Hiroyuki Nakajima Rumors
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.
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...
- The Astros signed Dominican righty Luis Abad for a low six figures bonus, tweets SI's Melissa Segura. Back in May, Blake Bentley ranked the new Dominican prospects for MLBTR, placing Abad in a tenth-place tie and calling him "one of the most projectable pitchers you'll see."
- I took a look at Neil Walker's fantasy baseball prospects for 2011 over at RotoAuthority.
- The Mariners are interested in Japanese middle infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, says U.S.S. Mariner's Dave Cameron. Nakajima may be posted by the Seibu Lions and could be a bargain this winter. Patrick Newman of FanGraphs has more on Nakajima.
- Royals first baseman Billy Butler changed agents, going from Doug Rogalski to Greg Genske of Legacy Sports, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Rogalski has to feel burned, as Butler is heading to arbitration for the first time this winter.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts interviewed Eric Wedge for the team's managerial opening yesterday, reports ESPN's Bruce Levine. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners interviewed Bobby Valentine yesterday and have Lloyd McClendon on the docket this week.
- Billy Wagner talked to MLB.com's Mark Bowman about his retirement.
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.