The Yankees failed to reach an agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima last week and today we are finding out the details as to why.
The Yankees played serious hardball with Nakajima, asking him to sign a contract that gave them six-years of control that teams typically get from rookies. Short of that, they were only willing to make him a $1 million, one-year offer, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
However, that wasn’t even the dealbreaker. Nakajima wants to come to America and might have even settled for a small amount of money (Hisashi Iwakuma just signed for $1.5 million after all). The problem was that the Yankees didn’t have a starting job to offer Nakajima.
Here is a statement from his agent:
“Under the posting system, Nakajima was permitted to negotiate only with the New York Yankees. While the Yankees are obviously a tremendous franchise and Nakajima was honored by their interest, the Yankees have All-Stars at every infield position, and from the outset it seemed dubious that they would have a role for him commensurate with his abilities and goals.
“Out of respect for the Yankees and for the process, we engaged in discussions, but it became clear that this was not a good fit at this stage of his career. Nakajima’s decision had nothing to do with money; he just didn’t feel that he would be using his abilities to the fullest and helping his club to the maximum extent possible in the role that the Yankees envisioned for him.”
It would have been nice if the Yankees had a solid piece off the bench to backup Old-Man-Rod and the soon to be 38-years-old Derek Jeter. However, this relationship was really doomed from the start. The Yankees shocked everyone by winning the bidding with an extreme low-ball offer and he wasn’t going to sign unless he found a starting job.