Hiroyuki Kobayashi has made it known that he won't take a minor league contract, but so far that's all he's gotten. Agent Alan Nero told Daily Sports that he has minor league offers from six teams, including some split contracts, which pay different salaries depending if the player is in the minors on on the Major League team. Sports Hochi says Kobayashi has minor league offers from 11 teams.
Meanwhile, Hanshin had been ready to pounce if MLB negotiations weren't going well, and have done just that. The Tigers have made Kobayashi an offer that would have him setting up for Kyuji Fujikawa. Sports Hochi reports that Hanshin's offer to Kobayashi is for two years with an option for a third, and will pay him a maximum of JPY 700m. Unless a lot of that salary is tied up in the option year, that would be a raise from the JPY 170m Lotte paid him last year, and certainly more than he'll command from MLB teams. Hanshin club president Nobuo Minami said on Wednesday, "we're waiting for a response from the agent. We're on standby."
For his part, Kobayashi commented in Daily Sports, "Somehow the flow is toward Hanshin... is how it's feeling, but my utmost hope is the Majors." A decision is expected as soon as the 15th.