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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Needing shortstop, A's turn to Japan

This is a bit of a surprise! The small market Oakland A's baseball team has signed Japanese free agent shortstop Nakajima Hiroyuki (surname first)!

Usually, signing Japanese baseball players is a New York Yankees' or LA Dodgers' kind of thing, so it's nice to see someone else get in on the action.

The 30-year-old Nakajima has played the past six years with the Saitama Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League and has turned down multiple offers to stay and play in Japan.

Nakajima is a career .310 hitter (batting average), 104 HRs, and a pretty decent .856 OPS (On-base Plus Slugging average) in Japan. Last year, the New York Yankees tried to sign him after winning the negotiating rights with a reported $2.5-million bid in the posting process (money that goes to his Japanese team regardless if he chooses to sign with another team or not). He did not, and the Yankees blew $2.5 million to the Seibu Lions.

However... this year Nakajima is a free agent and can sign with whomever and wherever he wishes. He chose Oakland! I found that out while I was writing the story about his 'possible' signing. 

Before signing with Oakland, Nakajima had already turned down offers from other Japanese ball clubs.

The Oakland A's needed a shortstop after losing their incumbent Stephen Drew to free agency and the evil empire that is the Red Sox nation of Boston.

Andrew Joseph

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