Top Japanese Infielder Hopes To Be Posted

TUESDAY, 7:10am: Though it seems Nishioka wants to be posted, the Marines haven't committed to it, based on quotes from a team official passed along by Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times.  The player will make a formal request tomorrow and the team will decide after talking to him.  For an excellent profile of Nishioka, check out Patrick Newman's latest at FanGraphs.

MONDAY, 7:47pm: The Chiba Lotte Marines are posting the Pacific League’s most recent batting champion, according to Tim Kurkjian of ESPN The Magazine. The Marines are posting Tsuyoshi Nishioka this week and teams in the market for middle infielders will surely take notice; the 26-year-old switch hitter can play second and short.

Nishioka batted .346 with 22 steals and more hits (206) than any Pacific Leaguer since Ichiro Suzuki. ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, who managed Nishioka in Japan, says he thinks the infielder has the tools to be “an outstanding shortstop,” but suggests most organizations will consider him a second baseman.

Teams will soon be able to place bids for Nishioka through a blind auction. The organization with the winning bid will have 30 days of exclusive negotiating rights to reach a deal.

The free agent market for second basemen and shortstops is relatively thin and the trade market offers few alternatives. It appears that Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will not be posted, though he hasn't given up on playing in the major leagues in 2011.

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