The Yankees won the negotiating rights to Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima last week, but there has been a question of whether he will make enough money or get consistent enough playing time with the Yankees. So his agent has brought up the idea of a sign-and-trade so he doesn’t have to go back to Japan, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Nakajimi isn’t necessarily against being a utility infielder for the Yankees. It seems as if the problem is that he is going to want too much money for the Yankees to justify using him in that role.
His agent was the one who brought up the sign-and-trade, but I’m not sure how well that would actually work. Even if a team sees him as a potential starter, middle infielders don’t exactly fetch a lot in trades. Look at the recent deal sending Jed Lowrie to Houston, it got them Mark Melancon, who is a setup man, and they still needed to throw in a halfway decent pitching prospect to get the deal done.
It is also hard to see teams asking the Yankees for Nakajima in a deal when they could potentially have a younger, more athletic, and most importantly, more cost controlled Eduardo Nunez in a deal.
Brian Cashman will likely explore this possibility, but only because he looks into every possibility. With a stocked bullpen though, it isn’t likely that he’s going to find anything he likes for Nakajima. In the end though, I suppose they would take a longshot prospect over him going back to Japan though.
If anyone is traded, expect it to be Nunez.