Rumor: Yankees and Nakajima far apart in contract talks

The Yankees surprised everybody when they won the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima nearly a month ago, but the Yankees saw him as a solid bench piece that could fill in for the aging Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter when needed.

The deadline to sign Nakajima is on Tuesday, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sport, the two sides are far apart in contract negotiations. Although, Heyman points out that there is still time to make a deal.

The Yankees can afford to be frugal here. Nakajima reportedly is desperate to come to America and they can always fall back on Eduardo Nunez, who has experience playing short, second, and third. They can also turn to Eric Chavez if Nakajima doesn’t sign.

Nakajima’s agent has suggested a sign and trade in the past, but it is unlikely he would be worth a lot on the open market considering the Yankees won the bidding with a mere $2 million bid. That bid is actually the smallest winning bid ever for players of Nakajima’s caliber that have come over already.

It makes it seem possible that the Yankees won the bidding by accident, figuring they could be in this exact position where they have nothing to lose and they also keep him from going to any other teams.

If Nakajima and the Yankees don’t reach and agreement then the Yankees get their $2 million posting fee returned and he goes back to Japan. Nakajima would actually have enough service time in Japan at that point where he wouldn’t have to go through the posting process next season and would be a true free agent.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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11 Responses to Rumor: Yankees and Nakajima far apart in contract talks

  1. Elena123 says:

    Why waste 2 mil

  2. jerry says:

    he has good numbers in japan its worth the gamble

  3. cameron datzker says:

    Why Can't The SF Giants make a sign and trade with The Yankees for shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. Nakajima could play shortstop while Brandon Crawford goes to Fresno (PCL) Triple A for more training.

  4. Joe says:

    We don't need him. Nunez is better and a proven MLB player.

  5. Stewartsmall says:

    You can always can the Scrubs and see if they might like this guy. Of course, after Fukudummy, Im not to sure how big Scrub fans might be on Japanese imports, except if this guy suddenly became the next Ichiro.

  6. Killface1981 says:

    I wouldn't waste money on this guy. He's going to be 30 this summer, and doesn't have the speed or plate discipline that Ichiro has.

    Ichiro's stats combined are crazy: His average would be around .339, 3,706 his, 1785 runs, 213 homeruns, 1134 RBI, and 622 steals. He's won 17 gold gloves and been a 17 time all-star…

    Nakajima would just fail under the pressure in NY, Boston, or maybe just the majors. Nunez is better like Joe said, and this guy wants probably a 3 year/30 million dollar contract. Ichiro got 15 for 3 years ago… and why would you win he bidding war for such a stud at only 2 million dollars?

  7. Bronx_Knight says:

    I'll repeat what I've said before: Nunez is a promising player offensively, but he is an absolutely terrible defender and he is literally useless as a utility infielder. The kid played in 112 games last year– about 2/3 of a season. In that span of time, he racked up 20 errors, fourth in the AL. All those errors translated to his having a negative WAR value (meaning we would have been better off with a AAA infielder in his place).
    As I understand it, the kid's problem is that he can't throw accurately. He has a promising bat, and speed, so maybe the thing to do is convert him to the outfield.
    Bottom line is, with A-Rod and Jeter at 3B and SS, we need a strong backup infielder. Nakajima is a good candidate. His numbers in Japan are very strong (he has a career .302 BA), and he has won two Japanese golden gloves. Even if you knock .50 off of his batting average, you will still have a very serviceable backup infielder. Additionally, Japanese players are known for their solid fundamentals on defense.
    He drew only $2M posting fee, so the Yankees will have the whip hand in salary negotiations. So-so middle infielders like Jamey Carroll and Mike Ellis are making between $3M and $6M per year. I would be happy to get Nakajima for $3M x 3 years, and I think he would take it.

  8. Anthony says:

    Nakajima on a 3 year 5.70M deal and have him Franky and Nunez and Jones rounding it out on the bench

  9. hotdog says:

    I'm a little late to the discussion but why would the Yankees sign this guy when they have Nunez.

    • They would be signing him to replace Eric Chavez. Also, I think there are legit concerns that Nunez can be a major league infielder.

      • hotdog says:

        I hear you Rob. They touted Nunez and held him back if I'm remembering correctly on the proposed Lee trade with Montero a couple years back. He struggled defensively last year, I see your point.

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