Over the last week or so yakyubaka has been posting each teams' players who will not be offered contracts for next season, at least at this time. It's always seems strange to me that these are released prior to the end of the season. The teams that are still alive in the playoffs now each have a handful of guys that are like dead men walking going into the biggest games of the season. I guess it could have a motivating effect on those guys given they get a chance in the playoffs, but sadly that is not an issue for Chunichi this year as they failed to make the playoffs for a second straight season.
On October 1st Chunichi officially announced the following players will not be back:
Kohei Oda is not a surprise as he's been a career backup at catcher who has managed to have a 17 year NPB career despite never getting more than 95 plate appearances in a season. Though he has never been on the field much he has had some memorable playoff hits and has contributed at times when given a chance. He's definitely been a good bench guy, but at 37 years old he probably knew that his time could be running out.
The two names that I was most surprised to see were Takehiro Donoue and Ryoji Nakata. Both are under 30 years old and had solid years at ni-gun. Nakata has yet to develop the power that Chunichi had probably hoped when they drafted him; only two home runs at ni-gun this year, but slugged .423. He's currently pretty deep on the depth chart at the positions he can play and struggles with weight problems, but at 26 years old I still had hope for him. Takehiro Donoue is a little older at 29 years old, but has shown some ability to hit at the ichi-gun level. He was a guy that I had hoped would get more playing time a couple years ago. I think that it could be a bit of a mistake to let him go though Hirata seemingly has looked down the right-field position and Fujii is now the go-to fourth outfielder. Still, guys get hurt and Wada probably doesn't have more than a year or two left. Donoue gives you a little depth, I can't understand why they are letting him go. I wouldn't be surpised at all if both of these guys are picked up by other teams.