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Old 07-08-2019, 09:08 PM
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Sean McGinty
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Japan
Posts: 232

Originally Posted by nat View Post
Kokubo spent three years with Yomiuri. The trade was for literally nothing. They just gave away a star player. This did not go over well with the fans, and he was re-acquired (by the now rebranded Fukuoka Softbank Hawks) shortly thereafter. This “trade” was peculiar, to say the least. The best that anyone can seem to do is guess that the Hawks, despite having just won the Japan Series, were strapped for cash and looking to unload a contract. But it’s weird that they’ve got a star player and wouldn’t even ask for anything back in return.
Great post, as always!

There were two factors that contributed to the odd Kokubo-for-nothing trade. One is that after his 2003 injury he went to the US for treatment (expensive treatment), which the team refused to pay for, which broke down the relationship between Kokubo and management (who had disagreed with him going to the US in the first place). So Daiei wanted to get rid of him despite him being a key player.

A second point is that the parent company Daiei was in a financial crisis at that time, having to slash its costs which would ultimately lead to its selling the team a year later as part of its restructuring. In the early 2000s Daiei was a major supermarket retailer across Japan, but the result of that crisis is that its now a minor subsidiary of one of its former rivals and the brand is almost non-existent today.

So it can also be seen as part of a fire sale by sinking ownership. By the time Kokubo came back to the Hawks they were under new ownership that invested heavily in the team and turned it into the powerhouse of the Pacific League that it has been ever since.
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