Dec
15

Nakajima and the sign-and-trade possibility

By

(Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Yankees have a very interesting situation on their hands with Hiroyuki Nakajima, the 29-year-old Japanese shortstop whose negotiating rights they won with a $2.5M bid last week. Brian Cashman and Greg Genske (Nakajima’s agent) continue to negotiate a contract, but late last night Ken Rosenthal reported that Genske has broached the idea of a sign-and-trade scenario, in which the Yankees would sign his client before flipping him to another club.

Obviously Nakajima wants to play everyday, but we’ve heard over and over again that the Yankees view him as a bench player, a utility infielder. Nakajima has indicated a willingness to sign, and Rosenthal even says he’s intrigued by the idea of wearing pinstripes and playing behind Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees don’t necessarily want to trade him though, and the FOX scribe goes on to quote a “rival scout” who raves about Nakajima’s makeup. There’s that makeup thing again, the Yanks really seem to have placed an emphasis on it lately.

Anyway, a sign-and-trade sounds like a wonderful idea, but we have to remember that Nakajima probably has very little trade value. I doubt the Yankees aren’t going to be able to flip him for a starting pitcher or anything substantial like that. Rosenthal says the Giants and Cubs have interest in trading for him, but apparently not enough interest to bid more than $2.5M during the posting process. Jed Lowrie is a decent comp as a middle infielder with three years of contractual control and questions about his game (defense, ability to hit righties, health), and he got traded for a middle reliever yesterday. Not even straight-up either; he had to be paired with an okay-ish pitching prospect. That’s basically our benchmark for a Nakajima trade, which means he’d likely have to be the second or third piece in a package of players if the Yankees want to receive anything meaningful.

The last two infielders to come over from Japan — Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Akinori Iwamura — signed three-year contracts worth $9M and $7.7M, respectively. Their posting fees were a little larger than Nakajima’s ($5.3M and $4.5M, respectively), but that gives us an idea of the kind of contract it will likely take to sign him. Would a club rather have Nakajima at something like three years and $8M, or one of the various middle infielders that signed two-year contracts in the $5-11M range this winter (Aaron Hill, Clint Barmes, Mark Ellis, Jamie Carroll)?  I think they’d prefer Nakajima since it’s basically the same money spread out over one more year, plus he’s several years younger than those folks. Now, would you rather have Nakajima at that price, or Eduardo Nunez? Remember, Nunez is five years younger, substantially cheaper, and under team control for another five years. ZiPS projection for Nakajima (.276/.322/.389) is almost exactly what Nunez hit this past season (.265/.313/.385).

You folks know I’m not Nunez’s biggest fan, but I think he offers more trade value than Nakajima, so perhaps the best thing for the Yankees would be to deal him and keep Nakajima. Then again, the market has shown that the trade return is likely to be underwhelming unless there are a few more players included in the package. The sign-and-trade idea suggest by Genske is a nice option for the Yankees to have, but I’m not quite sure it’s much of a help unless they sweeten the pot with some other players. That said, the Yankees did acquire a trade chip for essentially nothing, even if they get stuck paying the $2.5M posting fee, and that’s pretty awesome.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • Paul from Boston

    “he got traded for a middle reliever yesterday”

    Wow, weren’t you guys calling Melancon Mo’s heir apparent not too long ago? There’s little doubt the Sox see him as a closer in the making. Maybe they’re wrong, but they paid a decent price for a guy they clearly see as valuable (and where the Yankees gave up on him way too soon for peanuts in return).

    “Now, would you rather have Nakajima at that price, or Eduardo Nunez?”

    I’d rather have Jimmy Paredes.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      1) How far you’ve fallen, Lance Berkman. You’re peanuts now, apparently.

      2) Melancon looked broken and in need of a change of scenery. He looked extremely shaky in the opportunities he was given with the Yankees, and did not regain his poise when he was sent back down.

      3) Where exactly would he have fit in on the Yankees now? There’s about three “closers in waiting” on the team, and they literally plucked a guy off the scrap heap last year in Cory Wade who filled the role Melancon might have filled.

      Like I said yesterday, I like Melancon. It’s too bad we have to break him now.

      • Paul from Boston

        1) What did the Yankees get from Berkman? One hit in the ALDS? That was worth 12 years of team control? Really? Reaaallly?

        2) Broken and needing a change of scenery after 20 MLB innings? That’s some powerful analysis right there.

        3) And Cory Wade is just as likely to turn back into dust. Who are the next in line in Scranton?

        Here’s a refresher on Melancon:
        As if his stuff wasn’t good enough, his all-out attack approach and outstanding makeup are just icing on the cake. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t force his way to the big league bullpen by June, and there’s a good chance he could become one of Joe Girardi’s most trusted relievers in the second half. I look forward to seeing him march out of the Yanks’ bullpen for many years to come.

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ncon-7282/

        My, how times (and uniforms) have changed.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Anyone else have a list of players recieving raves in 2009 for which they don’t apply now?

          Yes, it was 20 innings, and he looked shaky in just about every one of them. He then looked just as bad when sent back down over the next several months and wasn’t exactly a young pup anymore. What were they supposed to do, keep putting him back out there?

          I agree that Berkman didn’t make a massive impact. I also agree that everyone is a 100% accurate GM in retrospect. We shouldn’t have signed Dave Collins in ’81, btw. Steve Kemp was a bad signing too. See what a great GM I am?

          Do you have anything positive to say about the team?

          • Paul from Boston

            “What were they supposed to do, keep putting him back out there?”

            Um, after 20 innings. Yes. Without. A. Doubt.

            Phil Hughes says hello. But then I bet you think he has a big year ahead of him.

            • The Big City of Dreams

              Phil Hughes says hello. But then I bet you think he has a big year ahead of him.

              ————————–

              Many ppl do. Cashman is one of them…he sees Phil winning double digits this yr.

            • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

              Hughes at least has the possibility of being a decent starter– something the Yankees sorely need. I really doubt Melancon is the second coming of Mo, and short of that, how many pretty-good relief prospects do the Yankees need? If in hindsight, you think they didn’t get enough for Melancon– there’s a good argument there. But he certainly was expendable.

              • The Big City of Dreams

                Hughes at least has the possibility of being a decent starter– something the Yankees sorely need

                ——————-

                That’s how low the bar is for him now

      • JobaWockeeZ

        2) Melancon looked broken and in need of a change of scenery. He looked extremely shaky in the opportunities he was given with the Yankees, and did not regain his poise when he was sent back down.

        That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read on this site which incldues hundreds of LBGS comments.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Another one who never has anything to say other than trying to one-up comments he disagrees with by putting down the commenter with a one-liner.

          LoHud ——–> that way.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Your right, sorry. I acted out of line. Instead I should be a pretentious ass, referencing the PS3 every day and I should sterotype other Yankee communities because I think I’m a badass on a blog.

            The x button is above, save everyone annoyance and click it.

      • Plank

        I think it’s pretty clear that the players we lost in the Berkman trade were more valuable than the value we got from Berkman, both as of now and certainly by the time their indentured servitude is over.

        The trade was understandable in that they wanted some production from DH it just didn’t work out.

        Also,

        they literally plucked a guy off the scrap heap last year in Cory Wade who filled the role Melancon might have filled.

        Playing fast and loose with the term literally.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Also ignoring how easy it was to replace Melancon.

          • Paul from Boston

            Not six years of Melancon…

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Wait the six years, I’m sure they’ll be able to do it.

              • Paul from Boston

                We’ll see. They consistently put up with stinkers in the pen. Or they completely neuter young starters by putting them in the pen. Joba FTW!!!111!!!

                Meanwhile, we’ll watch Melancon pitching important innings for the Sox for the next five years. That should be fun.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  Great. Now do me a favor and try commenting about the topic at hand instead of your usual pitching about Melancon/Paredes or Arodys or whoever it will be next week.

                  • Paul from Boston

                    Arodys? That’s another one! But I suppose you think that was a good trade too?

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      Couldn’t even make one comment about Nakajima.

          • Plank

            If Melancon is so easily replaceable, they how did Boston win the trade by giving up a young cost controlled SS?

            Melancon was replaced well after the fact by someone of similar value, but I don’t think that should be a huge factor in evaluating the trade unless the other player was laying in wait in the minors.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Because Lowrie is allergic to staying on the field, and Weiland pretty much sucks.

            • MannyGeee

              Because, as mentioned above, there are REAL questions about Lawrie as an everyday SS in Boston… regardless of what ESPN tells you.

    • Gonzo

      Ben Cherington said he thinks he could be a closer. Then again, what’s he supposed to say, “I traded for this guy because of payroll. I’ll be happy if he can keep his ERA under 4.20.” LOL

      Ben Cherington as married to Wendi Nix. I am kind of jealous.

      • Gonzo

        *was married

        • Plank

          I just googled her. Not much to be jealous of. She has fat baby arms.

          • Gonzo

            With those glasses, consider me there.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            See actually lost a ton weight over the last year or two.

            • Plank

              Blondes with small boobs and big butts have the worst possible combination of features. You could stand anywhere in California, throw a water balloon in any direction and spray 5 girls with that skill set. She’s the replacement level girl.

              • Gonzo

                You said spray 5 girls. hehe

                • MannyGeee

                  with any luck, huh… AmiRite?

                  • Plank

                    Man, we really need baseball news.

      • Paul from Boston

        He didn’t trade Lowrie and Weiland for a middle reliever.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Sure he did. Melancon’s not closing and he’s not starting. He’s a middle reliever just like Robertson and Soriano and everyone else who isn’t closing or starting.

          • Paul from Boston

            Mark those words? You’re not exactly consistent here. If Melancon is the closer, what will you say then? Point back to your prospect profile and say you knew it all along?

            That said, Melancon was closing for Houston. That makes him a closer even if in name only.

            • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

              Well, just because Rafael Soriano was closing in 2010, no one was calling him the Yankees closer prior to the 2011 season. When the Brewers moved Robin Yount to CF way back when, they didn’t enter the season saying, “Robin Yount is our shortstop,” simply because he played SS the prior year. The real world doesn’t work like a computer simulation.

              If Boston brought in Melancon with the idea that he is going to be a middle reliever or setup man (which they have) then they didn’t trade for a “closer” simply because that was his role last year. They traded for his intended role…as a middle reliever.

          • Kosmo

            Melancon saved 20 games last season. That´s not closing ?
            2012 is a script yet to be written. Who at this point is going to determine what exactly Melancon´s role will be ?

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              Cherington said after the trade yesterday that he wasn’t going to close. Pretty clear they valued him as something less than a closer then, if he came out and said it the same day as the trade.

              • Kosmo

                In all likelihood Boston MIGHT sign Madson but right now their bullpen roles have yet to be determined.
                What does Cherington know ? It´s Valentines job to field in his eyes the best team.

              • Paul from Boston

                Because GMs are truth tellers? Like Joba being a starter?

                They clearly valued him more than a middle reliever. His pedigree suggests a closer. He’s been a MLB closer.

                You’re grasping at straws here. Why?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  I’m not the one grasping at straws, you’re the one you nitpicked the one stupid line out of the entire article.

                  • Paul from Boston

                    It wasn’t a nitpick. Clearly you were taking a swipe at Melancon. Why? Cause now you’ll have to watch him close out games for the Sox?

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      Calling a middle reliever a middle reliever isn’t a swipe at anyone. Would it have been better if I said he was a former closer? Who the hell cares, it’s semantics. You’re the one who grabbed that one line, missed the entire point of the article, and went nuts with it.

                      I couldn’t care less about the Sox, and hell, I said they won the trade yesterday:

                      https://twitter.com/#!/mikeaxisa/status/146994616200212480

                    • Paul from Boston

                      But he’s not a middle reliever. Your facts are wrong there. He was a closer last year and he’s a closer by pedigree. You of course know that.

                      I went nuts with it because I’m sick and tired of the Yankees trading away youth with upside for veteraness that adds nothing to the bottom line.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I agree that it’s semantics. I don’t know that there’s much reason to differentiate between “middle reliever” and “closer” in the first place, though. A guy pitching in the 6th, 7th, 8th can see a lot of high leverage work and probably can provide as much value as the closer. Team generally end up with their best reliever closing, but it’s possible, say, that if Jenks is their closer Melancon could still be their best/most valuable reliever.

                • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

                  Bobby Jenks’ pedigree was a closer. When the Red Sox brought him in prior to the 2011 season, were they calling him their “closer?” No. It’s the role intended for the upcoming season that labels a player…not what they’ve done in the past. Andrew Jones was not brought in to be the Yankees’ starting centerfielder last year.

          • Plank

            I think it’s more accurate to say they traded for a closer (since that was his most recent job and presumably his intended job to start next year had he not been traded) and converted him to a middle reliever, if that is their intention.

            When the Yankees signed Soriano, did they sign a middle reliever? Technically yes, I guess, but I think it’s more accurate to say they signed a closer and made him a middle reliever.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

              I had many arguments with Ted Nelson about Soriano being a middle reliever after the signing.

              • Gonzo

                If you say his name 2 more times, he’ll show up.

              • Kosmo

                What does that have to do with Melancon ? This is more of a let`s wait and see.

              • Plank

                Really? That seems out of character for him.

              • Ted Nelson

                Again, I don’t see too much value is differentiating between “closer” and “middle reliever.”

                I believe that there are enough high leverage innings in an average season that Boston can use someone else as “closer” and Melancon can still be as valuable or more valuable to them.

                And in terms of evaluating players, it’s something out of their hands to a large extent.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Say Melancon comes into the 7th or 8th inning of a tie game with runners on first and second no one out. He strikes out the side. Boston scores 2 runs their half of the inning. Now the closer comes in and gets the save, 3 outs 2 hits 0 runs. Who was more valuable to the Red Sox?

                  There are also conflicting rumors about Melancon as closer: “GM Ben Cherington sounds comfortable with Melancon as a closer, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (on Twitter).” from mlbtraderumors.com

                • MannyGeee

                  holy crap! he did show up!

                  Beetlejuice
                  Beetlejuice
                  Beetlejuice!

                • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

                  The “closer” pitches the 9th (or final) inning. Middle relievers pitch all the others. The ongoing and lengthy argument here isn’t about value…it’s about semantics. Melancon will likely not “close” just like Jenks didn’t “close” for them last year, despite having a “pedigree” as a closer. No one cares about the value, although it’s very possible Melancon is one of those types better suited to a job in the National League.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    Value seems to be very relevant to this discussion.

                    The value the Yankees got for Melancon, the value the Red Sox gave up for Melancon which relates to the value they expect to him…

                    I understand what a “closer” is. I’m saying who gives half a crap if a guy is a “closer” or a really, really good “middle reliever?”

              • Bryan

                Hit the nail on the head – past role doesn’t determine future role. Latter is more important when describing a player. Soriano was signed by the Yankees as a middle reliever, hence that’s his title.

                Who cares if Melancon finally did good. LT this’ll only improve other Yankee prospects’ trade value. We can’t always have Betemit/Swisher trades.

                As for the Vazquez/Vizcaino trade, yeah the result irks me, but I understand the reasoning. A proven pitcher coming off a stellar year for a high upside prospect in High A and Melky sounds fair.

  • MattG

    Here’s a question I can’t answer: whereas the novelty of Hispanic descent seems to now be a non-factor, are there certain markets with large Japanese populations that still seen benefits of having Japanese players on their roster? What about all the media that still apparently follows around Japanese players?

    Sure, Nunez has more value because he is younger, has less control, and has some room for projection, but those are baseball-only arguments. Nakajima might bring business benefits.

    • Gonzo

      I was always surprised that Shin-Soo Choo wasn’t a bigger star because of his nationality.

      Maybe it’s because he’s in Cleveland.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Or hurt all the time.

        • MannyGeee

          or not really all that great.

        • Rainbow Connection

          Or a drunk driver. Hard to market a guy that’s willing to mow down a family after a few cocktails.

      • Plank

        Choo is a big deal in SK.

        • Gonzo

          I meant bigger star in the U.S. I have Korean friends and I heard he was big even before his big MLB years. I am not saying Ichiro big, but bigger than he is now.

          • Plank

            I think he would be a bigger star is he wasn’t Korean. If he was a white boy from America he would be a huge hit with his numbers *cough* Ryan Braun *cough*

            American’s don’t know what to make of Koreans. Most of them don’t even understand the whole North Korea/South Korea thing. They just hear Korea and think of a third world country with a communist monarchy.

            • Gonzo

              Well, I kind of lump Choo in with Zobrist in my head. That is, the casual fan has no idea that they have been really good. I guess I could be wrong though, but I thought the Korean angle would help not hurt his cause.

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      I think the press contingent that follows Japanese players around is more a detraction than a benefit. Especially in what’s considered to be an overcrowded clubhouse in the Bronx. Outside of that, I don’t think a Japanese player is going to bring in throngs of Japanese or Asian fans. A few maybe, but not a noticeable difference.

      The bottom line when signing or trading for anyone HAS to be, “Is this player going to make the team better on the field.” Everything else is secondary.

  • Soam

    It’s amazing to me how negative many yanks fans are about Nunez, there are a lot of teams that would love to have him as a starter and we’re complaining about him being on our bench? He’s a great asset, and maybe his best value will come from a trade, but some people sound like they want to trade him just to trade him

    • Paul from Boston

      Yeah, I’m sure teams are lining up to start an error-prone infielder who hits .267/.314/.382.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        …..who improved his defense as the year progressed and hit that in his first “full” MLB season. Yeah, he’ll never improve. He’s the next Paul Zuvella (apologies to both Zuvella and the commenter here with his handle.)

        Nunez is younger, cheaper, and is probably seen by more teams as a future starting SS option. The Yanks are three years away from prying that position out of Derek Jeter’s cold, dead hands. Nunez is a bit of a luxury that could be moved instead of som other MiLB pieces.

        • Paul from Boston

          Let’s stop applauding the kids who get off the short bus. He’s played 39 complete games at SS in MLB and committed 14 errors. That’s not even a starter for the Royals.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            ….But Mark Melancon’s performance in pinstripes was just a small sample.

            • JobaWockeeZ

              And in that shrot sample we’ve concluded he lacks poise, lacks skill and lacks the skill to be in NY which deifnitely means he needs a trade of scenery.

              But no, keep acting like a fucking know it all.

              • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

                Pot. Kettle.

                • JobaWockeeZ

                  That’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said. That’s all I wanted.

                  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

                    Someday, you’ll post more than a sentence, and that sentence will include something related to the actual New York Yankees instead of trying to get one over on someone else.

                    • JobaWockeeZ

                      We’re supposed to take you seriously when you fill your comments will ball-washing and riding the short bus, but we’re the ones exaggerating.

                      Come back when you’ve learned how to post and/or think.

                      Ah. So I’m supposed to insult you in more than one sentence? Got it bro. Thanks. By the way keep up the wannabe TSJC act except minus the intelligence and hilarity.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                      How bout you both stop it, mmmkay?

                    • Paul from Boston

                      Do you fight with everyone here? Cause I don’t see you adding anything else – actual facts or otherwise. You’re a replacement level commenter.

              • Ted Nelson

                They traded him for an All-Star hitter hoping to repeat as WS champs… they didn’t cut him.

                And the comparison was to Nunez… 40 games for a SS isn’t a large enough sample to judge on, and neither was Melancon’s Yankee MLB tenure. Paul is commenting that the Yankees didn’t give Melancon long enough, but Nunez can never improve. Which is pretty typical for Paul (pretty sure he’s a Red Sox troll).

                If the Yankees trade Nunez for a SP (or whatever), it will no more indicate they’re giving up on him than trading Melancon for Berkman or IPK/AJax for Granderson. You have to give something to get something in a trade.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        And yet for some reason you think an error-prone infielder who can’t play short and hit .286/.320/.393 is better.

        • Paul from Boston

          Yeah, because he’s two years younger and hit .305/.338/.435 as a lefty.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            Haha, you’re bringing up age? Sound argument, especially since Nunez is so far into his decline phase.

            /wanking motion

            • Paul from Boston

              You’re bringing up age to support Nunez v. Nakajima. Nunez is pretty well developed at this point. He’ll be 25 this year with 6 years of mL performance. Somehow now he’s going to learn to field?

              And maybe you missed the actual stats, but Paredes is showing he can hit RHP quite well, especially for a 22 year old in MLB.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                Seriously? There’s a huge difference between comparing a 29-year-old and a 24-year-old vs. a 24-year-old and a 22-year-old.

                Paredes hit .262/.294/.387 in 296 PA vs. RHP in the minors this year. Also shows a similar split for the rest of his minor league career: http://mlsplits.drivelinebaseb.....nfo/517370

                But hey, he showed he can hit RHP quite well in those 140 MLB PA!

                • Paul from Boston

                  So in one breath you assume development. In the next you take it away.

                  Makes sense.

                  Nunez and defense don’t belong in the same sentence. If 6 years in the minors aren’t enough, then he won’t be learning in MLB. He is what his is at this point.

                  Paredes (and Melancon) were complete wastes. And now we’ll watch them contribute significant time to other teams.

                  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                    I don’t call 140 PA “development.”

                    • Paul from Boston

                      It’s more than the Yankees ever gave him. And did I mention he’s 22?

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                      They traded him when he was in Low-A. If you don’t think they can give up a kid that far away in a trade, you’re hugging your prospects too tightly.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            Also, 140 PA as a lefty. Who the hell cares?

            • Paul from Boston

              1. >> Nunez
              2. Yankees have a certain shortstop who can barely hit RHP any more.
              3. They threw in a young middle infielder with six years of team control (with a young closer candidate with six years of team control) for peanuts in return.

              Now we’re all supposed to wash Nunez’s balls?

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                No, I’m no Nunez fan. But saying Paredes would be a better option is just silly, especially since he’s played a grand total of 16 games at short over the last three years and wouldn’t even be able to spell Jeter against righties.

                • Paul from Boston

                  Nunez clearly isn’t an option at short. If they’re willing to play him there they should have been willing to play Paredes there.

                • RONC

                  paredes is 23

              • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

                We’re supposed to take you seriously when you fill your comments will ball-washing and riding the short bus, but we’re the ones exaggerating.

                Come back when you’ve learned how to post and/or think.

      • Dan

        I think it more has to do about what people see he has the potential to become. Yes, he might flame out and never be a decent SS, but the high end could be a Hanley Ramirez type of player. Granted Hanley was much higher rated coming up through the minors than Nunez, but if you look at Hanley’s rookie year of .292 Avg/ 17HR/ 51SB, you could easily see something similar from Nunez over the course of a full season. Hanley had 26 errors, and that might be around what Nunez would have if he played SS regularly for a full season and wasn’t asked to switch between two or three positions.

        • Gonzo

          This is not a good comp.

          • Dan

            I know, it was just the first one that popped into my head. Nunez is an error-prone SS with decent power and great speed (which can also be said of Ramirez) so that was the first comparison I thought of.

            • Gonzo

              Gotcha.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            He’s more likely, to me, to be somewhere in between the 30 Alex Gonzalez’s, which still makes for a better MLB career than I’ll ever have.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          I see your point, but think it’s much more likely that he’s closer to Hanley’s rookie season than to Hanley’s high end. Still, I’d rather have Nunez than Nakajima, even if he becomes no more than what he is today.

    • Rainbow Connection

      A defensive replacement that can’t play defense? I can’t believe he’s not more popular either. The NERVE of some people!

  • Chris

    I saw this move as a way to trade Nunez to Atlanta for pitching. Anyone else have that go through their heads?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Honestly, yeah. It absolutely could be that, although I wasn’t really thinking of a specific team.

      If Nakajima weren’t to be what was expected, finding a backup infielder that will pan out wouldn’t be as detrimental as swapping out back-of-the-rotation guys for months.

    • pat

      Nunez for Venters!

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Great in theory, but I foresee Cashman making another silly “he was abused” comment if they swing that one.

        • Chris

          Here again the Yanks can use their money to their advantage. They can inflate Nunez’s value if they agree to take most of if not all of Jurrjens’ contract in return. Honestly he was the guy I saw the Yankees going after because of this news. Atlanta said they wanted Nunez and also wants to unload Jurrjens. Not sure how the money breaks down moving towards that all important 2014 year but it seems like a risk the Yanks can take and let Banuelos mature instead of heaving him off the deep end half way through this year and next year much like the big 3 had to do.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I have never criticized a player because of where he comes from. That said, middle infielders from Japan have not done so well in MLB. Nishioka, the other Matsui and others have been average at best. So now I sound like many of the commenters in this blog. That does not mean, however, that Nakajima won’t succeed. There was one with the White Sox, I forget his name that had good power and reasonable success.

    • Brooklyn Ed

      Akinori Iwamura was pretty good during his first 3 years with the Rays.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        Yes he was, thanks.

    • Thomas

      Tad Iguchi was the White Sox player.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        That’s the one. Thanks very much.

    • pat

      Well those guys were brought over to be starters and above average regulars. Yanks are already saying they see this dude as a super-sub.

    • jimmy1138

      Nishioka’s season got derailed when Swisher broke his leg. Kaz Matsui definitely underperformed. Iwamura was also okay but not the power threat he was in Japan.
      Problem with Japanese hitters is that they lack power. Before last season hitting homeruns was just too easy (b/c of the ball). They changed to a MLB style ball and the numbers significantly dropped – especially homeruns. That’s also what happens to guys like Matsui (a 50 homerun hitter in a shorter season in Japan) and Iwamura (hit also like 40 homeruns) when they come to the MLB – homeruns turn into flyouts.

      • pat

        It’s not just the ball. The pitchers here are much better. I’d imagine the parks are also bigger and the weather plays a factor.

      • MannyGeee

        change in diet… less low-fat food and veggies, more fried chicken and Bud Light.

  • Neo

    What happens to the posting fee if the Yankees don’t sign him? Is it sunk cost gone forever or do the Yankees only pay if he signs?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      They don’t have to pay the posting fee if he doesn’t sign.

  • Ted Nelson

    I could see trading him for an ok prospect the Yankees are higher on than his own team. Might be nothing but a relief prospect, but that could be worth $2.5 million (or less if the acquiring team kicks in cash). Maybe an OF prospect. Maybe a low minors guy with upside.

    Thing about Melancon is that he’s “proven” and still has pretty good upside for a reliever. You might be able to find a somewhat comparable guy still in the minors for Nakajima straight-up. Maybe someone they like better than Kontos/Meyer/Mitchell/etc. and/or is a year+ further away.

  • zapp brannigan

    dave cameron:jesus montero :: mike axisa:eduardo nunez

    • Plank

      I disagree, but that’s funny.

      I’d go

      Dave Cameron:Jim Rice::Mike Axisa:Kenny Lofton (Omar Vizquel? Jon Olerud?)

      Cameron is overrated by the masses but considered so overrated that he’s slightly underrated by those in the know. Axisa has been so quietly consistently good for so long that he’s suddenly a borderline HOF

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Thank you, I appreciate that.

        • Plank

          No problem

      • MannyGeee

        Axisa borderline HoFer? Barry Bonds disapproves (as does Sensei John Kreese)…

        (NoMaas joke thrown in for emphasis)

  • John Ya Ya

    The way I see it, Nakajima took at shot at becoming a starting infielder in MLB, and basically had no takers. As the Yankees aren’t likely to sign him for significantly more than his present salary in the Japanese league, I’m guessing they don’t come to an agreement, the Yankees get their $2 million back, and all this ends up a minor factoid in baseball history. Apparently his skills (lack of fielding ability, ok hitting), don’t translate to starting MLB level middle infielder talent, so I don’t see any teams taking on the kind of salary it would take to sign Nakajima. I think the very low winning posting bid by the Yanks proves this.

    • PiraPira

      Well he can’t go back either. His old spot just taken. Seibu Lions signed Esteban German to replace him already.

      His old team used his salary budget to sign 2 foreign players too actually not just Esterban German.

      Not to mention few days ago his friends and teammates threw a big farewell party for him. If he’s not going, they will surely beat him up.

      Worst case scenario is Seibu Lions probably release him and then he can go to any MLB team that want him.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know how player movement within Japan works, but why would they cut a star player rather than selling or trading him to another Japanese team?

        • PiraPira

          Trading your star player rarely happens in Japan.

          It’s a bad thing to do. It’s actually considered as a shameful act. If someone wants to move to another team, their team will usually just release him to show honor.

          That’s why you see lots of Japan players before coming to MLB only play for one team 10 years straight like Matsui with Giants or Kuroda with Carp.

          Another player that received no bid from MLB teams just released by his team few days ago so it’s possible.

      • John Ya Ya

        Does this usually happen with players that go through the posting process?

  • Hey Now

    Nakajima can’t possibly be as crummy in the field as Errorduardo. While Nunez does seem to have a live bat, the fact is he makes way too many errors in seemingly every type of fashion.

    If he can bring back any viable piece, I’d say ship him off and give Nakajima a shot.

    • Ted Nelson

      If Nunez can cut the errors he’s a solid SS prospect: good range and a good arm. Not eliminate the error problem altogether necessarily, but significantly cut. If you’ve got a below-average but not bad defender with a solid bat at SS you’re better off than a lot of teams.

      • Chris

        Then you have Derek Jeter

        • Ted Nelson

          2010-11 Jeter maybe, highly doubt Nunez is the offensive player Jeter was on his career: .369 wOBA. Maybe juiced ball era helped, but I still don’t see Nunez’ upside even being career Jeter.

  • dkidd

    this is such a cranky thread

    lack of news is driving everyone crazy

  • http://twitter.com/themanchine The Manchine

    Hughes, Nunez, Warren/Noesi, Bentances, Romine, & Hiroyuki Nakajima for John Danks and Gordon Beckham?

    I know, my trade proposal sucks.

    • http://YankeeFever Jim Penney

      Your crazy….Giving up all those players for them.