In bidding $2 million for exclusive negotiating rights to Hiroyuki Nakajima the Yankees were given a 30-day window in which to work out a contract with the Japanese infielder.
The deadline is January 6, so as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes: “One way or the other, Nakajima will be resolved next week.”
New York doesn’t have much of a role to offer Nakajima, but expectations for his performance are very low and he might fit best as a utility man anyway. There’s also been some speculation that they could work out a sign-and-trade with another team.
Hoch suggests that the Yankees are likely to put talks with Eric Chavez and other infielders on hold until they have an answer on Nakajima.
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.