Sho Nakata held a press conference at the Nippon Ham Fighters’ offices on November 14 and announced that he decided not to exercise his free agent option. He told the press that he was able to make the decision after talking it over with his family. He also told the press that he found it difficult to leave after having such a disappointing season.
According to media reports, Nakata agreed to a one-year deal worth an estimated 200 million yen plus incentives (down eighty million yen from this year).
Twenty-eight-year-old Sho Nakata is still not sure what he is going to do with his free agent option, but did tell the media on October 9 that it would be nice to “listen to different kinds of things.”
Nakata has been linked to the Hanshin Tigers, but they could lose interest fairly quickly depending on whom they manage to draft and whether or not they have strong leads on players overseas. It could be a fairly big gamble for Nakata to become a free agent this year, when one more season with the Fighters will allow him to obtain an international option. But staying with the Fighters will also most likely mean having to take a pay cut.
[UPDATE 11/5 @ 12:14pm]
Nakata has met with the Fighters a number of times since the end of the regular season. There is a chance he will stay without exercising his option. Part of it might have something to do with the season he had, as well as the team’s overall performance this year.
Source: Sports Hochi 11/5/2017
[UPDATE 11/14 @ 12:39am]
Nakata is planning to tell the Fighters what he is planning to do with his free agent option when he sits down to talk to them on November 14.
Source: Sanspo 11/13/2017
[UPDATE 11/14 @ 3:30pm]
The Fighters may have offered Nakata an estimated salary of 200 million yen in 2018 (down about 80 million yen from this year).
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/14/20170 Comments
Sho Nakata was hit by a pitch on his left hand during a game against Rakuten on September 7. He was able to play on September 8 and 9, but sat out Sunday’s (September 10) game against Seibu at MetLife Dome because he still had some lingering pain. He was in the dugout for the game.
The Nippon Ham Fighters decided to give Nakata some extra rest because he suffered a fissure fracture under similar circumstances on the same hand in 2013.0 Comments
According to an article posted at Sanspo, the Hanshin Tigers may have decided to pass on Sho Nakata after discussions between the front office and Tomoaki Kanemoto ended with the conclusion that the slugger would not be a very cost effective solution to improving their offense during the upcoming off-season.
The Tigers have been interested in Nakata since he was a high school prospect (they tried to draft him in 2007). Rumors of him joining the team as a free agent intensified after Kanemoto returned to the organization as manager in 2016 and culminated just before the start of the Summer Koshien this year. However, it seems the Tigers may have had a change of heart after an internal meeting in Tokyo during an extended summer road trip in August. They are apparently concerned about his number this season. They could also lose a player since Nakata will be an A-level free agent.
With the money they save, the Tigers will probably look to options overseas. The Sanspo article points to Chunichi’s Alex Guerrero as a possibility.
Source: Sanspo 9/3/2017
[UPDATE 9/5 @ 3:35pm]
Sports Hochi is now also reporting that the Tigers will probably pass on Nakata because they have other options at the positions he can play.
Daily Sports mentions that the Tigers might be more interested in pitching help.
[UPDATE 9/11 @ 3:12pm]
The Buffaloes apparently have no interest in Nakata at this time because they already have options at first base and designated hitter.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/11/20170 Comments
Twenty-eight-year-old Sho Nakata earned his domestic free agent option today with eight years of service time on the active roster.0 Comments
Sho Nakata twisted his left ankle during indoor fielding practices today and was taken to a hospital in Sendai for tests. His condition does not appear to be serious. He is considered day-to-day.0 Comments
Sho Nakata was hit by a baseball during practices on May 24. Nakata was waiting for his turn during batting practice when a ball thrown toward home plate by Kensuke Kondo took one bounce on the ground then hit Nakata on the right side of his chin. He was treated with ice after he finished his workouts.0 Comments
The Ni-gun Nippon Ham Fighters played the Ni-gun Yakult Swallows at Toda earlier today and recorded a 4-1 victory. Of note:
Sho Nakata felt pain near the base of his right leg after flying out to second in the fourth inning and was later replaced on defense in the fifth inning of a game against the Orix Buffaloes on April 9.
Nakata first started feeling the pain when he swung the bat during his last plate appearance against the Buffaloes on April 8. He was examined (MRI) at a hospital in Sapporo on April 10 and diagnosed with a first degree adductor muscle contusion. He is considered day-to-day. He missed yesterday’s (April 11) and today’s Softbank games.
Source: Sports Hochi 4/9/2017, Sports Hochi 4/10/2017, Sports Hochi 4/10/2017, Daily Sports 4/10/2017, Daily Sports 4/10/2017, Tokyo Sports 4/12/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 4/10/2017, Sponichi 4/10/2017, Sponichi 4/10/2017, Sponichi 4/11/2017
[UPDATE 4/13 @ 5:23pm]
The Fighters decided to take Nakata off the active roster today as a precaution. He was able to take light pain-free swings today, but coaches were concerned about rushing his return.
[UPDATE 4/15 @ 10:20pm]
Nakata started a rehab program at Kamagaya today. His workouts included some light running, a game of catch, and soft-toss batting practice. Assuming no setbacks, he could join general Ni-gun practices on April 16. Beyond that, he might be able to play in a Ni-gun three-game series against Yakult that begins on April 18.
[UPDATE 4/17 @ 5:24pm]
Nakata participate in practices at Kamagaya today. During live batting practice, he took twenty-four swings and hit eight over the fence. He told reporters his leg felt fine and that he was only thinking about taking full swings of the bat.
Nakata took twenty-two swings during live batting practice yesterday and hit four over the fence.
[UPDATE 4/18 @ 5:43pm]
Nakata is set to play in a rehab game at Ni-gun on April 19 against Yakult at Toda. It will be his first Ni-gun game since 2010.
Assuming no problems, Nakata could return to the active roster on April 23.
[UPDATE 4/19 @ 3:59pm]
Nakata played in a Ni-gun rehab game today against Yakult. He started at designated hitter and batted clean-up. He recorded two plate appearances: foul out to third and a walk. He told reporters he felt fine and was able to swing the bat better than expected.
Source: Nikkan Sports 4/19/20170 Comments
Nakata batted third on June 10, 2017 for the first time in his NPB career. Breakdown of spots in the line-up (through June 10, 2017): first – no games, second – no games, third – 1 game, fourth – 794 games, fifth – 4 games, sixth – 54 games, seventh – 69 games, eighth – 7 games, ninth – no games.
Source: Sponichi 6/11/2017
Nakata was named 2018 captain by Hideki Kuriyama during fan appreciation day on November 26.