Nori Aoki has agreed to a three-year contract with with the Yakult Swallows of the NPB. He’ll make $9.19 million over that span. He played the first eight seasons of his career with Yakult as well.
Probably a smart deal for Aoki who, despite proving himself in Major League Baseball over the past six seasons with a .285/.350/.387 line, was not getting much interest on the free agent market and likely would’ve had to settle for a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Even if he made a team on such a deal he’d likely make only around a million bucks and now he’s guaranteed more than triple that for the next three years.
Aoki, who is 36, played over 758 games in his big league career in stints with the Brewers, where he had his most success, and th Royals, Mariners, Giants, Astros, Mets, and Blue Jays.
The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.
The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.
Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.
Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.