[8/30/2016] Hanshin Tigers not planning to offer Shinobu Fukuhara a contract for 2017

Hanshin Tiger officials, including Tomoaki Kanemoto, met for an organizational meeting in Nishinomiya on August 27. The media learned on August 29 that the Tigers are not planning to offer thirty-nine-year-old pitcher Shinobu Fukuhara a contract extension because they determined he no longer fits into their plans for the 2017 season.

Fukuhara made the opening day roster as a late-inning reliever, but struggled (8 G, 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) and was reassigned to Ni-gun on April 20. His struggles continued: in thirty-three Ni-gun games through August 29, he was 0-1 with five saves, a 6.59 ERA, and a 1.68 WHIP. In his most recent Ni-gun outing on August 27, he faced four hitters and gave up four hits, including a home run.

The Tigers could offer Fukuhara a job in the organization, but he has expressed an interest in playing next year.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/30/2016, Nikkan Sports 8/30/2016, Tokyo Sports 8/30/2016

[UPDATE 8/31 @ 4:18pm]

Team official Keiichiro Yotsufuji spoke to the media on August 30 and said the team was constantly discussing option for the next season. He added that he could not talk about Fukuhara because there were other things to consider, like whether or not he wanted to continue playing and how that ultimately fit into the team’s overall plans. He was also perplexed about reports that Fukuhara was going to be senryokugaied (cut) and said the media was jumping the gun and that discussions for next season were only about to begin.

Fukuhara also spoke to reporters and said he had not yet heard anything from the Tigers.

Source: Sanspo 8/31/2016

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