 2013 (178).

Fastest to 1,000 hits

Player Team Year Games
Suzuki, Ichiro Orix 1999 757
Aoki, Norichika Yakult 2010 770
Wells, Boomer Orix 1989 781
Yonamine, Wally Yomiuri 1958 793
Murton, Matt Hanshin 2015 809
Matsui, Kazuo Seibu 2001 818
Lee, Leron Lotte 1983 821
Rose, Robert Yokohama 1999 828
Nagashima, Shigeo Yomiuri 1964 849
Takahashi, Yoshinobu Yomiuri 2004 850

Foreign Players with at least 1,000 hits

Player Hits
Ramirez, Alex 2,017
Rhodes, Tuffy 1,792
Lee, Leron 1,579
Lee, Leon 1,436
Marcano, Bobby 1,418
Wells, Boomer 1,413
Cabrera, Alex 1,368
Yonamine, Wally 1,337
Rose, Robert 1,275
Fernandez, Jose 1,286
Sipin, John 1,124
Barbon, Roberto 1,123
Murton, Matt 1,002

Source: Daily Sports 9/3/2015, Sponichi 9/3/2015, Nikkan Sports 9/3/2015

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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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[11/27/2014] Rumors: Kam Mickolio, Wily Mo Pena, Yunielkis Gourriel

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:39 am, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Kam Mickolio (30). They may be moving away from re-signing Brian Falkenborg (36). Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014

The Seibu Lions have been checking the overseas market for a third baseman. They have so far narrowed their list down to five or six candidates. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

The Orix Buffaloes will most likely part ways with Wily Mo Pena (32). There was reportedly over a 100 million yen difference between what Orix was offering and what Pena wanted. The slugger was also said to be looking for a multi-year deal. The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Pena. The Buffaloes are looking into Tony Blanco (34) as a possible replacement. They could offer him a two-year deal worth about 400 million yen. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014, Sports Hochi 11/27/2014

The Hanshin Tigers' quartet of foreign players, Randy Messenger (33), Seung-Hwan Oh (32), Matt Murton (33), and Mauro Gomez (30), should all be signed to contracts for the 2015 season by some time around December 10. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars general manager Shigeru Takada spoke to reporters on Wednesday and said that he was informed negotiations with Cuban players will begin after the 9th. Yokohama will most likely prepare about 300 million yen for Yulieski Gourriel (30). Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

The Bay Stars are looking into Gourriel's brother, Yunielkis Gourriel (22). Source: Sports Hochi 11/27/2014

Yomiuri's Tomoyuki Sugano agreed to a forty-million yen raise on Wednesday. His salary for the 2015 season will be an estimated 110 million yen. He joined Yoshinobu Takahashi, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Micheal Nakamura as the only players in NPB history to reach 100 million yen in their third year. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014

Kentaro Nishimura signed a two-year contract with the Giants on Wednesday. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014

The Softbank Hawks re-signed Shoji Yoshimoto (21) to an Ikusei contract. His uniform number will change from 33 to 121. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/27/2014

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[10/31/2014] Rumors: Yomiuri, Hanshin, Hiroshima, Chunichi, Yokohama, Yakult

by on Nov.01, 2014 @ 4:47 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

Hanshin Tigers

  • Takahiro Arai ended up missing the Nippon Series because of back problems. He finished out the final year of a three-year deal this season. His salary this season was an estimated 200 million yen. There is a good chance the Tigers will offer him something much lower. Source: Sanspo 10/31/2014
  • The Tigers will most likely give Matt Murton a nice raise over the estimated 3.5 million US dollars he made this year. They could also offer him a multi-year deal. Hanshin is also negotiating with Mauro Gomez. He made an estimated 1.2 million US dollars this season. Source: Sanspo 10/31/2014

Hiroshima Carp

  • Shogo Kimura met team official Kiyoaki Suzuki at Mazda Stadium on Thursday. Kimura is still not sure what he wants to do with his option. He is expected to finalize his decision next week. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014 ... Kimura was likely offered a raise over the thirty-one million yen he made this year. Source: Spoorts Hochi 10/31/2014
  • The Carp are not planning to offer Bryan Bullington (34) and Zach Phillips (28) contracts for the 2015 season. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014, Sponichi 10/31/2014 ... Hiroshima was discussing an extension with Bullington and planning to re-sign Phillips, but backed out of both after signing Mike Zagurski and Kris Johnson. Source: Daily Sports 10/31/2014

Chunichi Dragons

  • Kenta Asakura (33) is not planning to exercise his FA option and will instead most likely sign a one-year deal. Source: Sports Hochi 10/31/2014
  • Daisuke Yamai met general manager Hiromitsu Ochiai for contract negotiations on Friday. It was their second meeting since the end of the season. Yamai later told reporters he would be ready to talk about his FA option on November 5. Source: Sponichi 10/31/2014, Nikkan Sports 10/31/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Tatsuhiko Kinjo (38) has been offered a contract to stay, but still needs more time to think. Source: Sponichi 10/31/2014

Yakult Swallows

  • The Swallows are not planning to offer Chris Narveson (32) and Chris Carpenter (28) contracts for the 2015 season. Source: Sanspo 10/31/2014

[10/30/2014] Rumors: Motohiro Shima (Rakuten), Miguel Mejia

by on Oct.31, 2014 @ 4:15 am, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

  • The Tigers are planning to ask Tsuyoshi Nishioka to return next year. Nishioka has apparently expressed an interest in staying. Hanshin is also most likely planning to ask Matt Murton and Mauro Gomez to return in 2015. Takashi Toritani told reporters he wanted time to think through his options. Atsushi Nomi is not thinking about exercising his FA option. Source: Sponichi 10/31/2014

Hiroshima Carp

  • Shogo Kimura met with team officials for contract negotiations on Thursday. Kimura was presented with terms, but told Hiroshima he needed more time to think. Source: Daily Sports 10/30/2014

Rakuten Eagles

  • Motohiro Shima told reporters he was going to spend as much time as he has to consider his options. Source: Sports Hochi 10/30/2014

Seibu Lions

  • The Lions are planning to give Miguel Mejia (26) a tryout. He is scheduled to arrive in Japan in November and will partcipate in fall practices at Seibu Dome. Mejia attended a tryout with Nippon Ham last October, but failed to make the team. He played for the Lamigo Monkeys this past season (55 G, 5-1, 35 Sv, 1.24 ERA). Source: Nikkan Sports 10/30/2014

Orix Buffaloes

  • Takahiro Mahara was reportedly offered a multi-year contract, but agreed to a one-year deal. Source: Sports Hochi 10/30/2014
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[8/10/2014] Injury Report: Hisayoshi Chono (Yomiuri), Matt Murton (Hanshin)

by on Aug.11, 2014 @ 12:00 am, under NPB
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Yomiuri Giants

  • Hisayoshi Chono started feeling discomfort in his lower back after his at bat in the 1st inning of Sunday's game against the Chunichi Dragons.  He was removed on defense in the 3rd as a precaution.  He did not go to the hospital but did get treatment. Source: Sponichi 8/10/2014

Hanshin Tigers

  • Matt Murton was left out of the starting line-up again on Sunday because of lingering tightness in his lower body.  He did make it into the game as a pinch-hitter (he grounded out to short). Source: Daily Sports 8/10/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Sho Aranami left Saturday's game on defense in the 2nd inning because of tightness in his right calf. Source: Sanspo 8/10/2014
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