UPDATE: We can scratch at least one team off the list. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said yesterday that he was not submitting a bid on Nakajima.
10:30 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Japanese media report that at least one MLB team has submitted a bid on infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima.
The window for teams to submit bids on Nakajima expired yesterday. According to Newman, the Seibu Lions are expected to accept the highest bid regardless of the amount. In turn, the team with the winning bid will be given an exclusive 30-day negotiating period to reach agreement on a contract.
Nakajima, 29, batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 2011 in what was a down year for offense in NPB. He is a .302 career hitter in Japan and has surpassed at least 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each of the last four seasons.
It’s not known who may have submitted a bid, but a Sanspo report earlier this week indicated that the Brewers intended to so. And that makes some sense, since they have a void at shortstop right now. However, some believe Nakajima may be better suited to play second base in MLB.
Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.
Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.
Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.