Three days into the Winter Meetings, we finally have some actual news. First we learned that the club was willing to eat a bunch of money to trade A.J. Burnett, then we found out that they’d won the bidding for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The latter certainly came as a surprise, and I’m not sure the Yankees were confident they’d win with a $2M bid. Here’s a little more on the 29-year-old, courtesy of Baseball America (subs. req’d)…
According to one Pacific Rim observer, Nakajima does not have any standout carrying tools but possesses a well-rounded package. He has the range to stick at shortstop but his fringy arm will most likely force a shift to the other side of the bag. “To me, he’s a second basemen over here. He gets on base, grinds out at-bats, and plays solid defense but there will not a be a lot of home runs or stolen bases … I don’t think he is a high impact guy.”
The whole “grinding out at-bats” thing is Yankees 101, so that right there is part of the reason they liked him enough to bid. The fact that no other club topped $2M also gives you a pretty good idea that everyone expects him to be a bench guy, and Brian Cashman said today they view him as a backup only. We’ll see what happens now, the two sides have 30 days to hammer out a contract. I suspect that in two weeks we’ll hear they haven’t had any talks whatsoever, then two weeks after that they’ll get serious. That’s how these things tend to go.
Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. None of the local hockey clubs are in action, so you folks are pretty much on your own. Talk about anything you like (four years for Mark Buehrle!), it’s all good.