Blog Entry

Norichika Aoki to be posted

Posted on: November 10, 2011 9:34 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 4:32 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

Japanese star Norichika Aoki will be posted, according to a report from a Japanese news outlet (via Yakyubaka.com). The posting system -- if you might recall from the famous cases of Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ichiro Suzuki and Kei Igawa -- is used when a player already under contract with a team in Japan wants to play in America. A Major League Baseball team submitting the highest sealed bid will pay that fee and is granted an exclusive negotiating window to sign the player. In this case, whoever decides to bid the most will pay the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League for the rights to negotiate with Aoki.

Aoki is 5-foot-11, 182 pounds and plays center field. He bats left-handed and throws right-handed.

"When I was in college, I really felt like wanting to play in that kind of an environment," he said (Yakyubaka.com -- translated from Japanese). "It's not without uncertainties. I haven't really compared myself to other players. I want to go the Majors because I want to go. That's it."

Aoki, 29, hit .358 with 14 homers, 63 RBI and 19 steals in 2010. He has signed on with agent Nez Balelo of CAA Sports. The agency provides Shane Victorino as a mild comparison, saying Aoki is "a Gold Glove center fielder with a high average and extra-base power."

Aoki won the Gold Glove 2006-10 and was a member of the "Best 9" (which is like an All-League team) from 2005-10. He was the fastest player in Japanese history to reach 500 hits and won the 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year.

Aoki had a down year in 2011, hitting .292 with just four homers and eight steals. CAA sports attributed Aoki's off-2011 season to being distracted by the earthquake and tsunami's effects on his hometown and adjusting a new ball.

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