More than 10 days have passed since his sudden transfer to the Giants. More than 10 days have passed since his sudden move to the Giants, and the criticism and recriminations against Sho Nakata (32) and his team, Nippon Ham, have yet to subside.
“On August 4, Nakata assaulted a junior pitcher behind the bench, and on August 11, the team suspended him indefinitely from all first and second team games. On the 11th, he was suspended indefinitely by the team from all first- and second-team games, and despite this, he was transferred to the Giants on the 20th and appeared in a game on the following day, the 21st. If you think about it normally, you would want to ask yourself, ‘What was the punishment?
It’s also strange that the press conference was held in Tokyo instead of Nippon-Ham’s hometown in Hokkaido. He should have apologized to the people of Hokkaido for supporting him, not to the fans of the Giants. The free trade to the Giants was made in a way that ignored the local fans,” said a sports reporter.
Hideki Kuriyama, the manager of Nippon Ham, called Tatsunori Hara, the manager of the Giants, directly out of parental love for Nakata’s talent. It is said that the transfer was approved at a top-level meeting. Originally, Nichiham and the Giants had a close relationship with many trades. Nippon-Ham has accepted Tomohiro Niioka, who was involved in an affair with a female celebrity, as well as Taiji Ota and Kenji Yano, who failed to blossom with the Giants. Some believe that by taking on Nakata, the Giants have returned the favor.
“Some believe that by taking on Nakata, the Giants repaid their debt. It is true that Nippon-Ham was having trouble dealing with him, no matter how many years he had been their No. 4 hitter. The Giants came to the rescue. If you think that they accepted Nakata in order to repay their debt, it may not seem like a good thing, but the Giants also have a lot of positive factors.
This season, Nakata is struggling with a batting average in the 10% range, but he is a talented player who has won the batting title three times and hit a personal best 31 home runs last year. If he can regain his true form, he has the ability to be a mainstay of the Giants. Manager Hara has long been advocating “trades without sanctuary” in order to revamp the team’s quiet atmosphere. Nakata, with his rambunctious personality, may be able to revitalize the team,” said a Giants team official.
Players in a similar predicament
If Nakata, who was acquired for free, is inspired, the Giants will make a profit. On the other hand, there is a possibility that Nichi-Ham will ask for compensation if Nakata does well. One player in particular is attracting attention.
“It’s the catcher Seiji Kobayashi. His lead is top-notch, but he has been bouncing back and forth between the first and second teams this season due to injuries. His hitting, which has been an issue, has been hitting .100 and shows no signs of improvement.
Furthermore, Kobayashi’s position is made worse by the success of his rival, Takuzo Oshiro. Oshiro became the first player to hit double-digit home runs. Defensively, he ranks first in the league in stolen base percentage, well over 40%. His background from Tokai University Sagami High School to Tokai University is the same as manager Hara’s, and he is also a favorite of the commander. Kobayashi has fallen behind Ohshiro and is stuck in the position of ‘defensive solider’ or ‘second catcher.
Kobayashi’s talent will not be able to show its full potential if he stays with the Giants, and he may end up being a “treasure trove. He is not in trouble, but he is in a similar predicament as Nakata was when he was with Nippon Ham.
Despite his ability, Kobayashi has no place to play. It would not be surprising if Nippon-Ham came forward to acquire him. Nippon-Ham has used young catchers such as Yushin Shimizu and Ryo Ishikawa, but they have yet to solidify their regular lineup. Kobayashi is 32 years old and has a lot of experience, so he can be a good role model for them. Kobayashi is 32 years old, has a lot of experience, and can be a good role model for them.
“He has a good reputation for leading and is a player I would like to have. They are currently in the bottom of the league, but they will want to impress the new Fighters at the new stadium. In order to do that, it is not enough to just improve the current strength of the team. Kobayashi has the “Giants brand” and is good-looking, so he has the makings of a star player. He is a perfect candidate for reinforcement. The trade for Sho Nakata has strengthened our ties with the Giants, and we can’t afford not to take advantage of that.
In exchange for Nakata, Kobayashi was acquired. If both teams come to the conclusion that it will be a win-win situation, then it is quite possible.
Photo： Kyodo News