UPDATE II: Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston was told by a Red Sox official that they did not post a bid for Nakajima. That makes three denials, if you include the Giants and Brewers. Does anybody want this guy? We’ll soon find out.
UPDATE: Nothing confirmed yet, but Sponichi indicates that the Red Sox may have the top bid for Nakajima. We should know officially within the next 24 hours.
12:15 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along word from the Japanese media that the Seibu Lions will accept the highest bid for Hiroyuki Nakajima and that an official announcement is expected tomorrow.
If the highest bid is indeed accepted, the winning team will be granted an exclusive 30-day negotiating window to agree on a contract.
No word on who may have submitted a bid, but the Giants and Brewers have been ruled out. Mets manager Terry Collins hinted last night that he would love to have Nakajima in his lineup, though that was likely some wishful thinking on his part after losing shortstop Jose Reyes to the Marlins.
Nakajima, a 29-year-old shortstop, 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. He batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases this past season.
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.