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Brewers will work out Norichika Aoki after winning negotiating rights for $2.5 million

Dec 19, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

Aoki

Milwaukee placed the high bid for exclusive negotiating rights to Norichika Aoki and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Brewers plan to work out the Japanese center fielder before deciding what type of contract to offer him.

Evaluating a player in person, on your terms, seems like an obvious thing for teams to do before investing millions in someone, but in the past that typically hasn’t been the case with Japanese imports.

For instance, last offseason the Twins bid $5 million for Tsuyoshi Nishioka and then signed him to a three-year, $9 million deal, only to realize almost immediately once he arrived at spring training that he didn’t have the arm to play shortstop well and didn’t know how to properly turn double plays as a second baseman.

If the Brewers aren’t impressed by Aoki’s workout and end up not signing him during the 30-day negotiating window their $2.5 million bid would be refunded. He lacks power, but the speedy 30-year-old is a career .329 hitter and three-time batting champion in Japan.

  1. Bryz - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    My guess on why the Twins didn’t do this is because they had already scouted Nishioka in Japan and they thought they had a good grasp on what he could do. But as you mention, this seems like a good move by the Brewers and I certainly wish the Twins had done the same with Nishioka.

  2. frightwig - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I wonder how much a baseball club can really learn about a player just from a private workout. I guess the Brewers will get a bettter sense of Aoki’s speed and arm, whether he looks comfortable tracking fungoes, and his ability to hit BP. I’m not sure that’s really enough to tell anyone whether he’ll be a good major league player next year.

  3. cnbweb - Dec 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    they are not trying to find out how good of a major leaguer he will be but rather how much and how long of a contract to offer….if one at all.

  4. jleo78 - Dec 20, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    As a brewer fan, not at all impressed by his .329 career b/a in Japan. I see him possibly plugging a 50 game hole from Braun losing his appeal b/c i see no other reason for a 2.5 million dollar bid on a backup. Hope im wrong but from a small market like milwaukee, this doesnt seem like great news.

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