Tag:Norichika Aoki
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:26 pm

Aoki to sign with Brewers

The Brewers are close to agreement on a multiyear deal with three-time Japanese batting champ Norichika Aoki, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

The Brewers won the rights to negotiate with Aoki with a $2.5 million posting bid last month, and their negotiating window with him was due to close at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. Aoki, a center fielder with the Yakult Swallows, has been compared by some to Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:14 pm

Aoki is available, Darvish may (or may not) be

Yu Darvish is the Japanese player you know about.

Norichika Aoki is the one you don't.

Should you?

Depends on who you ask, but we already know one thing about Aoki that we don't yet know about Darvish, the Japanese pitching star who many big-league teams covet: Aoki is definitely going to be posted by his Japanese team this winter, and thus will be available to a major-league team willing to pay for him.

Two or three years ago, there would have been a long line of teams. Aoki, a center fielder with the Yakult Swallows, is a three-time batting champion with speed, compared by some to Shane Victorino.

But he's 29 years old, coming off a bad year, and battling the perception that he doesn't always work hard enough.

"His skills have eroded," said one scout who follows the Japanese market. "Five years ago, I really liked him."

So when the Swallows announced Thursday that they will put him through the posting system, it didn't exactly set off the same stir there will be when Darvish is posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Ah, but when will that be?

The expectation for a long time would be that it will happen this winter, and it still could. But one international scout who knows the Japanese market well predicted Thursday that the Fighters will wait until next winter to offer Darvish to a big-league team.

Under the posting system, big-league teams submit sealed bids for the right to negotiate with the player. The Japanese team can accept or reject the highest bid, and if the bid is accepted the player has 30 days to work out a contract with that one big-league team.

Whenever he shows up, Darvish will be the biggest Japanese star to be posted since Daisuke Matsuzaka, whose negotiating rights cost the Red Sox $51 million in 2006. Matsuzaka later signed a six-year, $52 million contract.

Some people believe Darvish could cost even more, even if Matsuzaka's struggles in Boston give some teams pause.

"Darvish is better," one scout said. "He has a better body, better overall stuff, and he hasn't been overpitched as much. He's also a little more Westernized."

"He has legit front-line starter stuff," another scout said.

But he's not available yet. Aoki is.

"At one time, he was one of the best players there," one of the scouts said.

How much is he worth now?

We'll soon find out.

Category: MLB
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