UPDATE: Aoki and the Brewers have agreed to a two-year deal with an option for 2014.
With two hours remaining until the deadline to sign Norichika Aoki general manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Brewers are “close” to a deal with the Japanese outfielder.
Milwaukee got a 30-day window in which to negotiate with Aoki after bidding $2.5 million for his exclusive rights last month and put him through a private workout in Arizona recently.
Based on previous deals with Japanese players through the posting process Aoki seems likely to get around $2-3 million from the Brewers, although that could change depending on the length of the contract.
There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.
The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.
All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.
After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
Here’s today’s schedule: