Norichika Aoki took a big pay cut to leave Japan for Brewers

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For most Japanese players coming to America the amount a team bids to secure their exclusive negotiating rights through the posting process ends up being similar to the amount they sign for during the 30-day window.

For instance, the Rangers bid $51.7 million for Yu Darvish and then signed him to a six-year, $60 million deal yesterday.

Norichika Aoki’s situation played out similarly, as the Brewers bid $2.5 million to secure the 30-year-old outfielder’s rights and then inked him to a two-year deal worth $2.25 million plus incentives.

According to the Associated Press he’s taking a big pay cut to play in the majors, as Aoki earned $4.2 million in Japan last season. Milwaukee will pay him $1 million this season and $1.25 million in 2013, with a team option for 2014. If the option is picked up and he reaches every possible incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Aoki would get $8.6 million for three years.

In other words he’s being paid like a bench player, which is the role Aoki will likely fill once the Brewers are at full strength in the outfield. However, if Ryan Braun ends up serving his 50-game suspension Aoki will get a chance to play regularly as his replacement in left field.

 

Report: Hanley Ramirez “eyed” in federal and state investigation

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Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:

“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”

McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”

Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.

“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.

The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.