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Hiroyuki Nakajima Drawing Attention

5:02pm: Nakajima will be represented by former Boras Corporation agent Tak Sato, MLBTR has learned.  Sato was involved with the Daisuke Matsuzaka deal back in '06.

9:19am: If you look at our posts on the trade and free agent markets for shortstops and second basemen, you'll quickly see that there's not much available this offseason.  We named the Athletics, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Cardinals, and Dodgers as teams that might be seeking second base help, and the Orioles, Reds, Cardinals, and Giants as clubs that could be looking for a shortstop.  The Twins, Astros, and Padres may need to fill both positions.  That's more than a dozen teams, so demand exceeds the supply for everyday middle infielders.

Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is already generating buzz as one of the more interesting middle infielders potentially available this winter.  FanGraphs' Patrick Newman profiled Nakajima yesterday, noting that the Seibu Lions haven't posted him yet and negotiations to retain him will begin in a week.  Nakajima hit .314/.385/.511 with 20 home runs in 579 plate appearances this year.  Newman considers Nakajima a line drive/gap hitter, and expects him to display less power in the Majors.

From what I've heard, Nakajima is likely to be posted.  That means MLB clubs will bid for the right to negotiate with him.  I agree with Newman and U.S.S. Mariner's Dave Cameron that the posting fee is likely to be $5MM or less.  Cameron hears the Mariners are interested in Nakajima, while MASN's Roch Kubatko reports today that the Orioles are one of many teams that have scouted him.  Given the market for middle infielders, Nakajima should be very popular if the Lions post him.








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