Hiroyuki Nakajima Rumors

Quick Hits: Nakajima, Wilson, Pena, Mariners, A’s

Some late night links from around the league…

Brewers Could Offer Fielder Six Years, $120MM

The Brewers have indicated during negotiations with Prince Fielder that they would be willing to offer the free agent slugger a six-year deal worth $120MM, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter).  This would be a notable increase over Milwaukee's "last formal offer" of five years and $100MM to Fielder.

It's almost been a foregone conclusion that Fielder would leave the Brewers this winter but Olney notes (Twitter link) "it's a fluid situation, and Milwaukee is probably in play" unless another team makes an offer in the neighborhood of $170-$200MM.  With the Mariners, Nationals, Cubs and possibly the Rangers all interested in Fielder, it's likely one of those clubs (or, Scott Boras' erstwhile "mystery team") will come forward with a contract that tops the Brewers' best offer.

Here are a few more notes about the Brew Crew…

  • The Brewers will bid on Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, according to a Sanspo report (translated by NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman).  The Seibu Lions announced two weeks ago that Nakajima would be posted, and he is predicted to attract attention from several teams looking for shortstop help.
  • MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, however, reports the Brewers aren't likely to go after Nakajima due to the team's lack of in-depth scouting in Japan.  Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin tells McCalvy that he expects a relatively quiet Winter Meetings for the team, and that the Brewers' priorities are finding a shortstop and bullpen help.
  • Melvin was named the Major League executive of the year by Baseball America.  Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the details.

Quick Hits: Cubs, McCann, Cespedes, Smoak, Broxton

Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday…

  • “Like I’ve always said, there is one person responsible for making those decisions, and one person accountable for those results,” said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts to reporters (including Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune) when asked about the possibility of signing a player to a mammoth contract. “So if [Theo Epstein] believes strongly that’s what’s in the best interests of the team, then he’s got my support.” Earlier today we heard that the Cubs are pursuing both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
  • Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the Braves will offer Brian McCann a long-term contract extension soon. The six-time All-Star will make $11.5MM in 2012 and the team holds a $12MM club option for 2013, so there's no urgency to get a deal done at the moment.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is currently in the Dominican Republic scouting Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. On Monday we heard that Washington views Cespedes as an alternative to Fielder.
  • The Mariners have interest in Fielder, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says (on Twitter) that they would make Justin Smoak available in a trade if they manage to sign the free agent slugger.
  • Before he agreed to join the Royals, the Red Sox expressed interest in Jonathan Broxton according to Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald. Broxton wanted to sign before the winter meetings, and Lauber's source said that was “a little quicker than [the Sox] were comfortable with."
  • There is no more than a "10 percent" chance that Rays GM Andrew Friedman could be convinced to take the Astros GM job according to one executive that spoke to Friedman and ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter link).
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman offered a “would not say" to George A. King III of The New York Post when asked if he has any interest in Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions posted Nakajima on Monday.
  • Kelvim Escobar hopes to pitch in winter ball next month, agent Peter Greenberg told Mike Puma of The New York Post (Twitter link). The 35-year-old righty hopes to get back to MLB despite having pitched in just one game since 2007.

Seibu Lions Post Hiroyuki Nakajima

The posting period for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima has begun. The Seibu Lions posted Nakajima and MLB teams now have until 4pm CDT this Friday to submit bids, according to a Sponichi report relayed by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The MLB team that places the highest bid won't necessarily obtain Nakajima, however. The team would obtain an exclusive 30-day negotiating period during which the sides can work toward a deal and would only pay the posting fee if they come to terms on a contract.

In the summer of 2010, Newman called Nakajima Japan's second-best hitter behind Norichika Aoki (who will also be posted). Nakajima asked to be posted last offseason, but the team denied his request. The 29-year-old hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 633 plate appearances for the Lions in 2011. Legacy Sports represents him in the U.S.

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Hiroyuki Nakajima To Be Posted

The Seibu Lions of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League will post shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Legacy Sports will represent Nakajima in the U.S., according to Rosenthal.

In the summer of 2010, Patrick Newman of FanGraphs called Nakajima Japan's second-best hitter behind Norichika Aoki (who will also be posted). Nakajima asked to be posted last offseason, but the team denied his request. The 29-year-old shortstop hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 633 plate appearances for the Lions in 2011.

Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins headline a top-heavy trade and free agent market for shortstops. Many teams figure to bid for the rights for Nakajima if they're priced out of the market for Reyes and Rollins and intrigued by a possible alternative to the second-tier options.

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NPB Rumors: Aoki, Nakajima, Chen, Kuroda, Igawa

Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker has scoured Japanese newspapers for the latest rumors.

  • Yakult center fielder Norichika Aoki has asked to be posted.  Aoki hit .292/.358/.360 in 643 plate appearances in 2011.  Newman wrote last year that Aoki was "the best pure hitter Japan has produced since Ichiro," but that was before his numbers dropped off significantly in 2011.  Despite great range, Newman thought last year that Aoki's weak arm could limit him to left field in MLB.
  • Seibu shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will again ask to be posted this offseason.  Nakajima was denied that request last winter, though the Orioles and Mariners were reportedly among the interested teams.  The 29-year-old hit .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs in 633 plate appearances this year.  Newman considered Aoki Japan's second-best hitter in his August 2010 article.
  • Chunichi southpaw Wei-Yin Chen was 50/50 on moving to MLB as of October 26th.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports dubbed Chen a "likely free agent" in a report this morning.  The 26-year-old posted a 2.68 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.49 HR/9 in 164 2/3 innings this year.  He's represented by Alan Nero of Octagon.
  • The Hiroshima Carp have an offer out to Hiroki Kuroda.  Kuroda said he's happy to have received the offer from his former team.  His plans for 2012 remain unknown though.
  • Multiple Japanese teams have interest in Kei Igawa, who reached free agency after his five-year deal with the Yankees expired.  

Odds & Ends: Long, Romanick, Falkenborg, Carlin

Links for Monday, as Cliff Lee looks to leave a strong last impression on his 2010 season against Tim Lincecum and the Giants…

Hiroyuki Nakajima Hasn’t Given Up On Being Posted

SATURDAY: Newman passes along another report (via Twitter) saying that Nakajima hasn't given up on being posted just yet. He wants to meet with Seibu Lions management again and try to get them to change to their minds.

FRIDAY: Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will not be posted, according to reports passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (on Twitter). He had been drawing interest from MLB teams including the Orioles and Mariners, but those clubs will have to look elsewhere for middle infield help. Nakajima would have added some pop to the otherwise ordinary group of shortstops available via trade or free agency.

The 28-year-old hit .314/.385/.511 with 20 home runs in 579 plate appearances in Japan this year.  In an article for Fangraphs, Newman suggested Nakajima is a line drive hitter whose power could fade in the majors. 

Odds & Ends: Dodgers, Wood, D’Backs, A’s

Links for Wednesday, as the Yankees try to prolong their season…

  • Baseball sources tell Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the Dodgers are likely to bring Trey Hillman aboard as their bench coach.
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald wonders if Kerry Wood could have made a difference for the BoSox.
  • Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are expected to name Ray Montgomery their new scouting director.  Montgomery has spent the last eight years in the Brewers organization.
  • Bryce Harper will bat seventh in his Arizona Fall League debut tonight, according to the Nationals Baseball Media Relations department (via Twitter).
  • The A's have announced several staff changes via press release.  Gerald Perry has been welcomed back as hitting coach in place of Jim Skaalen.  Joel Skinner, a longtime member of the Indians coaching staff, will take over as bench coach.  Former bench coach Tye Waller will be reassigned as the first base coach.  Waller replaces Todd Steverson who has been offered a position in the A's farm system.
  • Mark McGwire is on the fence about returning as the Cards hitting coach, Tony La Russa told Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
  • Former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane will join the Tigers scouting department, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter).
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck introduces us to Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, the longtime Detroit exec who remains a GM candidate. The Tigers recently declined to let the Mets interview Avila. 
  • If you play fantasy baseball, head over to RotoAuthority, where Tim Dierkes examines the impact of Ted Lilly's new deal on the lefty's fantasy value.
  • It doesn't look like Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will become available to MLB teams this year, according to reports passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link).
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he will "absolutely" welcome Ryne Sandberg back to Chicago's minor league system if the Hall of Famer wants to continue working his way to the major leagues. Sandberg, a finalist for the Cubs major league job, was disappointed when the team hired Mike Quade.
  • Brewers managerial candidate Pat Listach was pleased with his interview, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.

Orioles Eyeing Some Japanese Players

The Orioles will show interest in five to eight Japanese players if they become available, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Orioles director of player development John Stockstill told Zrebiec that he scouted Japanese players personally as recently as September.

Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima has the Orioles’ attention; they have seen him play several times. The Mariners also have interest in Nakajima, according to Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and other teams will be involved in the bidding, too. There aren’t many shortstops with power available via trades or free agency, so Nakajima figures to draw interest if he’s posted.

The Orioles would have kicked the tires on Yu Darvish if he had become available this offseason. They have seen the right-hander throw about 30 times since 2008, but Darvish plans to stay in Japan for 2011.