Yoshio Itoi is taking his option seriously. He told reporters he felt the option was going to be his first and last. His statement could be seen as an indication that he plans to exercise the option.
The Orix Buffaloes could offer a three-year deal worth as much as 1.2 billion yen.
[UPDATE @ 11:27pm]
The Hanshin Tigers are interested in Itoi. They were also rumored to be interested in Motohiro Shima, but they may have set their priorities on the thirty-five-year-old veteran because they already have a couple of options at catcher. His addition would also mean the Tigers not having to take a risk on the overseas market.
[UPDATE 10/12 @ 8:08am]
The Yomiuri Giants are interested in Itoi. They had a difficult time finding consistency in the outfield this season and are looking to upgrade the position. Other players might become available on the free agent market, but Itoi is their top choice for the time being.
There are rumors Itoi wants to play for a team close to Tokyo because he wants to be closer to his family.
Source: Sanspo 10/11/2016
[UPDATE 10/12 @ 8:30am]
The Tigers might be preparing a three-year deal for Itoi.
Source: Sanspo 10/12/2016
[UPDATE 10/19 @ 6:12am]
According to Daily Sports, Itoi is planning to exercise his free agent option. He apparently has a preference for teams in the Osaka area, which means it could come down to Orix and Hanshin.
Source: Daily Sports 10/18/2016
[UPDATE 10/19 @ 9:54pm]
Itoi met the Buffaloes this month for their second meeting.
Source: Sanspo 10/19/2016
[UPDATE 10/20 @ 9:02am]
The Tigers and Buffaloes may be the only two teams that actually get involved. He is a class B free agent and will require compensation: either sixty percent of his salary or a player plus forty percent of his salary.
Source: Sponichi 10/20/2016
[UPDATE 10/22 @ 11:06pm]
The Buffaloes may have offered Itoi a four-year deal worth as much as 1.8 billion yen.
Orix has met Itoi a number of times and made adjustments to their offer based on their discussions. The thirty-five-year-old veteran has still not decided what he wants to do with his option.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/22/2016