Brewers officially win Aoki bid; now what?
The Brewers want a first-hand look at Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki before deciding whether to pursue a deal with the three-time batting champion.
Major League Baseball confirmed Monday that the Tokyo Yakult Swallows had accepted the Brewers’ winning bid for Aoki, opening a 30-day window for the sides to negotiate an MLB contract. Aoki is being represented in the U.S. by Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, the same agency that represents Brewers outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart.
Since the Brewers do not have a scout stationed in Japan, they plan to invite Aoki for a workout at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Ariz., at some point after the holidays. The details have yet to be set, general manager Doug Melvin said, but he would like manager Ron Roenicke and at least one member of Roenicke’s coaching staff to attend with other club officials for what would probably be a two-day event.
Multiple reports over the weekend said the Brewers paid a $2.5 million posting fee for the right to negotiate with Aoki.
His Japanese team would keep that fee whether or not the Brewers and Aoki reach a deal. If the Brewers and Aoki do not reach a deal, then the Brewers would not have to pay the fee.
Melvin said the deadline for the Brewers and Aoki to agree is Jan. 17.
“The bid allows you the opportunity to negotiate, that’s all. We’ll make a decision after the workout,” Melvin said.
Aoki was posted by the Swallows early last week, after the news that Braun, the reigning National League MVP, was appealing a 50-game suspension under MLB’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. But the Brewers’ decision to bid was “totally separate,” assistant GM Gord Ash said.
Both Ash and Melvin said the Brewers have been given no information about the timing of Braun’s appeal. There is a chance that Aoki’s signing deadline would pass before resolution of the Braun matter.
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