Major League Baseball announced this morning that the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League have posted shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. Major league teams have until 5 p.m. Eastern time Friday to submit their bids for Nakajima.
Nakajima was drafted by the Lions in 2001, and the 29-year-old became the club’s everyday shortstop in 2004. Over his four seasons in the Pacific League, Nakajima has maintained a career line of .313/.389/.491.
While Nakajima’s shown the ability to hit for a high average in Japan, the shortstop has also posted impressive power numbers for a shortstop. From 2008-2010, Nakajima hit at least 20 home runs and 31 doubles per season.
In 2011, Nakajima finished the year hitting at a clip of .297/.354/.433 with 27 doubles, 16 home runs and 100 RBI’s for the Lions.
You may remember Nakajima from the 2009 World Baseball Classic. A member of the Japan’s championship squad, Nakajima hit .364/.500/.545 over the WBC’s seven games.
According to CBSsports.com, Nakajima requested that the Lions post him last season but the club refused. Now, a year later, Nakajima’s name will enter the posting system.
Whichever team submits the highest bid will win the rights to negotiate with Nakajima. The Lions have not set a minimum amount for the winning bid, indicating that they will accept any offer submitted.
Japanese infielders that make the jump to Major League Baseball tend to end up somewhere other than shortstop. Last winter the Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka to be their everyday shortstop. This didn’t work out well for Minnesota, as Nishioka only managed an OPS of .527 and 59 starts at short. This winter the Twins went out and signed Jamey Carroll to be their everyday shortstop which will push Nishioka to second.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.