Last Sunday, I made a post that used Google Translate to give a loose translation of an "open letter" I had written to Kosuke Fukudome; the results were at best comical, at worst potentially insulting to Japanese people -- this according to a couple of my email correspondents. For any perceived insult, I offer my sincere apologies -- none was intended.
To avoid such problems in the future, I posted this link to the Nikkansports article posted in Japan yesterday, and asked if anyone could translate it properly for me.
I have received an email from a BCB reader whose girlfriend, who speaks Japanese, offered to translate the article. Here's her translation (translated "loosely", she says), followed by my analysis:
He has decided to go abroad to MLB. After practicing at Nagoya Field he spoke to press. Candidates include Cubs, Padres, and White Sox. After he declines the Giants offer he will decide which MLB team he will play for this month.
When asked "Are you going to the Major Leagues". He said, "There are a lot of reports about me, but I can't say whether the reports are right or wrong."
After talking about his options with Joe Urbon he is leaning towards playing in the MLB.
"Which team? I can't say now but let me think about it a little bit more, and I will decide."
After the winter meetings first candidate is the Cubs so far. Manager Lou Piniella said he is like a cross between Ichiro and Hideki Matsui. According to US reports the Cubs are preparing 60 million for 5 years. West coast Padres, White Sox, Red Sox, and Royals are all interested.
"This is not only my issue, it is about my family and my environment, and also how much they desire to have me play for them." There is a Japanese community in Chicago so it seems like he will be okay with that environment.
Judgment is very close. He will talk with his family this month to help decide which team to play for.
Here's how I read it, and my thoughts echo what Josh said in the very first comment to the post below: the fact that Fukudome "can't say" whether the reports are "right or wrong" probably means that he has NOT, in fact, formally sat down with Yomiuri Giants management to decline their offer. This is confirmed, mostly, by what is said in the first paragraph of the translation ("After he declines the Giants offer"), which implies he has not yet done so, and to say anything publicly about coming to MLB without doing so would, likely, be considered rude. This is strictly my opinion.
Anyway, based on the rest of the translation, it seems as if the Cubs are indeed the front-runner. The only city mentioned is Chicago, which would probably make the White Sox the runners-up -- and I have to believe Jim Hendry would trump any offer Kenny Williams would or could make (the article says 5/60 -- that's more years than I had heard before, but the amount per year is certainly in the ballpark).
Bet you'd never thought you'd be spending a Sunday afternoon parsing the nuances of a translated article from a Japanese newspaper.