The Yomiuri Giants announced on October 13 that they are not planning to sign thirty-six-year-old Shuichi Murata to a contract for the 2018 season.
Murata met General Manager Yoshitaka Katori at a hotel in Tokyo earlier in the day and was told the Giants were focusing on youth, particularly in the infield, and could not guarantee him a lot of playing time. The Giants wanted to show their gratitude for everything the veteran did for the organization over the years and felt releasing him would provide him with more options*.
Murata reportedly thanked Katori for being straight with him. The third baseman is interested in playing next year.
* The Giants could have made Murata exercise his free agent option, but instead released him. Teams that sign him now do not have to worry about compensation.
[UPDATE 10/15 @ 6:02am]
The Chiba Lotte Marines are interested in Murata.
The Swallows could also be interested in the veteran, depending on the health of players like Shingo Kawabata and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama.
According to Sanspo, Murata was prepared to stay with the Giants, regardless of the playing conditions.
[UPDATE 10/15 @ 9:14pm]
Murata was prepared to finish his career with the Giants, particularly because it was his decision to sign with the team after he exercised his free agent option (he felt a sense of responsibility). He never considered free agency.
Considering his family situation, Murata will probably want to stay close to Tokyo. However, he knows he may not have that luxury.
Source: ZakZak 10/15/2017
[UPDATE 10/20 @ 10:12pm]
The Yakult Swallows and Chiba Lotte Marines are not interested in Murata at this time. The Swallows have Kawabata and the Marines are focusing on internal development. Circumstances can change, but for the time being, it seems neither team will actively pursue the veteran.
[UPDATE 10/23 @ 11:13pm]
The Rakuten Eagles are interested in Murata. They already have players like Zelous Wheeler and Ginji to play third and first, respectively, but would also like to expand their options with a Japanese right-handed hitter with pop.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/23/2017
[UPDATE 11/23 @ 9:52pm]
Lions Senior Director Hisanobu Watanabe told reporters they were not planning to approach Murata because they already have options at third base and designated hitter.
Source: Sponichi 11/23/2017
[UPDATE 11/26 @ 3:40am]
Murata has not received any offers. He wants to play baseball and is apparently open to taking tryouts with teams during spring camp next year.
Source: Sponichi 11/25/2017
[UPDATE 12/28 @ 11:06am]
Murata is starting to consider the possibility of retirement.
Source: ZakZak 12/28/2017
[UPDATE 1/9/2018 @ 3:23am]
Murata wants to continue playing and is planning to prepare accordingly. He is open to tryouts and is keeping all his options open, including playing for an independent league team in Japan. For now, he has his sights set on the end of July, the last day for NPB teams to add new players to the seventy-man roster.
[UPDATE 1/26/2018 @ 10:02am]
Murata has not been contacted by any NPB teams, but has received a number of offers from Independent League teams (he has also apparently received a spring training invite from one or more MLB teams). He will most likely meet with teams this month to see if he can secure a contract that will allow him to continue pursuing his goal of returning to the NPB.