More on Kikuchi
Even if Yusei Kikuchi winds up choosing to sign with an MLB team, NPB is not going to go down without a fight.
NPB is trying to employ some new tactics in the hopes of giving their teams an edge in signing Kikuchi. The Daily Yomiuri has conveniently run the story in English, which saves me a step:
Japan’s teams say they want to meet pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.
On Thursday, Nippon Professional Baseball’s board of directors met and filed a request to the High School Baseball Federation that asked Iwate Prefecture’s Hanamaki Higashi High School to bring the pitcher to the table when NPB’s clubs come calling.
The school has said the pitcher, who has said he may sign with a major league club, will not attend meetings with the representatives of Japanese teams.
NPB also requested the youngster not meet with anyone from a major league team until after Japan’s amateur draft later this month.
(for those interested in the original Japanese, please find it here)
Kikuchi doesn’t have an agent, but he and his family have entrusted his high school manager, Hiroshi Sasaki, with the task of inter-mediating negotiations for the time being. Junichi Tazawa used his manager at Eneos, Hideaki Ohkubo, in a similar manner last year. Sasaki has yet to meet with any MLB teams during these negotiations, and it remains to be seen whether he and the school will grant NPB’s request.
In other news, the Rangers continue to be perhaps the most frequently mentioned in the media among Kikuchi’s suitors. Most recently GM Jon Daniels told a Chunichi Sports reporter, “he’s the type of player we’re looking for”. The Rangers have also signed Kazuo Fukumori and Yukinaga Maeda out of Japan, and plucked Keisuke Ueno from the old Samurai Bears of the Golden League.