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[11/27/2014] Free Agents: Takashi Toritani, Chihiro Kaneko

by on Nov.28, 2014 @ 3:45 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • Toritani is letting his agent handle everything in the United States while he focuses on his training and conditioning. He wants to do what he can to make sure he is ready to play a full MLB season. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Orix Buffaloes want Kaneko to focus on his right elbow for the time being. Negotiations will likely be put on hold for the time being (until he is ready). Source: Sponichi 11/26/2014
  • The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Kaneko, but are not ready to make an offer because they feel they still need more information. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/26/2014, Sports Hochi 11/26/2014, Daily Sports 11/26/2014 ... The Tigers want to give Kaneko space as he works out a plan for his right elbow. They are also curious to see how things turn out. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014 ... The Tigers are planning to hold another meeting on Kaneko early next week. They will not be able to put an offer together until they know what kind of condition Kaneko is in after he goes under the knife, assuming he goes through with the procedure. Source: Daily Sports 11/27/2014 ... Kaneko's agent reached out to the Tigers to assure them that there should be more than enough time for Kaneko to have surgery, go through rehab, and be ready for opening day next year. Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014
  • Yokohama Bay Stars general manager Shigeru Takada told reporters he found out about Kaneko's elbow before he made the announcement. He does not appear to be too concerned about the possibility of surgery. Source: Sanspo 11/27/2014 ... Takada on posting players: "We are not fully against it. As an organization, it isn't a definitive no." Source: Sponichi 11/27/2014
  • Softbank Hawks' chairman Sadaharu Oh indicated on Tuesday that the Hawks will pass on Kaneko if he is hoping to be posted after one year (or wants that option). Source: Sports Hochi 11/26/2014

===

The Yakult Swallows officially signed Yoshihisa Naruse (29) to a three-year deal worth an estimated 600 million yen on Tuesday. He was assigned the number seventeen. The Swallows will introduce him during a press conference on December 9. Yakult is still looking for a pitcher on the overseas market. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/25/2014

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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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[11/21/2014] Free Agents: Takashi Toritani, Chihiro Kaneko, Yoshihisa Naruse, Eiichi Koyano

by on Nov.22, 2014 @ 5:02 am, under NPB
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Takashi Toritani

  • Toritani may still be wavering about leaving the Hanshin Tigers for the Majors.

Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014

Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Orix Buffaloes are not planning to rush their negotiations with Kaneko. They might wait to see what kind of offers he gets from other clubs.
  • Arn Tellem may have asked other NPB teams to submit offers on Kaneko.
  • Orix team official Ryuzo Setoyama on posting Kaneko: "We are currently not accepting it. He has not told us about wanting to be posted [during negotiations up to now]. We've told him we want him to stay with Orix and help us next season."

Source: Sanspo 11/21/2014, Nikkan Sports 11/21/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • Naruse could announce his intention to sign with Yakult on Sunday, the day after Lotte's fan appreciation day.

Source: Sports Hochi 11/21/2014

Eiichi Koyano

  • Koyano grew up in Edogawa, Tokyo. He once got lost at Seibu Stadium when he was a child. His wife and daughter live in Tokyo. He told reporters he was used to living apart from his family in Hokkaido, but with offers from three teams on the table (Seibu, Orix, Hippon Ham), there is a good chance will pick Seibu.

Sources: ZakZak 11/21/2014

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[11/16/2014] Free Agents: Chihiro Kaneko, Yoshihisa Naruse, Tatsuhiko Kinjo, Ryoji Aikawa

by on Nov.16, 2014 @ 3:52 am, under NPB
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Chihiro Kaneko

  • The Phillies are interested in Kaneko.
  • An unnamed person with connections to an AL West team: He's probably a fourth starter. ... Fewer teams will be involved if the posting fee reaches twenty million. Around ten million would be reasonable. ... Considering Kaneko's age, a three-year deal seems appropriate. But at three years, a twenty million posting fee is too high.
  • The Hanshin Tigers will only move on Kaneko if he wants to stay in Japan.
  • The Chunichi Dragons will likely hold off on reaching out to Kaneko until after team rep Kazuo Nishiyama returns from his trip to the Dominican Republic.

Sources: Daily Sports 11/15/2014, Sponichi 11/15/2014, Sponichi 11/15/2014, Sanspo 11/15/2014, Sanspo 11/15/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • Naruse is planning to wait to make his decision until after Lotte's fan appreciation day on the 22nd. He feels it would be in poor taste to attend the event as a member of another team.

Sources: Sponichi 11/15/2014

Tatsuhiko Kinjo

  • Kinjo met with Yomiuri for about an hour on Saturday.
  • The two sides have reportedly agreed to basic terms on a one-year deal.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/15/2014, Sponichi 11/15/2014

Ryoji Aikawa

  • Tatsunori Hara told reporters on Friday he heard talks with Aikawa went well and that his addition would help both the team and upcoming catcher Seiji Kobyashi.

Sources: Daily Sports 11/15/2014

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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

===

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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[11/7/2014] 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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[11/5/2014] Rumors: Hanshin Tigers, Chunichi Dragons, Yokohama Bay Stars

by on Nov.06, 2014 @ 5:42 am, under NPB
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Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • The Softbank Hawks could offer Matsuzaka a four-year deal worth 400 million or more a year plus incentives and the number eighteen. The Hawks could be the front runners for a number of reasons, including: Softbank has deep pockets, Matsuzaka's wife is from Fukuoka, Matsuzaka may prefer the less media intensive Fukuoka over Tokyo. Source: ZakZak 11/5/2014

Hiroyuki Nakajima

  • The Seibu Lions could offer Nakajima a three-year deal worth a total of about 800 million yen. The Hanshin Tigers are expected to offer something more. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014
  • The Lions are also willing to discuss options with Nakajima past their current offer. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014, Sports Hochi 11/5/2014
  • The Lions are slated to speak to Nakajima over the phone on the 5th. They could offer three or more years at 200 or more million yen. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Takahiro Arai

Naoki Miyanishi

  • Miyanishi will most likely spend all the time he has until the 8th to decide on his option. A number of teams are interested in his services, including Hanshin and Orix. Source: Sponichi 11/5/2014
  • Miyanishi could be planning to announce his decision to stay in Sapporo on the 8th. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Yoshihisa Naruse

  • The Yakult Swallows are interested in Naruse. The Tigers were rumored to be preparing a three-year offer in the area of 600 million yen. Yakult could be putting together a package in the same range. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

Keiji Obiki

  • Obiki is planning to exercise his FA option. He is expected to make an announcement on the 6th. The Fighter could be open to returning to the negotiating table after he becomes a free agent. Source: Daily Sports 11/5/2014

===

Hanshin Tigers

  • The Tigers are interested in Kyuji Fujikawa (34) and Munenori Kawasaki (33). These could be considered alternates to Yoshihisa Naruse (29) and Hiroyuki Nakajima (32). Source: Nikkan Sports 11/5/2014

Chunichi Dragons

  • Daisuke Yamai (36) decided not to exercise his FA option. He finalized his contract on Wednesday. He agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated 120 million yen each year (or 360 million yen total). The 120 million yen is up 60 million over what he made this season. Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • The Bay Stars have an interest Kam Mickolio (30). They see him as a candidate to close. Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2014

[11/4/2014] Rumors: Hanshin Tigers, Yokohama Bay Stars, Rakuten Eagles, Chiba Lotte Marines, Softbank Hawks

by on Nov.05, 2014 @ 3:54 am, under NPB
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Hanshin Tigers

  • Matt Murton (33) told reporters he should be able to return to Japan next year. Source: Sporst Hochi 11/4/2014, Sponichi 11/4/2014
  • If Takashi Toritani (33) decides to leave, the Tigers could look at players like Munenori Kawasaki (33), Keiji Obiki (30), and Hiroyuki Nakajima (32) to replace him. Source: Sports Hochi 11/4/2014
  • The Tigers could offer Nakajima up to four years at over one billion yen. Source: Nikkan Sports 11/4/2014
  • The Red Sox and Blue Jays were the only two MLB teams that had scouts checking on Toritani during the Nippon Series. Source: Sanspo 11/4/2014

Yokohama Bay Stars

  • Tatsuhiko Kinjo (38) filed paperwork to exercise his FA option on Tuesday. Source: Daily Sports 11/4/2014
  • Masanori Hayashi decided not to exercise his FA option after his six-year-old daughter asked him not to. It also probably helped that he got a three-year deal worth an estimated forty-one million yen next season (up fifteen million from this year). Source: Sports Hochi 11/4/2014

Rakuten Eagles

  • The Eagles are interested in Keiji Obiki (30). They feel he could be their everyday shortstop if they move Kazuo Matsui to the outfield on a permanent basis. Source: Sponichi 11/4/2014

Chiba Lotte Marines

Softbank Hawks

  • The Hawks could offer Daisuke Matsuzaka a contract that runs three or more years. Source: Sponichi 11/4/2014

===

Hiroyuki Nakajima = Seibu, Hanshin, Orix, Lotte, Yokohama. Source: Sponichi 11/4/2014

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