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Yankees win negotiating rights for Japan’s Hiroyuki Nakajima

Dec 7, 2011, 12:25 PM EDT

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Yankees have won exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.

Rumors flew Tuesday that the Giants had made the only posting bid. Then it was the Red Sox. But both of those reports were quickly shot down.

According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, the Yanks are viewing the 29-year-old Nakajima as a potential utility infielder.

He batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 homers, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases this past season for the Seibu Lions and is a .302 career hitter in Japan’s top professional league.

The Yankees will now enter into an exclusive negotiating period with Nakajima. They’re unlikely to offer him a hefty contract given that they’re already paying a posting fee and don’t view him as a starter.

UPDATE: SI’s Jon Heyman reports that the posting fee cost the Yankees about $2 million.

  1. Jonny 5 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    wh-wh-what?? They just signed a gold glove SS to a huge multi-year deal!!!! This doesn’t make sense, Jonny5 does not compute!!!!

    • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Actually Jonny it makes perfect sense. It frees up the Yankees to do something with Nunez. Include him in a package for a trade and who knows if this guys proves himself as a “super utility” but primarily SS guy maybe he takes over for Jeter in the 2014 season.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        I’m sorry, I was just trying to be a smartass. I’m sure it has something to do with freeing guys up to land Gio G.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        No need to say you’re sorry. Even after a year here I’m still trying to figure out when some fans are serious and some are just joking.

      • phukyouk - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        I’m always serious…

    • djpostl - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      For those who actually seem to pay attention to those little details about how last year went it does when u saw the lack of production (offensively) Pena gave them and (defensively) Nunez did.

      If they cna sign him as a utility guy makes all the sense in the world.

  2. uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Well if it is the Yankees it would seem that Nunez days as a Yankee could be numbered.

    If that’s the case could a possible trade with the Braves be that far off for Jurrjens. The Braves previously expressed an interest in Nunez.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      Meh, I’d prefer Prado’s jack-of-all-trades utility to Jurrjen’s injury issues and questions as to how well his stuff would play in the Beast. Were the Yanks to have both Prado and Nakajimi in the fold, they’ve got insurance against both A-Rod and Jeter being injured as well as the roster flexibility that comes with having all seven non-battery positions backed up by two guys.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        My friend may be to try and trade for someone else like Jonny 5 mentioned above (Gio). I just brought up Jurrjens because I know the Braves expressed some interest in him.

        I have my own concerns about trading with the Braves for pitchers regardless of who it is. Let’s just say I think the Braves motives to trade some of their pitchers aren’t always what they say they are.

  3. b7p19 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Sounds like Derek Jeter is on the move now that they have his replacement.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      seems legit

      • b7p19 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        Totally legit.

  4. deathmonkey41 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Nunez’s defense could be replaced with a crippled, one-armed blind chimpmunk.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Maybe just to block Boston? For only $2MM (I say ‘only!’) it is worth the gamble.

  6. whatthehellisansky - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    So this has to mean chavez wont be coming back..

    Seems like nunez’s days in pinstripes are numbered… too bad , the kid can hit.

  7. vintage1496 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Just reading through the Twitters – says that Nakajima says he only wants to play for the Mariners. Are there any players the Mariners have that could cure a glaring deficiency for the Yankees? No? Ok, just wondering.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      May be the Yankees intend to include him him a package to trade for one of the Mariners “premier” starting pitchers. Who shall remain nameless for the time being.

      Before all 5 Seattle fans that post here read this I was just kidding.

      • yankeesfanlen - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        uyf, ol buddy, I wouldn’t be kidding if there is a possible way. Or we could breathe down Beep-beep’s neck a little.
        And I still sense someone’s money burning a hole in someone’s pocket. E

      • marinersnate - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        If the M’s wanted Nakajima they would have simply bid on him. It was well known that he wanted to play in Seattle, or at least on the west coast, yet the Mariners didn’t even bother to bid. Seriously doubt that they will now turn around and trade for the guy.

        And uyf, there are now six of us….

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        marinersnate – actually I was counting you in as 1 of the 5.

      • marinersnate - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        “marinersnate – actually I was counting you in as 1 of the 5”

        So was I.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Huh, I wonder if sign-and-trades are allowed for teams that won the bidding on a posted player. Also, while Nakajima wants to play for the Mariners, do the Mariners want him to play for them, and are they willing to give the Yankees anything worthwhile?

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        It probably would be to much to expect King Felix.

      • jwbiii - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        I would think that a player obtained though the Japanese posting procedure would be treated like a free agent. He could not be traded before he June 15 unless he were to give his consent. I don’t imagine this would be a problem in this case. If the player is treated like a Rule 4 draftee, then it’s a year after he signs. Of course, this is based on the 2007-11 CBA, so this may have changed.

        Major League Rule 18(f) covers (or doesn’t actually cover) Japanese players.

        Provisions covering a player’s participation in Japan (or a Japanese player’s participation in the Major or Minor Leagues) are embodied in an agreement available in Clubs’ offices. Details may also be obtained from the Commissioner’s Office.

        Even when you think you have the MLB Rules, you don’t.

        As for Hiroyuki Nakajima’s trade value, it’s virtually nil. Japanese infielders have not fared well in MLB. The list (numbers in parentheses are fWAR/150 G): Tadahito Iguchi (2.2), Akinori Iwamura (1.8), Kazuo Matsui (1.4), Norihiro Nakamura (-2.1), and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (-5.2). Nakajima won’t be worth much until he proves himself.

    • vintage1496 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      Yes sirs, lots of questions there. Just because he wants to play for them doesn’t mean they want him. I’m sure the Yanks could scrape together a package for the Mariners, but this seems like an awful big risk if they’re not certain a deal could be made.

      Sign-and-trades are allowed – once you sign a player you can do whatever you want with him. It’s a confusing move to say the least.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        Why is it confusing? If this guy sticks with the Yankees then Nunez is probably trade bait. If he works out a contract with the Yankees the Yankees get the posting fee back. Seems pretty straight forward to me.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      Lost in translation “the only team I don’t want to play for.” It seems more plausible to me anyway…

      Man, the Christmas music here in the office is soo bad with repeating itself I’m trying to drown it out with the music from the Bush Sr. inaugural ball 1989…

      It’s not too bad for an old fuddy duddy like Bush Sr. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, and Albert Collins with double trouble. Whoda thunk Bush Sr. knew anything about some of the best blues ever?

    • bozosforall - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      King Felix?

      • phukyouk - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        I’m not sure but it seems that you do not know who King Felix is…. He is a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners… a damn good one at that… hope this helps clarify.

      • bozosforall - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        My “King Felix” comment was in response to this one:

        uyf1950 – Dec 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM
        May be the Yankees intend to include him him a package to trade for one of the Mariners “premier” starting pitchers. Who shall remain nameless for the time being.

        Before all 5 Seattle fans that post here read this I was just kidding.

        So YES, I do know who “King Felix” is.

  8. damnyankee13 - Dec 7, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    IF…IF seattle wants to trade king Felix, this SS MAY be included as part of a package. Me thinks, tho, thats its possible that the Yankees want him as a familiar face for Darvish

  9. moongears - Dec 7, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    I’m biggest fan of Yankees and Nakajima in Japan.
    He didn’t say “only Mariners “.
    It’s the other japanese SS, Kawasaki.
    Nakajima want to play at MLB! anywhere, any team.
    I guarantee, Nakajima will be great help for win!

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