The Yankees aren’t likely to sign Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima by Friday’s 4pm CDT deadline, one person with knowledge of the situation told Marc Carig of the Star Ledger. The Yankees see Nakajima as a bench player and intend to pay him like a backup, Carig reports on Twitter.
In theory, the Yankees have until Friday evening to sign Nakajima. However, they’d have to complete a physical by that point, so there’s not much time remaining. The 29-year-old hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 633 plate appearances for the Seibu Lions in 2011. Legacy Sports represents him in the U.S.
The Yankees won the rights to Nakajima with a bid in the $2MM range last month. If the sides don't agree to terms, Nakajima would stay in Japan and the Yankees wouldn't have to part with the posting fee. If the Yankees don’t sign Nakajima, Eduardo Nunez’s role becomes clearer and the chances of a new deal with Eric Chavez would likely increase.