Yusei Kikuchi has wrapped up his meetings and now has some thinking to do. It may take him a little while to sort things out, based on comments made after the meetings: "(Japan and the US) are but wonderful. I'm more torn now than I was before the meetings."
Here's what we know about what each of the last four teams discussed with Kikuchi:
Mariners: has Ichiro, more international than other clubs.
Mets: offered a dedicated translator. Scout Isao Ojimi was quoted as saying "Yusei is a world treasure."
Yankees: no comment to media
Indians: not at 18, but will have MLB ability in three or four years
And here's a translation of a brief interview that appeared on MSN Japan:
-after meeting with 20 Japanese and American teams, are you feeling tightened up?
"It's a wavering 50-50. I'm more torn now than before I had these meetings, in which I made new discoveries. Meeting with each team for 30 minutes was short, I thought I would like to hear them for longer. I think that the MLB teams traveled this far was a great honor."
-comments on the impression left by both leagues after the meeings
"I thought both were great, and I want to go to both. Japan's development system is gentle, and in America there is the stepped system of rookie ball, 1A, 2A,3A and the Majors"
-you met a major leaguer
"He had an aura of playing in the best place in the world."
-what will the deciding factor be?
"I can comfortable play in either league. In Japan, there won't be any problems with food or training. Even in the Majors, there are teams offering to provide a translator, so there's no uneasiness. If I go to America, I believe the teams that said 'don't worry'. My manager and parents both said 'we'll leave it up to you', so I want to come to a conclusion without regret.
The NPB draft is the 29th. We'll see what happens between now and then.