Nikkan Sports is wondering just how serious the Chunichi Dragons are about keeping Yohei Oshima and Ryosuke Hirata. Team rep Kazuo Nishiyama has told reporters the two players are an important part of the team, but neither has been contacted by the front office.
If the team were in the middle of a pennant run, waiting would make sense, but with an almost guaranteed bottom-third finish, early contact, if only just to let them know they are needed, would not be too distracting. The Dragons could also be waiting until they finalize a decision on their next manager, but it might be too late by then.
Possibly an important point to remember: Hirata and Oshima were turned off by the way the team handled contract negotiations after the 2014 season. There were murmurs that the two might be willing to go to salary arbitration, an option most players in Japan tend to avoid. Hirata again had problems with negotiations after the 2015 season (less about himself and more about negotiations in general) and asked the team to become more transparent about their assessment methods.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/15/2016
[UPDATE @ 9:08pm]
Oshima told reporters today that he if he is not satisfied with the Dragons’ evaluation (offer), he will go somewhere else. But before that can happen, he first needs meet with team officials.
Source: Sponichi 9/15/2016
[UPDATE 9/16 @ 3:45pm]
The front office has reached out to Oshima and Hirata. They are currently working out a schedule. They could meet fairly soon.
Source: Daily Sports 9/16/2016
[UPDATE 9/16 @ 4:01pm]
According to Sports Hochi, Oshima is more concerned about money than years because he feels he is still young enough not to have to worry about long-term security (plus, money might be the easiest way to determine how much a team believes a player is worth). He also said that if he exercises his option and gets offers that are not that much better than Chunichi’s, he will probably stay.
Source: Sports Hochi 9/16/2016
[UPDATE 9/17 @ 7:01pm]
Team owner Bungo Shirai spoke to reporters on September 16 and said the organization would re-sign Oshima and Hirata, even if they exercised their free agent options. Team rep Kazuo Nishiyama will most likely handle negotiations.
Hirata is also open to testing the free agent market if he is not satisfied with Chunichi’s offer (he would like to begin with Chunichi, if possible). Like Oshima, he plans to stay if there is not a lot of a difference in offers.
[UPDATE 9/18 @ 5:47pm]
The media learned on September 17 that Hirata would like ADM’s Toru Mihara to represent him during contract negotiations.
Source: Sports Hochi 9/18/2016
[UPDATE 9/22 @ 12:56am]
As of September 20, the Dragons have yet to reach out to Hirata or Oshima. To make matters more complicated, when Shirai was asked about replacing one or both outfielders through the free agent market on September 20, he said that was possibility and that there were plenty of replacements (could be the media blowing the quote out of proportion as well).
Tokyo Sports is reporting that Hirata might be interested in playing in the Majors and that he might stay with Chunichi just so that he can earn his international FA option sooner.
[UPDATE 9/27 @ 4:34pm]
Oshima met team official Nishiyama for about an hour on September 26. He may have been offered a multi-year deal. He told reporters it was their first meeting and that things were still a lot of things to discuss.
Source: Daily Sports 9/27/2016
[UPDATE 9/28 @ 12:59pm]
The media learned on September 27 that General Manager Hiromitsu Ochiai will not be directly involved in negotiations with Oshima and Hirata. Nishiyama told reporters he would be the only one talking to the two players.
[UPDATE 10/12 @ 7:01am]
Hirata is not planning to rush his decision and will most likely use all the time he has until the deadline.
Oshima is still fifty/fifty on his option. He reportedly met Nishiyama for the first time on September 26 and may have been offered a multi-year deal.
[UPDATE 10/22 @ 11:19pm]
Discussions between Oshima and Chunichi are at a standstill after two meetings. The thirty-year-old outfielder told the Dragons he was interested in testing the free agent market. He told reporters on October 21 that it was not necessarily an issue about whether or not they were sincere during discussions, but rather more about wanting to hear what kind of offers other clubs might present him.
Source: Daily Sports 10/22/2016