Update: Yankees, Nakajima still far apart in talks


Monday: Heyman issued a correction; the deadline is Friday, not Tuesday. I knew it was later in the week, that made more sense based on when the winning bid was announced.

Sunday: Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Hiroyuki Nakajima are still far apart in their contract talks. The CBS Sports scribe says the deadline to get a deal worked out is Tuesday, not later in the week like I’d assumed. The Yankees won the infielder’s negotiating rights with a $2.5M bid in early-December.

Andruw Jones agreed to terms on Friday, just two days after we heard the two sides weren’t close to a deal. So yeah, this stuff can come together quickly. Nakajima is apparently “highly motivated” to play in MLB next season, and his agent even broached the idea of a sign-and-trade a few weeks ago. The Yankees haven’t discussed the idea with anyone though. I’m guessing he’ll sign for three years and about $7.5M, and not be traded before the season. Very curious to see how this whole thing plays out.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. CMP says:

    Don’t understand why the newly cost conscious Yankees are gonna want to waste $2.5 million per year on a utility infielder when they already have Nunez for a few hundred thousand unless they’re trading Nunez.

    Cashman could get himself another LOOGY for with the money he’d save.

  2. CJ says:

    How many teams have won a bid for a Japanese player and failed to workout a contract? It is not exactly the honorable gentleman’s move.

    • 28 this year says:

      I think the A’s were the first last year.

      • CJ says:

        It’s not like Billy beane worries about people thinking he’s a douche. Did the a’s sign him this year or negotiate with him?

        • FIPster Doofus says:


          The player in question, Hisashi Iwakuma, is a free agent right now; he’s allegedly about to sign with Seattle.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Considering the Yankees made the only bid, I don’t believe “honorable” applies here. Not the same as submitting a bid just to block another team. No one else wanted him, the Yankees have the leverage.

      • RetroRob says:

        Who reported the Yankees made the only bid? How would that even been known? I’m not saying it’s not true, but it’s possible a few teams submitted bids below the Yankees bid. There are teams that would certainly have an interest in his services, but maybe they weren’t willing to pay what they thought would be a substantially higher posting fee.

  3. JonS says:

    So you Mike, you do expect them to sign Nakijima?

  4. Jericho Spade says:

    3 years at $2.5 per for a utility player with ZERO leverage if he is “dying” to play in MLB. Not bloody likely.

    2 years 3 M and call it a day, maybe some incentives tied to playing time.

    • JohnnyC says:

      He made $3.6 million dollars in 2011 (280 million yen). Even 2.5 per would be a real sacrifice on his part. I don’t see how it makes sense for him to sign.

      • Jericho Spade says:

        That’s fine then… but in the MLB all reports state that the Yanks view him as a UTIL player and that does not warrant a high salary. Plus, he is not a free agent and cannot leverage any other team against the Yankees.

        If he wants to play in the MLB, it is essentially a take it or leave it offer, as long as it is a representative offer.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          The Yankees aren’t likely to pay him more than they think he’s worth. If they pay him $2.5 million per… They pretty much have to feel he’s worth that much or more.

          He does have leverage… Stay in Japan and make more money.

          He’s got a chance at being an MLB SS. That’s a very rare and valuable commodity. $2.5 mill per is not a big salary. LOOGYs get twice that. It’s speculative, but that’s what personnel management is all about.

  5. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    I would like to know what the going price is for utility infielders (average annual salary) because I believe that it must be below 2.5 million.

    • CP says:

      There was a post a couple of weeks ago that looked at what other utility infielders got this year. I think it was focused on the value of Nunez, but it applies here too. If I remember correctly, they were typically going for about $3M per season on a multi year deal.

      • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

        Thanks CP. Even if they are going for 3M per annum, Nakajima has not yet played in the majors and thus, he should not be getting that type of money yet. It is not the same, say, if he was the top player in Japan where he would be getting top salary.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I don’t see why he shouldn’t get market value. You’re taking a risk he’s worse than expected, but you also have a chance that he’s better then expected.

  6. CJ says:

    Mike, thoughts on Sickels prospect list? Full review coming soon?

  7. Dammit says:

    The Yankees offered 2/$3m but his agent came back with “Hiroyuki Nakajima is not Japanese for ‘Nick Punto’!”

  8. RetroRob says:

    I’m strangely fascinated by this potential deal, not because of what I think Nakajima might deliver, but more so because I have this feeling neither side really wants the other. Sure, Nakajima seems to want to come stateside and play in MLB, and playing for the Yankees would be cool, but he wants to be a starter, but the Yankees don’t have spot for him as a starter, and he can probably make more by continuing to play in Japan for another year and then becoming an unrestricted free agent where he gets to pick his team, one that will allow him to start. Meanwhile, the Yankees would no doubt like to add him as a reserve and for depth, but they’ll only want to spend so much money.

    In other words, it seems like neither side has enough incentive to make a deal happen, yet both need to pretend they’re serious. I just don’t see it happening…which means it will.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      That neither side wants the other, I have to agree with. (pardon the Joda talk). It seems as if the Yankees bid but were not expecting to win. Now that they have won they don’t know what to do.

  9. Monteroisdinero says:

    Nunez is the guy. Keep him and have him play SS once a week AND 3B once a week. Give our old HoF’ers a day off-a complete day/no DH. Montero DH’s/hits/catches EVERY day if healthy.

    It will pay off in Aug and Sept and hopefully the postseason.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      I agree. Don’t trade Nunez. At the same time. I’d like to state that I have changed my mind about Nakajima. If Nick Punto can get 3M per then Nakajima can get the same. I mean, he cannot be as futile as Punto and he is younger than Chavez.

    • MannyGeee says:

      I hate that ppl hate Nunez as much as they do. He is LITERALLY one throwing arm away from starting for 3/4 of the teams in the league.

      That said, if Nakajima is another Tsuyoshi Nishioka for less Eric Chavez money, I will not say no to that.

      Nakajima is a lottery ticket. You have to treat him as such

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