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.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.