As expected, the Yankees have failed to reach an agreement with Hiroyuki Nakajima after bidding $2 million for exclusive negotiating rights to the Japanese infielder.
Technically their 30-day window to sign Nakajima doesn’t close until tomorrow, but there’s no time for him to fly to New York to undergo a physical exam anyway and general manager Brian Cashman issued a statement ruling out a deal.
In failing to sign Nakajima the Yankees will be refunded the $2 million posting fee. Nakajima is a career .302 hitter in Japan who batted .297 with 16 homers and 21 steals last season, but expectations for his transition to the majors were very modest and he projected as a utility man.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.