The Yankees won exclusive negotiating rights to Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. But they’re not confident that an agreement will be reached.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Nakajima might return to Japan for another year because he doesn’t stand to strike it rich in the major leagues.
The Yankees’ winning posting bid was only worth a total of $2 million and they’re unlikely to offer the 29-year-old a lucrative big league contract because he’s being viewed merely as a potential utility infielder.
Nakajima posted a .297/.354/.433 batting line with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases this past season for the Seibu Lions. He is a .302 career hitter in Nippon Professional Baseball.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.