Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

Brewers sign Japanese import Aoki to two-year deal

By Nicole
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After posting a $2.5 million fee to his Japanese club, the Brewers then had the ability to sign a contract to bring the three-time Japanese batting champion to Milwaukee.

A Japanese source tweeted that the contract for Aoki is about $1.5 million per year, which is probably a steal.

From Adam McCalvy on Brewers.com: "Aoki, 30 and a left-handed hitter, has played his entire professional career with Yakult. According to statistics provided by the Brewers, he's batted .329 over parts of eight seasons with 84 home runs, 385 RBIs and 164 stolen bases in 985 games. He batted better than .300 in six of his seven full seasons and was Central League batting champion in 2005 (.344), 2007 (.346) and 2010 (.358). He was the 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year and a six-time Golden Glove Award winner and represented Japan in both World Baseball Classics. The Brewers had a favorable report from their scout at the 2009 event."

Aoki provides insurance for the Brewers in LF should Ryan Braun receive the expected 50-game suspension.

Aoki will apparently be available to meet fans at the On Deck event on Jan 29.

Aoki completes the Brewers 40-man roster.

His presence apparently made the front office more confident with their outfield situation, as its signing that seems to have led to the discussion of Corey Hart at first base.

Its clear that the Brewers are hedging any and all bets on Mat Gamel as the first baseman of the future. They not only floated the idea of Hart playing 30 or so games at first to Hart, but leaked the story to the media, as well. It's possible it would be an extreme platoon, as Hart is a righty and Gamel's a lefty.

But it sure does sound like the Brewers are preparing themselves for the possiblity that Gamel will just be awful.

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