More Yucki than Hero
The Yankees were unable to come to terms on a deal with infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. The team won the rights to negotiate with the 29-year-old via a $2.5 million bid in the posting process on Dec. 7; that gave the team 30 days to work out a contract.
Technically, the Yanks have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to work something out, but it would be almost impossible for ‘Yuki to get to New York and pass a physical prior to that deadline. Plus, it seems like they never really wanted to sign him in the first place; A) they put in a very low bid and B) they viewed him as a bench player and only wanted to give him a one-year deal. So they’ll get their $2.5 million back and be on their way.
Now Nakajima will play the 2012 season for the Seibu Lions (Japanese Pacific League) and become a free agent after this season.
"We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki. We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season."
I guess it’s all as well, I doubt he would want to be a bench player and the Yanks can just sign Eric Chavez to play that role. The Yanks paid Fake Mattingly $1.5 million last season, so he’s a better deal before Nakajima’s contract even comes into discussion.
And, when healthy, Chavez is nice; the question is can he stay healthy. He only played in 58 games last season and played in just 64 tilts from 2008-2010. On the other hand, Hiroyuki played in 144 games for Seibu last season and hit .297 with 16 homers, 100 RBI and 21 steals.
I suppose it would’ve been nice to have a younger guy compared to (potentially having) the 34-year-old Chavez, but the Yanks also have Eddie Nunez. I would’ve viewed the signing of Nakajima as a luxury rather than a necessity.
However, I’d hate to see what would’ve happened if they had won the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish.