Tomoaki Kanemoto is leaving his role as Hanshin Tigers manager to take responsibility for the team's poor results, and team owner Shinya Sakai quickly followed suit, the team revealed Thursday.
Under Kanemoto, who was hired to manage from 2016, the Tigers will finish last in the Central League for the first time since 2001. The Tigers finished fourth in 2016, and second last year, when they were eliminated in the first stage of the CL Climax Series.
(Kanemoto speaks to fans on Oct. 10 after the Tigers' final home game of the season)
"This (decision) is based on poor results," Kanemoto said at the Tigers' Hyogo Prefecture offices outside Osaka. "I have unfinished business, but the bottom line is what matters in this game."
"Our president asked me to hang in a little longer, but my mind is made up."
The club had hoped to sign the skipper to a multiyear extension, and was taken back when Kanemoto walked away.
"I failed to support him, and for that I am extremely sorry," the 70-year-old Sakai said. "I am totally responsible."
"I heard, even from other teams, how much our young talent had grown, but because we haven't done very well we faced a dilemma."
Kanemoto, a fast power-hitting outfielder, turned pro out of university and played from 1992 to 2002 with the Hiroshima Carp. He joined Hanshin as a free agent in 2003 and played until his retirement in 2012. He was a key to two Tigers pennants, and was the CL's MVP in 2005. He was elected to Japan's Baseball Hall of Fame this year in his first year of eligibility.