Oakland A’s to Sign Japanese Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima
The A’s have reportedly reached agreement with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, formerly of the Seibu Lions, on a two-year contract for $6.5 million with a club option for a third year at $5.5 million. In my opinion, this is a great signing for the A’s.
There is some question as to whether Nakajima’s defense is good enough for him to play shortstop at the major league level on a regular basis. However, Nakajima sure looks like a major league hitter, and, as a player who can play 2B, 3B and SS as needed, he’s a tremendous bargain at this price.
Nakajima made approximately $3.64 million playing in Japan in 2012, so it pretty much goes without saying that he could have obtained as large a contract from an NPB team if he had elected to stay in Japan. Assuming he plays well in 2013 and 2014, his 2015 club option is little more than he might make in Japan, but what Nakajima is really hoping is that he’ll be successful in the U.S. and get his big pay-day on his next contract after the 2015 season.
The A’s lost no time in getting an agreement with Nakajima once Stephen Drew reached a one-year $9.5 million deal with the Red Sox. The A’s would have preferred to re-sign Drew but weren’t willing to top the Red Sox offer.
Last year’s risky signing of Yoenis Cespedes turned out to be a tremendous bargain for the A’s when Cespedes lived up to the hype and made good. The Nakajima signing could turn out to be nearly as good, if things break right for the A’s and Nakajima. We’ll have to wait and see, just like we did with Cespedes.