The Hanshin Tigers announced today that this will be Masayuki Kakefu’s year as Ni-gun manager. Kakefu started working with the Tigers in October 2013. He took over as Ni-gun manager in 2016. He will most likely be offered a job as an adviser to the owner.
Tiger’s President Keiichiro Yotsufuji told the media today that Kakefu helped improve the quality of their farm system and that the team was slowly beginning to reap the benefits of his hard work. He also said that in thinking about the future of the farm system, it made sense to bring in fresh blood.
Kakefu also spoke to the media today. He said he was happy to see players succeeding at the Ichi-gun level and that he felt the last four years were productiv/e. He also said he wanted the next manager to feel comfortable maintaining their own style while at the same time working with the needs of the front office.
Fans lined up for the Ni-gun game against Softbank at Naruohama today. Stadium officials announced a full house at 10:05am.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/10/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/10/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/10/2017, Sponichi 9/10/2017, Sponichi 9/10/2017, Daily Sports 9/10/2017, Daily Sports 9/10/2017, Daily Sports 9/10/2017, Sports Hochi 9/10/2017, Daily Sports 9/10/2017
[UPDATE 9/12 @ 3:16pm]
The Tigers are planning to shift the last two home games of the Ni-gun regular season (September 27 and 29) from Naruohama to Koshien Stadium. The organization wants to give as many fans a chance to watch Kakefu’s last two games of the season as manager of the Ni-gun team.
Note: Naruohama has room for about 500 fans. There should be room for about 10,000 fans (with room to expand if necessary) at Koshien Stadium.
And according to a report by Tokyo Sports (and hinted by other articles), a developing rift in work ethics between Kakefu and Tomoaki Kanemoto may have been the reason for the former’s departure.
[UPDATE 9/13 @ 3:20pm]
The Tigers announced today that the last two home Ni-gun games of the season (September 27, 28 against Hiroshima) will take place Koshien Stadium.
Source: Hanshin 9/13/2017
[UPDATE 9/27 @ 10:09pm]
Nothing is official yet, but Kakefu is expected to join the front office. He is scheduled to meet team owner Shinya Sakai on September 29.