Hiroyuki Nakajima Rumors
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A's are indeed engaged in ongoing discussions with the Marlins regarding Yunel Escobar, as was previously speculated. Slusser's piece contains plenty of A's material, so here's the latest on the reigning AL West Champs...
- Not surprisingly the Escobar discusssions aren't believed to be centered around anyone on the Athletics' Major League roster.
- Slusser reports that the A's have heavy competition for Brandon McCarthy, as the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Royals, Red Sox, White Sox and Twins have already met with the right-hander, and the Angels and Rangers are expected to join the fray.
- McCarthy would consider a one-year deal to prove that he has successfully recovered from his frightening head injury and brain surgery late in the 2012 season.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima is more concerned with playing time than salary, according to Slusser, which could increase Oakland's appeal to the Japanese shortstop.
Athletics GM Billy Beane met with reporters today at the Winter Meetings in Nashville; here's the latest.
- The A's are considering two free agent shortstops: Stephen Drew and Hiroyuki Nakajima (Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reporting). Slusser heard from Drew's agent Scott Boras last night that he will meet with Beane this week. As for Nakajima, the A's may have some competition from the Giants, as Slusser's colleague John Shea hears they've spoken with his reps as a Plan B if they're unable to re-sign Marco Scutaro.
- Beane noted the A's have more options at shortstop via trade. Slusser and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports have made the connection with the Marlins, who are shopping Yunel Escobar.
- Beane says nothing is imminent with free agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy, and the GM realizes the righty will have a significant market (Jane Lee of MLB.com reporting).
7:24pm: While Nakajima recently toured the Diamondbacks' facilities in Arizona and the team is interested in him, there haven't yet been any negotiations between the two sides, a source tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
12:29am: Hiroyuki Nakajima is already in the United States and is currently engaged in talks with the Diamondbacks, according to a Nikkan Sports report (translated on Twitter by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker).
Nakajima, 30, enjoyed a strong 2012 season with the Seibu Lions in Japan when he batted .311/.382/.451 with 13 homers and seven stolen bases. Dating back to his age-24 season in 2007, the shortstop is a .310/.381/.474 batter that has averaged 20.5 homers per 162 games. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is clearly in the market for a shortstop, as names like Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar and Andrelton Simmons have come up in trade talk regarding Justin Upton. Nakajima would present an alternative means of filling the shortstop vacancy that has been previously occupied by Stephen Drew.
Nakajima does not require a posting fee this season, as he did in 2011 when the Yankees submitted the winning bid. Obviously, the two sides were unable to reach a deal. Nakajima elected to return to the Lions on a one-year deal worth $3.64MM.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has another batch of news items out of the general managers' meetings in Indian Wells, California...
- While the Rays have the pitching depth to move two of their starters, they're likely to move just one of their pitchers. David Price and James Shields are the biggest trade chips, though most in the industry feel Tampa Bay will keep both aces to make a play for the AL East title in 2013. There is "no chance" Price is dealt this winter, one rival executive tells Rosenthal, though Price could be moved next offseason.
- The Brewers are interested in free agent right-hander Ryan Dempster.
- The Mets' willingness to trade R.A. Dickey is seen by "many in the industry" as a tactic to get Dickey to accept a club-friendly extension, which Rosenthal thinks is a flawed strategy.
- Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is now a free agent who can sign with Major League teams without going through the posting process. Rosenthal says the shortstop-needy Diamondbacks and Athletics are "at least mildly intrigued" by Nakajima and the Giants could also pursue Nakajima as a second baseman if they can't re-sign Marco Scutaro. The Yankees won the right to negotiate with Nakajima last winter after submitting a winning posting bid of $2MM, but Nakajima couldn't come to terms with New York and he re-signed with the Seibu Lions. The 30-year-old Nakajima has a .310/.381/.474 batting line and 104 homers over the last six years with Seibu.
After failing to come to a contract agreement with the Yankees, Hiroyuki Nakajima has returned to the Seibu Lions on a one-year contract worth $3.64MM plus incentives according to a Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The 29-year-old shortstop will become an international free agent after the season and is expected to pursue a deal with an MLB team.
The Yankees won Nakajima's negotiating rights with a $2MM bid in early-December. They offered a one-year contract but money was reportedly not the reason they failed to come to terms on a contract, instead it was years. Nakajima wanted to become a free agent after the deal expired while the Yankees wanted standard control (six years). He hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 633 plate appearances for Seibu in 2011.
- Braves GM Frank Wren has a knack for dealing for players with little trade buzz, and Angels infielder Maicer Izturis would fit that bill, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- According to a source familiar with the negotiations, shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima's issue with the Yankees offer was not the dollar figure but rather the length of the contract, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link). Nakajima wanted to become a free agent after one year while the club wanted standard control (six years) over him. Special thanks to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker for the translation.
- The Brewers will know before the start of spring training whether Ryan Braun will be in their opening day lineup, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. Earlier this week, an official familiar with the appeals process told Haudricourt that he didn't like the slugger's chances of avoiding a 50-game suspension.
- There are no fewer than six teams, and perhaps even more, that are seriously in on Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Reliever David Aardsma has started throwing but will wait until he's further along in rehab before pursuing his next contract, agent Jamie Murphy told ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter). Aardsma, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
- Right-hander Peter Moylan has had discussions with a few teams, including the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If all things are equal, Moylan would prefer a return to Atlanta.
Earlier today, we learned that Jorge Posada will announce his retirement in the next couple of weeks. The catcher spent his entire career with the Yankees and earned five All-Star nominations across his 17-year career. In his final year in the Bronx, Posada hit .235/.315/.398 with 14 homers in 387 plate appearances..
- Posada instructed his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, not to make calls on his behalf this offseason, a source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the agents fielded calls and accepted offers as Posada waited until after the holidays to make his final determination.
- Speaking of members of the Core Four, closer Mariano Rivera has said he might know by Spring Training whether he intends to keep pitching when his contract expires after this year, but won't say which way he's leaning, writes Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger. The 42-year-old posted a 1.91 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 last season.
- General Manager Brian Cashman isn't sure if the club will have interest in Hiroyuki Nakajima when he'll be an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season, writes Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. As expected, the Yankees are now in on Eric Chavez after being unable to come to terms on a deal with Nakajima.
- McCarron also writes that Cashman & Co. believe that other teams are seeking too much on the trade market in return for pitching.
- Nakajima is a classic example of the flaws in the posting process, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While waiting one more year isn't a terrible outcome for the shortstop, it had serious consequences for another Japanese player, right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma nearly had a four-year, $36MM deal with the A's last offseason but wound up inking a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Mariners this week.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) hears that Nakajima was offered about $1MM by the Yankees, but the bigger issue for him was the role he would have had with the Bombers. The infielder was a starter and a star player for the Saitama Seibu Lions.
“We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki," said GM Brian Cashman in a statement. "We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season.”
Earlier this week we heard that the two sides were unlikely to come to an agreement before tomorrow's 4pm CT deadline. The Yankees viewed Nakajima as a bench player and intended to pay him like one, and Jack Curry of the YES Network says (on Twitter) they offered him a one-year deal, nothing more. 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 do not have to pay the posting fee since no agreement was reached. Nakajima will return to Japan for another season, then become an international free agent next offseason.
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.