No, you cannot have Hiroyuki Nakajima

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It’s a really thin market for middle infielders this winter. So thin that, if your team is in need of a shortstop, you may have come across the name Hiroyuki Nakajima on various message boards, blogs and other, less-reputable parts of the Internet where rumors and speculation flow thick.  Nakajima plays for the Seibu Lions, he’s 28, he hits for power and gets on base and he reportedly wants to play in the United States.

But sorry, folks! Seibu has denied his request to be posted, which is the mechanism by which major league teams can pay for the privilege of negotiating with him. You’ll have to spend some time over at the excellent NPB Tracker to understand why this is. My guess, though: shortstops who can hit .300+ with power are just as rare in Japan as they are over here, and the Lions don’t want to part with him.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.