Nakajima posted; Brewers unlikely to pursue
A report relayed by the terrific site MLB Trade Rumors says that Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima has formally been posted by the Seibu Lions, and that Major League teams have until 4 p.m. CT on Friday to make a bid. The winning team would then have a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with Nakajima, who, according to FoxSports.com, is being represented in the U.S. by Legacy Sports, the same agency that has Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. If the sides cannot reach a deal, Seibu would keep the posting fee.
Nakajima batted .313 with a .389 on-base percentage over the past four seasons with Seibu with 75 home runs and 340 RBIs.
The Brewers are heavy in the shortstop market but are not planning to make a play for Nakajima. Milwaukee does not scout Japan, choosing instead to invest its international scouting dollars to areas that produce more Major Leaguers: The Dominican Republic (Manny Batista and Rafael Espinal), Venezuela (Batista and Freddy Torres) and Puerto Rico (Batista).
That’s not to say the Brewers are closed-minded about Japanese players, but realize they usually get them after those players have already established themselves in the big leagues. Melvin signed reliever Takashi Saito at Christmastime last year and is working on bringing him back for 2012. He also acquired right-handed starter Tomo Ohka from the Nationals in 2005.
Note that both of those players are pitchers. With apologies to Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, Japanese position players have proven more risky. Last winter, the Twins invested $14 million in another shortstop, Tsuyoshi Nishioka — paying a $5 million posting fee before agreeing to a three-year, $9 million contract — and he batted .226 in 68 games. Nishioka missed much of the first half after suffering a broken leg.
So, expect the Brewers to find their shortstop closer to home.
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