Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011

Brewers win rights to negotiate with Japanese OF Aoki

By Nicole
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I'll admit right off the bat that I'm not positive of the details of what it takes to sign a Japanese player. I do know that you bid for the right to negotiate with them and that bid would go to his parent club in Japan.

What I'm not clear on is whether or not we pay the fee if we do not sign Aoki.

The idea is that the MLB cannot just poach players from the Japanese league - widely considered the next-best league in the world after the MLB.

The Brewers bid $2.5 million for the right to negotiate with Aoki.

This story is just one more reason to never believe anything Doug Melvin says when it comes to trades, moves, the Hot Stove and general roster nonsene.

Earlier this off-season, Japanese free-agent shortstop Hiroyuki Nagajima was posted by his Japanese team and Melvin came out strongly against bidding on Nagajima, despite the teams desperate need at SS.

Specifically, Melvin said he has a hard time bidding on a player he's never seen. (Ignore the fact that its 2011 and theres no way he hasn't seen multiple rolls of film on every eligible foreign player).

He's also the same guy who said he had no interest in getting Nyjer Morgan last season, just weeks before signing him. Either way, winning the rights to negotiate with Aoki doesn't mean much, yet.

It's also an interesting move because Melvin has talked about the team's lack of money. Here they're spending $2.5 million before even talking about a contract with Aoki.

Those who know these sorts of things say Aoki is the best hitter to come out of Japan since Ichiro. Of course, he's 30 and had a down year last year. However, that down year was still .292/.358/.360. However, the year prior, he'd hit .358/.435/.509. So its bad news good news bad news?I'm not sure.

Aoki projects as a LF because he doesn't have a very strong arm. Clearly the Brewers have Braun at LF, so maybe this is a way to still have some power in the lineup if Braun is indeed out for a 50 game suspension?

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