Yankees Win Rights to Japanese Infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima

Didn’t see this one coming, but the Yankees have won the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima with what is believed to be a $2 million bid, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. They now have 30 days to negotiate a contract otherwise Nakajima goes back to Japan.

He is a 29-year old All-Star shortstop who has a career .368 OBP and a .845 OPS. The Yankees plan on using him as a utility infielder which likely means that they are preparing to trade Eduardo Nunez.

Other teams around the league seem to value Nunez. Seattle insisted on getting him from the Yankees in a deal for Cliff Lee and the trade fell apart when Brian Cashman refused. The Atlanta Braves have also been rumored to be interested in him for a long time as well.

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5 Responses to Yankees Win Rights to Japanese Infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima

  1. Bronx_Knight says:

    Good. I'm not a fan of Nunez. He is poorly suited to the role of utility infielder, which is to catch the ball and throw it to first base before the runner gets there. My 10-year-old son, who's scared of the ball and ducks whenever it's hit to him, plays shortstop better than Nunez.

    Don't know much about Nakajima. I'll hazard a guess that if he's a Japanese All-Star, he should be at least a replacement-level player here. If he's a good fielder on top of that, then that's all we need out of our utility infielder, and sayonara Nunez.

    • Joe says:

      I disagree. I think Nunez has alot of potential. He can play multiple positions, has some pop in his bat, has a strong but sometimes unaccurate arm. I think the Yankees are going to send him to Atlanta as part of the Jurgens deal. Be careful with Jurgens he had knee problems which reduced his velocity. Why not give the young arms a chance? Other teams do..

      • Bronx_Knight says:

        Obviously I'm teasing when I make fun of Nunez's fielding, but the fact remains that he is a very poor defender. He may have a strong arm but that doesn't help much if he throws the ball to the guy selling peanuts behind the dugout. This is why I say that he is poorly suited to the role of utility infielder: your classic utility infielder can't hit well but can play good defense. So you want a guy who's a good defender who you can put in in late innings if you're ahead, and maybe he's fast too so you can put him in as a pinch runner.
        Nunez does have a decent bat (and some speed) but that's not what we need him for.

  2. Fred says:

    Very nice. Luxury tax, salary cap free 2 million in the last year we can drop big dollars on international free agents for a guy that can presumably at least play major league caliber defense. I'm a fan of this move, worst case scenario he bombs but we won't be out of much money on it anyway. Best case and he gives us the depth to make moves for a starter.

    I'm of the belief of trade Nunez now while his value is high, I don't think he's going to pan out well.

  3. Mike Sommer says:

    On Twitter there is a report that his O is good (last 4 years average about .300-20-90 years) but the D is poor.