Report: Yankees offered Nakajima $1M

Scouting Phil Hughes
Open Thread: Alfonso Soriano

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees offered Hiroyuki Nakajima approximately $1M, but the more serious issue was his role. When the announcement was made that the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, we learned that they only offered him a one-year contract. A statement issued by Nakajima’s agent makes it sound like they believe he should be a starter, but apparently no MLB club agrees with that given the lack of bids.

A report from Sponichi (translated) reiterates that Nakajima was okay with the money, but he wanted to become a free agent after the one-year deal while the Yankees wanted to retain his rights for six years like every other player. As a courtesy, MLB typically allows foreign veteran players to be treated as true free agents rather than players with zero service time. Either way, what’s done is done. Nakajima will go back to Japan and the Yankees will look for another bench player elsewhere.

Scouting Phil Hughes
Open Thread: Alfonso Soriano
  • FIPster Doofus

    I’m glad the book is closed on this “drama.” The whole thing was boring.

    • Steve (different one)

      Yes, most ink spilled over a UTI ever…

      I understand both sides. Nakajima was a star in Japan so he logically sees himself as a starter. The Yankees have 2 first ballot Hofers and an MVP candidate around their infield and see him as a backup. Wasn’t meant to be. Sucks for Nakajima that no one else made a bid for him (SF I am looking your way….)

    • CJ

      This was very dramatic. Handled poorly from the start. The explanation doesn’t add up. Should never have bid.

      • Steve (different one)

        In your opinion.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Repeating the same illogical thought over and over again until it sounds completely rational has been a technique used by politicians for years. We’ll all be agreeing with CJ by March. :)

          • RetroRob

            My mind will never be that far gone.

          • CJ

            This is logical?
            They wanted him for 6 years but not for 1.

            • Steve (different one)

              Do you really not grasp the difference between controlling his rights and guaranteeing more years?

      • Landry

        I guess we have no choice but to agree with you since you’re smarter than the entire front office.

  • Ed

    As a courtesy, MLB typically allows foreign veteran players to be treated as true free agents rather than players with zero service time.

    You’ve mentioned that a few times. I was wondering if you knew when they started doing that.

    Back when Hideki Matsui came over, he negotiated a clause in his contract that required the Yankees to release him at the end of it if they didn’t sign him to an extension first. Back then it was common for the bigger name Japanese players to ask for a clause like that. It was a big deal, because at the time the CBA said a team wasn’t allowed to resign players they released until May 1st. I had always assumed that the rules were still the same, but less emphasis was put on it due to the removal of restrictions on re-signing your former players.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Just to be clear-are the Yankees out the posting fee or does that only get paid if the player signs?

    • 28 this year

      no money is transferred either way.

    • gageagainstthemachine

      only gets paid to the Japanese club if they sign the player…the yanks get their posting bid back…although I wonder if the bid $$ in these Japanese postings actually gets paid by the MLB club up front, or if it’s just a fee that has to eventually go to the Japanese club once the player actually gets signed. Seems like they would just finalize everything (both posting fee and contract) upon the player actually signing. Then again, I could be wrong and they may physically exchange money and then have to physically return the money to the MLB team if the player isn’t signed…hmmmm…

  • Jason

    did this guy or his agents actually think the Yankees would open up a starting infield spot for him? They do realize who is in the Yankees’ infield right? Maybe the whole time they (Nakajima’s agents) were thinking sign-and-trade…

    • Steve (different one)

      No, they weren’t thinking that, but they could only negotiate with one team. Here is the lengthy explanation from him agent:

      His agent, Greg Genske, issued this statement Saturday:

      “Nakajima has been one of the best, most highly regarded position players in Japan over the past several years, combining Gold Glove defense at shortstop with the ability to hit for power, hit for average and steal bases. At 29 years old, he is ready to begin a career in the Major Leagues. Unfortunately, he is going to have to wait a year.
      “Under the posting system, Nakajima was permitted to negotiate only with the New York Yankees. While the Yankees are obviously a tremendous franchise and Nakajima was honored by their interest, the Yankees have All-Stars at every infield position, and from the outset it seemed dubious that they would have a role for him commensurate with his abilities and goals.
      “Out of respect for the Yankees and for the process, we engaged in discussions, but it became clear that this was not a good fit at this stage of his career. Nakajima’s decision had nothing to do with money; he just didn’t feel that he would be using his abilities to the fullest and helping his club to the maximum extent possible in the role that the Yankees envisioned for him.
      “It is unfortunate that Nakajima could not discuss opportunities with major league clubs having more suitable roles available, but that time will come. Nakajima is grateful to the Seibu Lions for posting him and to the New York Yankees for their interest.”

  • 42isNotMortal

    What a waste of a month for 75 ABs. Hopefully Chavez and A-Rod can plan their injuries not to overlap.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    I still couldn’t care less. They negotiated with a guy who they didn’t expect to win the bid on. It didn’t work out. I wish Nakajima the best.

  • RetroRob

    I’m pretty sure there are teams that would give him a shot at starting, but these negotiations illustrates how the posting process really doesn’t help MLB teams or the players trying to come to MLB. The only party that benefits is the Japanese club.

    There are enough questions about Nakajima’s defense (at 29 in Japan, he rated lower than Derek Jeter at 37 in MLB) that many teams didn’t want to put in a high posting fee. None did, the Yankees included. He’ll get more targeted interest next year when teams can negotiate directly without the posting fee and the knowledge that both sides have a legitimate interest in the other.

  • OldYanksFan

    It’s kinda obvious the Yankees were trying to steal him.
    1 yr only?
    $1m only?
    Yet maintain control for 6 years?

    This is not an offer you make if you really want a player.
    I guess the Yanks hoped he would sign (being ‘honor bound’), and if he turned out to be decent, would have been either a very cheap UIF or a decent trade piece.

    Frankly, I though the guy could be decent. The SS market these days isn’t great, and the UIF market even worse. I do think the Yanks offer was a tad insulting, so maybe they just wanted their $2m back.