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.
Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.
Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.
The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.
It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.
The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.