Chiba Lotte Marines to announce winning bid for infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Friday

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According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker the Chiba Lotte Marines have received at least one acceptable bid for infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka and have scheduled a press conference for Friday to announce the winning MLB team.

Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and San Diego are among the teams said to be interested in Nishioka, but various reports have pegged Minnesota as the surprising front-runners for the switch-hitting batting champion whose 206 hits this season were the most since Ichiro Suzuki in 1996.

Once the top bid is announced the winning team will have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Nishioka, at which point the posting fee will be refunded if the two sides can’t come to an agreement. Nishioka batted .346 with 22 steals this season, but his track record includes far less impressive production and lots of injuries, and there are some questions about whether he has the arm strength to be an everyday shortstop.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.