Hiroyuki Nakajima Rumors

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.

Hiroyuki Nakajima Drawing Attention

5:02pm: Nakajima will be represented by former Boras Corporation agent Tak Sato, MLBTR has learned.  Sato was involved with the Daisuke Matsuzaka deal back in '06.

9:19am: If you look at our posts on the trade and free agent markets for shortstops and second basemen, you'll quickly see that there's not much available this offseason.  We named the Athletics, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Cardinals, and Dodgers as teams that might be seeking second base help, and the Orioles, Reds, Cardinals, and Giants as clubs that could be looking for a shortstop.  The Twins, Astros, and Padres may need to fill both positions.  That's more than a dozen teams, so demand exceeds the supply for everyday middle infielders.

Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is already generating buzz as one of the more interesting middle infielders potentially available this winter.  FanGraphs' Patrick Newman profiled Nakajima yesterday, noting that the Seibu Lions haven't posted him yet and negotiations to retain him will begin in a week.  Nakajima hit .314/.385/.511 with 20 home runs in 579 plate appearances this year.  Newman considers Nakajima a line drive/gap hitter, and expects him to display less power in the Majors.

From what I've heard, Nakajima is likely to be posted.  That means MLB clubs will bid for the right to negotiate with him.  I agree with Newman and U.S.S. Mariner's Dave Cameron that the posting fee is likely to be $5MM or less.  Cameron hears the Mariners are interested in Nakajima, while MASN's Roch Kubatko reports today that the Orioles are one of many teams that have scouted him.  Given the market for middle infielders, Nakajima should be very popular if the Lions post him.

Odds & Ends: Nakajima, Butler, Managers

On this date six years ago, the Dodgers released a 20-year-old righty named Joakim Soria, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Soria was later signed by the Padres out of the Mexican League and then snagged by the Royals in the 2006 Rule 5 draft.  He's now one of the game's best closers.  On to today's links…

Odds & Ends: Orioles, Rodriguez, Cubs, Nakajima

Links for Monday evening as the Giants look to shut the door on the Braves in Atlanta..

  • The O's might not be able to solidify their coaching staff as soon as they would like to, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com.
  • Francisco Rodriguez's grievance hearing over being placed on the disqualified list is set for next week but there will not be an immediate decision rendered, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Giants bench coach Ron Wotus is interested in managing the Bucs, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com
  • According to Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio, four candidates will interview for the vacant M's managerial job this week, including former Houston skipper Cecil Cooper.
  • Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild informed the team today that he will pick up his option for 2011, a major league source told ESPN.com's Bruce Levine.
  • The Pirates disclosed (via Twitter) that former Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons was in Pittsburgh today to interview for the team's managerial opening.
  • Saitama Seibu Lions shortshop Hiroyuki Nakajima is on his way to being posted, according to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times (via Twitter) who passes along a report from Yahoo Japan (Japanese link).  In a piece for Fangraphs, Patrick Newman called the 28-year-old Japan's second-best hitter behind Norichika Aoki of the Yakult Swallows.
  • More and more teams are discovering that homegrown starters are crucial to success, says Alex Speier of WEEI.com.