The Yankees continue to negotiate with Hiroyuki Nakajima, and a team official clarified that the deadline to sign the shortstop is Jan. 6 — not Jan. 3, as some reports said.The idea of signing this guy makes less and less sense to me as time goes on. Unless they actually believe he's going to replace Jeter one day, which I highly doubt they do.
While talks are ongoing, there are several reasons to wonder if Nakajima, 29, is a fit for the Yanks, who last month placed a winning bid of approximately $2 million for the right to negotiate. Per the Japanese posting process, the Yankees will pay that fee only if they sign Nakajima.
Nakajima was the starting shortstop last season for the Seibu Lions, and fared well, batting .297, with a .354 on-base percentage, and .433 slugging percentage. He hit 16 home runs, drove in 100 runs and stole 21 bases. Those numbers indicate the potential to start in the major leagues, which will not happen with the Yankees while Derek Jeter is around.
Nakajima would presumably have to accept less money to be a bench player for the Yankees than he would to start for another team, and could return to Japan for a season before attempting another return to the major leagues. The shortstop’s agent, Greg Genske, did not respond to a telephone message on Monday.
The Yankees could convince Nakajima to launch his U.S. career with the internationally known franchise that employed Hideki Matsui for seven successful seasons. They could also execute a sign-and-trade.
If he agrees to terms and remains a Yankee, Nakajima would alter the composition of the team’s bench, making it less likely for the team to re-sign Eric Chavez. Eduardo Nunez, who has drawn trade interest in the past, could also become more expendable.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
From Andy Martino:
Tags: Hiroyuki Nakajima