Sho Nakata’s Future in Baseball: Staying with Giants or Exploring New Horizons | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Sho Nakata’s Future in Baseball: Staying with Giants or Exploring New Horizons

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Nakata may exercise his FA rights to be a starter (PHOTO: Kyodo News)

Will the cannonballer who played the No. 4 position leave the team?

On October 19, Sho Nakata, 34, of the Giants, who has overseas FA rights, spoke to the press after practicing at the Giants’ stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture.


“I am thinking about it a lot. I have a strong desire to play in games, whether as a DH or defender. I hope to have my name in the starting lineup. I am prepared to do anything as long as I can play in a game.

Manager Hara, to whom he owes a debt of gratitude, resigns

This season, Nakata was often used as a substitute due to injury. The above statement could be taken as an expression of his determination to leave the Giants in search of a new home where he can play as a starter.


“I think there is a high possibility that he will exercise his FA rights. This is because even if Nakata stays with the Giants next season, it will be difficult for him to play as a starter. The reason lies in the conversion of the main players. Rookie Makoto Kadowaki has grown up, and Hayato Sakamoto has moved from shortstop to third base. Kazuma Okamoto, the main gun who had been guarding third base, will move to first base. Nakata, whose main job is first base, will see his opportunities decrease. Masato Akihiro, who had a breakout season this year, can also play first base, so he becomes a rival.”

“It was then manager Tatsunori Hara who invited Nakata to join the Giants in August 2021 after the assault incident at Nippon Ham. Nakata must have felt indebted to him. Mr. Hara resigned as manager after this season. Nakata’s departure from the Giants will not be a problem,” said a source close to the team.

Rumors are already circulating in baseball circles as to where Nakata will move to.

SoftBank is the frontrunner, as the team is in a transitional period after missing three consecutive championships and is looking for a right-handed cannon. Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa was thought to be the most likely candidate, but he has been accused of assaulting a woman. They are said to be interested in Nakata instead. Chunichi, which has also been in last place for two consecutive years due to a lack of a cannon, is also a candidate for a transfer destination.

The name of an unexpected team is also being mentioned.


The Orix, who have won the league championship three years in a row. The Orixs have many long-hitting hitters such as Yutaro Sugimoto and Tomoya Mori, but the Orixs would be able to trust Nakata to play first base. Hiromasa Tongu, who won the top spot in the batting order this season, has often defended the position, but he was injured in the last half of the season, so he may be used as a DH next season to reduce his burden.

It is also significant for Nakata that his old acquaintance Junichi Fukura, who served as a coach at Nippon-Ham, is in a responsible position as GM and manager of organization. Satoshi Nakajima, who spent the last part of his career with Nippon-Ham, is also a close friend of Nakata. Nakata told reporters, “I am who I am because of my family.” His wife was a classmate of his in high school (Toin Osaka), so Kansai must be a comfortable place for him and his family. The Orix is the right team for him to move to.

Staying or FA? The time for Nakata to make a decision is approaching.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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