So Taguchi Expected to Re-Sign

Taguchi set career high marks in 2005, in games played (143), at bats (396), runs scored (45), hits (114), home runs (8), RBI (53) and stolen bases with 11. Taguchi hopes this is enough to earn him a new contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, here is what he's got to say.

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder So Taguchi expressed his desire on Thursday this week in St. Louis to stay with the Major League club next season.

"I like this team and the fans in St. Louis," Taguchi told reporters the day after the club lost the National League championship.

Taguchi expressed mixed feelings about this past season.

"I shouldn't be satisfied with my play this past season. However, my performance didn't decline nor remain at the same level. In that sense, I think I did well," he said. "However, our efforts ended in defeat. I have no intention of watching the World Series."

Taguchi set career high marks in 2005 in games played (143), at bats (396), runs scored (45), hits (114), home runs (8), RBI (53) and stolen bases with 11. Taguchi hopes this is enough to earn him a contract for next season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

When asked about whether he will sign with St. Louis next season, Taguchi said, "I have no choice but to wait. It depends on what moves the club takes."

Sources close to the Cardinals said it is almost certain that the club will ask Taguchi to stay with the team as an important fourth or fifth outfielder.

Taguchi ruled out the possibility that he will make a comeback to Japanese professional baseball. "I'll never return to Japan (until I retire as a player)."

Taguchi saw limited playing time in the postseason, in nine games, he went hitless in seven at bats.

"I need to improve my skills to win the World Series," the 36-year-old Japanese star said.

Taguchi, who often looked over matched against major league pitching in his first two season, has improved significantly to the point that he should get another contract offer from St. Louis.

Taguchi was named the 2004 Hamilton Jewelers and St. Louis BBWAA Cardinals Rookie of the Year by St. Louis writers and broadcasters.

There has been some speculation that Taguchi may get a chance to start in outfield next season, with Larry Walker retiring and some question about the return of Reggie Sanders, but it is much more likely, that he will continue to serve as a valuable member of the bench, if he signs with St. Louis.

If history repeats itself, as it usually does, and we hope it does this time, we expect the Cardinals to sign Taguchi sometime in January.

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