The New York Yankees have won the negotiating rights to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, and now have 30 days to sign the four-time Japanese all-star to a contract.
Reports indicate that the Yankees won the negotiating rights with a bid of about $2 million, and that they could use Nakajima as a utility infielder.
Predicting how Japanese players will translate to Major League Baseball is always risky.
MLB.com shows that Nakajima batted .314 (158-for-503) last season with 20 home runs and 93 RBIs, with 15 stolen bases in 130 games.
Young Eduardo Nunez filled the utility infielder role for the Yankees in 2011. He hit well, batting a respectable .265, but his fielding was questionable as he committed 14 errors and had a fielding percentage of just .924 in part-time duty.
Nunez, though, is often asked about when teams talk to the Yankees about trade possibilities. Acquiring Nakajima could put the Yankees in a position to include Nunez in a deal for a starting pitcher.