• Kyodo


Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes president Mitsuru Nagai said Monday that Tuffy Rhodes will not re-sign with the Pacific League club for a ninth year because the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

The 35-year-old Rhodes, who is tied to a contract with the Buffaloes until the end of the month, is expected to join the Yomiuri Giants as early as December as the Central League club is ready to give him the multiyear deal he wants.

“I didn’t expect any of this to happen. It wasn’t just about the term of the deal. I’m really sorry as Tuffy was the icon of the city of Osaka,” Nagai said, explaining that Rhodes’ agent turned down the Buffaloes’ final offer Sunday.

“He chose business after all. We’d still like to do something to show our appreciation for all that he has done for the team.”

According to reports, the former Boston Red Sox outfielder’s agent, Chris Arnold, was asking for a deal of two or more years carrying an annual salary of $5 million (550 million yen), while the Buffaloes’ counteroffer was a single-year deal worth 440 million yen plus incentives.

Last Wednesday, Arnold told the Osaka club his client hopes to play in Japan but does not intend to re-sign if the team will not accept a request for a multiyear deal, and Kintetsu apparently made a revision in the figures related to options and performance-relative incentives.

Kokubo signs deal

Hiroki Kokubo, who was dealt from the Daiei Hawks to the Yomiuri Giants on a surprise free transfer last week, signed a two-year contract carrying an unchanged annual salary of 210 million yen with the Tokyo club on Monday.

At a press conference at a Tokyo hotel, the 32-year-old Kokubo, who can earn his rights as a free agent if he plays as a regular next season, said he has decided not to declare even after the termination of his new contract.

‘Wave, Muramatsu talk

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Arihito Muramatsu, who filed for free agency from the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks earlier this month, had his first round of talks with the Orix BlueWave on Sunday and was apparently offered a four-year deal from the Kobe club.

Orix general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura presented Muramatsu with a reported 400 million yen deal in addition to incentives over four years.

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