Yomiuri Giants infielder Michihiro Ogasawara agreed to a ¥360 million pay cut when he signed a deal for ¥70 million on Wednesday, the biggest cut in Japanese baseball history.
The 39-year-old played in 34 games, his fewest since his rookie season in 1997, and batted .152, also a career low. Ogasawara was in the final year of a two-year deal worth ¥430 million a year — which equaled the richest deal for a Japanese player in Nippon Professional Baseball at that time. Since then Ogasawara has been limited by injury to just 117 games and a .220 batting average with five home runs.
“We predicted something huge. Now, I’m grateful even to have a contract,” said Ogasawara, who signed his previous deal when he was 11 hits shy of 2,000 in his career.
Ogasawara won the Pacific League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2006, moved to the Giants as a free agent and repeated the feat in 2007 in the Central League.
The largest previous pay cut had been ¥200 million, a record set when Fukuoka Softbank Hawks first baseman Nobuhiko Matsunaka agreed to a new contract in December 2010 and matched by Yokohama BayStars pitcher Naoyuki Shimizu a year ago.
Players earning up to ¥100 million cannot have their pay cut by more than 25 percent without their permission. Players earning more than ¥100 million cannot have their pay cut by over 40 percent without their approval.