Brewers win exclusive negotiating rights for Norichika Aoki with $2.5 million posting fee

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UPDATE, 7:45 PM: The Brewers had the $2.5 million winning bid, according to Yanagita, and now have 30 days to work out a major league contract.

8:51 AM: Yasuko Yanagita of Japanese newspaper Hochi Shimbun and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports are both hearing that the Yakult Swallows have accepted a $2.5 million posting fee for outfielder Norichika Aoki.

It is not known which MLB team made the winning bid, but once it is officially announced, they will be given an exclusive 30-day negotiating window to work out a contract.

Aoki, who turns 30 next month, has a .329 batting average over eight seasons in Japan and is a three-time Central League batting champion. However, the speedy center fielder batted a career-low .292 and hit just four home runs this past season in what was a down year for offense in Nippon Professional Baseball.

We’ll have to wait to find out the identity of the winning team, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported last week that the Nationals could target Aoki as an alternative for center field after failing to land B.J. Upton or Denard Span in potential trades.

Athletics release Santiago Casilla

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have released reliever Santiago Casilla. The club had designated him for assignment on Saturday.

Casilla, 37, posted a 3.16 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 20 walks in 31 1/3 innings of relief for the A’s in the first half. The ERA is certainly not bad, but the strikeout and walk rates are subpar and point to a pitcher who won’t be successful going forward without changing. Additionally, Casilla’s fastball velocity, at 92.9 MPH on average, is the lowest of his career.

Casilla is owed the remainder of his $5.5 million salary for the 2018 season. If he should sign elsewhere, the A’s would be on the hook for the remainder minus the prorated major league minimum salary.