Interim No More! Junji Ogawa Named Manager for 2011

When Junji Ogawa was first promoted to interim manager, I speculated that he would only hold the job temporarily. However, the Swallows held a press conference today proving me wrong, as they announced that Ogawa will be the full time manager of the Swallows in 2011. Since taking over as manager from Shigeru Takada, the team has gone 51-31-3 managing to hover around the .500 mark. Given his success, I don’t think the Swallows had much choice but to keep Ogawa. Although it seems there are strong elements within the organization that want Daisuke Araki as manager, if Araki failed to replicate Ogawa’s initial performance both he and management would lose a lot of face. As such, I would expect Ogawa to be on a relatively short leash, and Araki to be put in a position like 2-gun manager or head coach to get him more seasoning. It also probably doesn’t hurt that Ogawa’s salary would be among the lowest for NPB managers…

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    Happy with this news. Ogawa deserves a pop at a full season in charge, and if Araki is to be Manager one day, then an extra season (or hopefully more) learning his trade with the 2-gun or as head coach can only be good for his credentials.

  • Anonymous

    This has made me think ahead to next season…. Does anyone know the length of contracts of some of our top players?

    Is Aoki just 1 year into a 2 year extension?
    How many years left on Tanaka’s contract?
    Did Whitesell join on a 1 or 2 year deal?
    Do we think that Miyamoto has another year left in him (and will he be on the coaching staff soon)?

    Aikawa? Tateyama? Ishikawa? etc, etc, etc….


  • Number of years on a contract doesn’t matter much in NPB because of the reserve clause that keeps players on a team until free agency time (8-9 years). Only the rare player makes some real noise and actually holds out (can’t remember any, but I think there must’ve been), though many make repeated trips to the negotiation table, they have no leverage until free agency.

  • Christopher

    The only way a Japanese baseball player can get out of his indenture period and not retire is to be traded or posted. Posting takes you to the Majors and trading merely transfers your indenture to another team. Of the top of my head I can’t recall any player of quality making any noise apart from wanting to be posted.

  • Nori, Kiyohara, Ochiai.. I’m thinking at least one of these guys, or another noisy character like that. Or was that only during negotiations?

  • Actually, wasn’t Tadahito Iguchi released by the Hawks in order to pursue an MLB contract? I don’t think he had the service time to be an FA and he wasn’t posted. Or maybe I’m also thinking of someone else. And I don’t remember it being a lot of “noise” per se.

    The contract negotiation I remember best over the last few years was Kentaro Sekimoto breaking down in tears after Hanshin officials laughed at him asking for more money, and his crying face was all over the news. I felt bad for him, but he had a legitimate point.

  • Kozo

    According to Japanese Wikipedia, Iguchi was granted free agency due to special provisions in his contract.