A’s Interested in Nakajima?
There is a new free-agent on the market at shortstop, Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions of the NPB. The A’s could have interest in him, he does not require a posting fee. Baseball-Reference does not have full foreign stats (and they’re impossible to find), but since 2007 the soon to be 30-year shortstop, has put together a .310/.381/.474 slash line in 821 games and 3,576 plate appearances. In 2012 he hit .311/.382/.451 in 567 plate appearances sporting a 9.2% BB% and knocking 13 home runs after rejecting the opportunity to play as a reserve with the New York Yankees who won the posting bidding to claim his rights in the offseason.
These sorts of signings can be so hard to gauge; aside from Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui the list of strong Japanese hitters quickly peters out to the likes of Kaz Matsui. That said, if the A’s could get a level of production comparable to what Norichika Aoki gave the Brewers this year what a great signing it could be under the radar. Aoki was a better hitter in NPB with the Yakult Swallows but not significantly so, so I think there is room for comparison. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports reports that the A’s are at least “midly interested”, but this seems like it could be a worthwhile way for the A’s at the very least to give themselves some flexibility, lest we forget the A’s present starting shortstop is none other than (shudder) Adam Rosales, and the trade market looks quite bleak and Stephen Drew seems the best available on the near empty free-agent market.