MLB teams in need of a shortstop but without the resources to go after Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins will have another intriguing option, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Hiroyuki Nakajima will be posted by his team in Japan.
Nakajima has long been a star in Japan, but the history of Japanese hitters–and infielders, in particular–coming to MLB is a mixed bag.
Last offseason the Twins paid $15 million for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a 26-year-old Gold Glove-winning shortstop who’d just won a batting title in Japan, and he was a massive flop. Nishioka’s lack of power was one of his biggest issues and Nakajima is a much different type of hitter, averaging 20 homers during the past four seasons while hitting above .300 for his career.
However, he’s coming off a mediocre year in which he slugged just .433, so the 29-year-old seems unlikely to create a significant bidding war. Via the posting process MLB teams submit bids for exclusive negotiating rights and then must work out a separate contract with the player, getting a refund on the bid if they can’t agree to a deal.
Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.
Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.