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.