According to FOX Sports insider Ken Rosenthal, the Oakland Athletics will be meeting with the agents of Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, but they could also acquire a shortstop via a trade. The name that Rosenthal specifically mentions in the tweet is recently acquired Miami Marlins SS Yunel Escobar, and the A’s are also taking a hard look at free agent Stephen Drew.
The 30-year-old posted a very good .382 OBP for the Seibu Lions this past season, and he was almost a Major Leaguer in the 2012 season. Nakajima was in heavy talks with the New York Yankees last winter, but neither side could get anything going. However, he wasn’t a free agent last year and was on the posting block, so that was the main reason why neither side could get anything going.
Oakland has always had interest in Nakajima, and their Bay Area counterparts in San Francisco have also been rumored as a team interested in acquiring the former Lions SS. The Giants rivals in the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks, could also replace the departured Stephen Drew with the veteran shortstop.
At this point in time, it seems like the A’s have the most interest in him so today’s visit with Nakajima’s agents will be crucial for the Athletics and for the MLB. It will be interesting to see what Nakajima’s asking price is, but I would be wary about negotiating for an unproven shortstop at 30. This is a real boom-or-bust proposition, but I’m sure every team interested is aware of the risks involved.
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