Ryosuke Hirata held a press conference at Nagoya Stadium today and announced that he decided to stay and will not exercise his free agent option.
The Dragons released the following comment from Hirata:
I decided not to exercise my free agent option and will stay with the Dragons. I met the team representative four times and spent over ten hours talking about things. We spoke about the culture of baseball, about my place within the organization, and about what kinds of things I should. There was a lot of talk about the intangibles.
I was told that I was an important part of the Dragons and my feelings about being a part of the team, about wanting to be a part of the Dragons, grew stronger. I was also told that I am a part of their plans for next season. I want to do what I can to live up to their expectations, both on a personal level and on a team level.
I want to thank the fans that may have been upset or worried. I talked to a lot of people and they all gave me their opinions, both good and bad. Regardless, I could feel just how much they cared. Please continue to cheer for the Ryosuke Hirata that will again play for the Chunichi Dragons next year. I promise to do what I can to get Nagoya excited.
[UPDATE 11/19 @ 11:14pm]
Hirata agreed to a five-year deal with a variable salary. He is set to make an estimated 120 million yen next year.
Source: Sports Hochi 11/19/2016