Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said at the Winter Meetings today that the A’s are intrigued by Japanese free agent shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, and that “his name has come up.”
Oakland signed top Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes last offseason to a four-year, $36 million deal and he responded by hitting .292 with 23 home runs and finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year Voting to Mike Trout.
Nakajima, who has been posted his NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) team, is one of the top international players available. He hit .311 with 13 home runs last season, and has a career batting average of .310.
The 30-year old shortstop has also drawn interest from the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees, who won negotiating rights with him earlier this year for $2 million but the two sides failed to reach an agreement.
The A’s are searching for a shortstop after Stephen Drew became a free agent and they traded away Cliff Pennington. Although Nakajima wouldn’t be a long-term solution, he would surely be a nice addition to a club that will be contenders for a long ways to come.