Brewers sign Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki

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UPDATE: Aoki and the Brewers have agreed to a two-year deal with an option for 2014.

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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.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.