‘Winning in 38 Years’ Japanese Series MVP, 6th-year salary surpassed 300 million yen… Japan’s first outfielder record

Hanshin Tiger outfielder Koji Chikamoto has surpassed 300 million yen in salary in his sixth year in Nippon Professional Baseball. He is the ninth player in Japanese history to exceed 300 million yen in salary in his sixth year, and the first outfielder to do so.

Chikamoto agreed to next year’s salary during salary negotiations at the Hanshin club office in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Monday. Japanese media reported that Chikamoto signed for 320 million yen ($2.9 billion), a 150 million yen increase from this year.

Chikamoto served as Hanshin’s top hitter, appearing in 129 games this season, batting .501 (143-for-501) with eight home runs, 24 doubles, 12 triples, 54 RBI, 83 runs scored, 67 walks, 28 stolen bases and an .809 OPS. He was even better with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-7 (37-for-99).

His 54 RBI tied a career high and he led the Central League in stolen bases for the second straight year, despite a brief hiatus due to a broken bone. He is a quick-footed outfielder who has played in 120 or more games each year for five straight seasons since joining the team in 2019 and has stolen around 30 bases each year. His career batting average is a respectable 2.9/1.레모나토토

Chikamoto went 4-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored in Game 1 of the Japan Series, and then went 5-for-4 in Game 7. He batted 4-for-8 (14-for-29) with four home runs, eight RBIs and four doubles in the Japan Series and was named the Japan Series MVP.

Hanshin led the Orix to a four-game sweep and the franchise’s second Japan Series title in 38 years, the first since 1985. “It was good that the team won, and that I was a member of the first Japanese championship (in 38 years),” Chikamoto reflected.

Chikamoto became the ninth player in history to earn more than 300 million yen in salary in his sixth year, joining Munetaka Murakami of the Yakult Swallows (600 million yen) in 2023.

Chikamoto is the first outfielder to do so. According to Japanese media outlet Sankei Sports, the fastest players to reach 300 million yen in salary were Ichiro Orix in 1998 (430 million yen), Yoshinobu Takahashi Yomiuri in 2004 (300 million yen), and Masataka Yoshida of the Orix in 2022 (400 million yen) in their seventh year.

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