Bidding for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima ends Friday

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As expected, Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima has been posted by the Seibu Lions and the bidding is open until Friday.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka flopping with the Twins may have further soured MLB teams on Japanese middle infielders, but Nakajima is a longtime star in Japan who’ll no doubt still draw interest from multiple teams.

Last offseason Minnesota paid $15 million for Nishioka, including the posting fee and three-year contract. At the time he was a 26-year-old Gold Glove winner coming off a batting title, but his defense proved suspect and his power was non-existent. Nakajima is 29-year-old Gold Glove winner and career .300 hitter, but has also averaged 20 homers per season during the past four years.

Teams in need of immediate shortstop help but priced out of the market for Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins might take a chance on Nakajima, particularly since the total commitment needed to acquire him might be less than it took the Pirates to sign Clint Barmes last week.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.