Hiroyuki Nakajima’s agent exploring sign-and-trade


According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the agent for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima has approached the Yankees’ decision-makers about their interest in executing a sign-and-trade.

It’s a strategy that is seen more often in the NBA than MLB, but it might make sense in this case.

The Yankees won the rights to Nakajima earlier this month with a $2 million posting fee, but they can’t offer him much in the way of playing time next season and probably can’t even guarantee him a spot on the Opening Day roster. If another big league club steps forward with interest in the 29-year-old, the Yankees could work out a quick contract and then ship him off to a new organization.

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.

If no other big league team wants him, Nakajima will likely head back to his native Japan.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.