UPDATE: We can scratch at least one team off the list. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said yesterday that he was not submitting a bid on Nakajima.
10:30 PM: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Japanese media report that at least one MLB team has submitted a bid on infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima.
The window for teams to submit bids on Nakajima expired yesterday. According to Newman, the Seibu Lions are expected to accept the highest bid regardless of the amount. In turn, the team with the winning bid will be given an exclusive 30-day negotiating period to reach agreement on a contract.
Nakajima, 29, batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 2011 in what was a down year for offense in NPB. He is a .302 career hitter in Japan and has surpassed at least 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each of the last four seasons.
It’s not known who may have submitted a bid, but a Sanspo report earlier this week indicated that the Brewers intended to so. And that makes some sense, since they have a void at shortstop right now. However, some believe Nakajima may be better suited to play second base in MLB.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.