Report: Yankees unlikely to sign Hiroyuki Nakajima

Why I can't hate the A.J. Burnett contract
Open Thread: Octavio Dotel

Via Marc Carig and Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees and Hiroyuki Nakajima are unlikely to agree to a contract prior to Friday’s 5pm ET deadline. He needs to pass a physical before then, so time is running out. The Yankees see Nakajima as a bench player and Carig says they insist on paying him as such. If the two sides can’t reach a deal, the Yankees won’t have to pay the $2.5M posting fee and Nakajima will return to Japan. He’ll be able to become an international free agent next offseason.

Why I can't hate the A.J. Burnett contract
Open Thread: Octavio Dotel
  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    Cashman: “You mean we actually had the highest bid?”
    Friend: “Yup.”
    Cashman: “You mean Texas didn’t bid, like, A THOUSAND TIMES MORE?!”
    Friend: “Nope.”
    Cashman: “I actually have to go talk to this dude now?”
    Friend: “Yup.”
    Cashman: “Fuck.”

    In all seriousness, this feels like a situation where the team hoped to get a solid bench option for not much, and it didn’t work out. I really can’t bring myself to care all that much.

    • BK2ATL

      I laughed.

      That conversation sounds EXACTLY like what’s playing out.

      Re: the bench. We signed Andruw. We have Nunez. Probably either Montero will be the backup C, or Cervelli will be carried. I guess that last piece would be Chavez, if not then Laird?

    • CJ

      Friend: “Dick, you’re the one who fucking bid on him”
      Cashman: “yeah but not at that price”
      Friend: “Brian, enough with the ‘not at that price’ bullshit? You named the price”
      Cashman: “yeah definitely not at that price”

      • Need Pitching

        you realize posting fee and contract price are 2 different things right??? or is that concept beyond your comprehension??

        • CJ

          you realize I was responding to this

          Cashman: “I actually have to go talk to this dude now?”


          Bottom line is he should not have submit a bid.

          • Need Pitching

            Why not??? It hurts nothing. He may have wanted Nakajima if he was willing to take a reasonable (in Cash’s eyes) contract. If he accepts that contract, he gets his player, if Nakajima refuses, nothing is lost. Submitting a bid doesn’t hurt anything at all. Why not take a shot at getting a quality reserve at a reasonable price?

            • Plank

              What price could Cashman have had in his head that would justify a 2.5MM bid?

              If he wants to pay him like a backup, then even 500K/year for a few years plus the posting fee makes him cost more than a utility guy.

              Maybe Cash likes him better than a utility guy. Either that, the bid makes no sense, or they were blocking him from another team.

              • Need Pitching

                “If he wants to pay him like a backup, then even 500K/year for a few years plus the posting fee makes him cost more than a utility guy.”

                Not necessarily, Willie Bloomquist got 2 years $3.8M, John McDonald got 2 years, 3M. If they valued him as a utility guy slightly better than a Bloomquist or McDonald, a 3 year/ $3M contract in addition to the posting fee would be entirely reasonable, especially considering the luxury tax free posting fee. For example, Bloomquist for the Yankees would have cost just under 5M over 2 years (2.5M/year) including luxury tax. Nakajima with a 2.5M and post and 3M/3year contract would cost the Yankees 6.92M over 3 years including the luxury tax (2.3M/year). There was a potential deal that makes sense for the Yankees, but it’s at a level of pay that Nakajima is unlikely to accept.

                • Plank

                  Good point.

                  I still think Cashman should have considered Nakajima’s current salary, seen that it’s higher than Cashman wanted to pay, and just not submitted a bid.

                  Although a long shot, it’s possible Nakajima could have not gotten any bids, been allowed to pursue a MLB job by his NPB team, and signed with the Yankees for the price Cashman wanted and Nakajima wanted.

                  Again, unlikely, but I think more likely than him signing for significantly less than he’s making currently in Japan, which seems to be what Cashman is asking him to do.

                  • Need Pitching

                    Yeah, I’m guessing Cash wasn’t really counting on signing him (or even winning the posting) but liked him just enough to take a shot in the dark that he really wanted to come to the US and would be willing to take a pay cut to do so.
                    I’m not sure why his NPB team would let him leave if they weren’t getting a posting fee out of it, but I guess that could happen.

            • CJ

              This is not Storage Wars.
              There is professionalism and etiquette to these transactions. It involves Japanese professional players and team owners.
              The Darvish bid was a joke too. Stay out of the bidding if you’re not seriously interested.
              I’m tired of the Cashman “not at that price” song. The market sets the price.
              I’m guessing he’s pissed off a few GM’s offering horrible deals. Why else do why hear “Cubs want Montero and Banuelos for Garza” that’s not a serious proposal, it may be other teams saying that’s how far Cashman is off in his proposal.

          • Urban

            No, he should have submitted a bid he was comfortable with because if he won it just might increase his options. He won, they negotiated, and it appears the two sides can’t come to an agreement. Nothing lost beyond causing you personal pain.

            You assume failure up front and therefore decide not to try.

  • thenamestsam

    I’m not really surprised. He and Nunez never made much sense to me as a bench combo because they have too many similar skills. Both are line drive, righty hitting guys with decent speed and less than stellar defensive reputations. I’d rather have the second reserve infielder be more a corner infielder or a 4 corners guy who could provide a little more pop than Nunez so that they’d be more complimentary, or even a left-handed hitter.

    Given that they don’t make a lot of sense together it was hard for me to see the Yankees offering him anything more than a middling bench salary unless they could find a trade partner for either Nuney or Naki (since Joe G. never got to do it, I will). Who has the inside lane on that second infield spot now? Laird? Chavez? Vasquez? Someone else outside the organization?

  • dkidd

    does this mean nunez isn’t going anywhere?

    • Plank

      I would imagine so.

  • Plank

    Now he’ll be available next season or the following season to battle the Mendoza line in Seattle.

    • dkidd

      in seattle, “battle the Mendoza line” = “hit clean-up”

      • Peter R

        Zing! lol

  • Rainbow Connection

    I hope Nunez is practicing his grounders and throwing.

  • Urban

    This is what I expected to happen. Both sides do have an interest in the other, but the fit (and price) just isn’t right. There’s no incentive for either side to get a deal done. Nakajima can make more money by staying in Japan this season and then come to the U.S. next year and sign with the team of his choice. The Yankees, meanwhile, will only pay him as a reserve. Bad fit.

  • CJ

    Stay classy, Brian Cashman!

    • Landry

      Keep your head up your ass, CJ!

  • Mark in VT

    It’s too bad they aren’t signing and then trading him. You never know who they could’ve gotten for him. (Probably just AAA fodder). But every little bit helps.

    • Plank

      I think the 2.5MM posting fee could be better used on IFAs if improving the farm was their goal with bidding on Nakajima.

      That said, this could still just be a negotiating tactic. The deadline hasn’t passed. He could still be a Yankee.

      • Urban

        No big loss. Supposedly fielding wasn’t his greatest strength, and then asking him to learn MLB, while becoming a part-time player for the first time, and having him play new positions, just didn’t seem like the best idea.

        That said, you’re right, this could be one last negotiating tactic to see if he’ll reduce him price. Getting the physical done by Friday, though, is an issue considering how long it takes to fly from Japan and we are only hours away from Thursday. So unless he’s actually already on the ground in the U.S. and hasn’t told anyway, time is running out rapidly.

        • Plank

          Yeah, I think it’s not going to happen.

          I’m sure the Yankees could find a doctor they trust in Japan to do the physical if it got that far. Again, I don’t think it will happen, I just don’t think that the logistical issue of where to get the physical done will be any kind of hindrance.

  • Dammit

    I’m irrationally disappointed.

  • dan gen

    we r a small market team,dont u know…

    • Need Pitching

      yeah, because only small market teams don’t overpay for backup backup infielders that they don’t really need

      • dan gen

        by the way we dont sign pitching either……………

  • leo

    any way we sign and trade this guy?

  • PiraPira

    According to some Japan online news sites, Nakajima already left to New York today in a hurry.

    Now it’s getting interesting. Why go to New York if they can’t agree to a contract. He can just ask his USA agent to say no.

    Probably Cashman say something like ‘ Look all the girls Jeter or A-Rod get everyday. If you are a Yankee no girls can resist you. ‘ :D

  • Now Batting

    This got me thinking about what stops a team from making an outrageously high bid for players they have no intention of signing just to block other teams from getting them.