Hiroyuki Nakajima Rumors
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.
On this date in 1996, the Red Sox signed veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer, who at that time had a 4.51 ERA in 1116 2/3 MLB innings over the course of nine MLB seasons. Though he appeared in just 23 games for Boston, he enjoyed a career renaissance in Seattle and hasn't stopped yet. Moyer, now 49, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has drawn some interest from MLB teams. Here's the latest on the AL East...
- The Orioles are expected to hire former Mets, Brewers and Athletics pitching coach Rick Peterson as an organizational pitching guru this week, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- The Red Sox have maintained interest in Hiroki Kuroda, but his asking price figures to exceed Boston’s budget unless they make another move to free up payroll, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. Kuroda is open to pitching on the East Coast, Bradford notes.
- The Yankees have until Friday to negotiate a deal with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and the sides continue discussing possible contracts, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Earlier reports had suggested the deadline was Tuesday, rather than Friday. Depending on whether the Yankees sign Nakajima, they could have interest in bringing back Eric Chavez or trading Eduardo Nunez.
- Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie told Jeff Joyce and Todd Hollandsworth on MLB Network Radio that he hopes trade rumors surround him next year, since other teams won't be interested if he's pitching poorly. Guthrie is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility and will hit free agency after the 2012 campaign.
- Jason Frasor says he was confused when he saw Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had texted him over the weekend, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. "I thought he might have wanted to talk,” Frasor said. “He likes to talk. He's a talker." In fact, the GM was calling about the trade that sent Frasor back to the Blue Jays for Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb. Frasor's optimistic that Sergio Santos, his teammate in the minors and majors, will fit well in Toronto.
Links for Saturday night..
- Congratulations to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith on being named among the 100 most influential Canadians in baseball by Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Luke Adams and Mark Polishuk picked up honorable mentions.
- The Rays' interest in Ryan Theriot, presumably as a backup, has been preliminary to this point, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Mets and Braves are also said to be interested in the infielder's services.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker breaks down the pros and cons of Japanese import Norichika Aoki. Earlier this month, the Brewers won the negotiating rights to the speedy outfielder and have until mid-January to work out a deal. Milwaukee reportedly started negotiations with an offer in the $1-1.5MM range.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees and Hiroyuki Nakajima are said to remain far apart in their talks, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Bombers won the exclusive right to negotiate with the shortstop with a bid around $2MM earlier this month. The deadline to reach a deal is on Tuesday.
- Just as they were at the beginning of 2011, the Marlins will begin 2012 on the prowl for a starter, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com wonders if a new year will mean a new DH for the Orioles. For the time being, it seems like the O's will look for an in-house solution to fill the gap.