NPB news: Dec. 18, 2022

On Sunday, we had a player apologized for trying to negotiate a better deal, while another player said he took his team to task for the quality of nutritional support their players receive.

Shimauchi begs forgiveness

Two years ago, Hiroaki Shimauchi signed a four-year deal with the Rakuten Eagles that bumped his reported salary up 20 million yen to 120 million a year for 2021. That year he led the Pacific League in RBIs and received the same amount for 2022, when he led the PL in hits.

After this year’s mandatory negotiation, Shimauchi revealed to the media that he asked the team to reconsider his current contract.

“I told them I wanted to change the conditions so I could file for free agency,” he said. “It’s not about getting more money, but little by little I’ve thought I’d like to wear the uniform of another team.”

As one would guess, that went over real well with the Rakuten brass, who handed him a piece of paper with last year’s salary figures and he signed it, as he is contractually obligated to do.

On Sunday, after taking part in a baseball clinic in Yamanashi Prefecture, the outfielder apologized for speaking out of turn and exercising his right to negotiate.

“The things I said were rash,” Shimauchi said. “The team was not wrong. I was, and because of that, I have apologized to the manager.”

Taguchi begs for better food

Lefty Kazuto Taguchi has been a huge windfall for the Yakult Swallows in middle relief he was discarded by the Yomiuri Giants in a trade for infielder Taishi Hirooka just before the 2021 season.

While many players enjoy the looser atmosphere upon escaping the strict dictates of the Yomiuri orthodoxy, Taguchi has not been without his complaints, and said Sunday that he told the team so during his contract negotiations this past week.

“I informed them that I would like the food situation improved,” he told reporters at the team offices. “They said they would change what they could.”

“The team doesn’t employ a nutritionist, while the Giants had one at every game and accompanying the team on every road trip.”

Taguchi said teammates he’d spoken to about it agreed that things could be better.

“Each individual has preferences for how and what they eat. A nutritionist would support players in their ability to maintain their condition,” he said, adding that better food would increase bonding within the team.

“That our meal times are not like that is a wasted opportunity.”

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