Brewers win bidding for Japanese outfielder Aoki

> This came out of nowhere, but it may save the Brewers’ offense, if it gets done.

> According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Brewers have won the bid for a chance to sign Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki. I didn’t even know this guy was posted; he must have been sucked up in all the Yu Darvish and Tsuyoshi Wada talk. Anyway, the Brewers won the bid with just $2.5 million, which is an unusually low bid to win rights to sign a Japanese player.

Aoki has won three batting titles in Japan, and has a .336 batting average over seven professional seasons in Japan. But, he hit just .292 this year, which could explain the low posting fee (not saying that .292 is bad or anything, but it’s considerably lower than .336). Anyway, Aoki is said to be the “most pure hitter” out of Japan since Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, who has been one of the few successful Japanese players in the Majors.

As I said earlier, Aoki is an outfielder, and, from what I’ve heard, can play an outfield position. He has good defensive range, but a weak arm, which probably makes him fit for left field. Obviously, that spot is already vacated by Ryan Braun (unless he does receive that 50-game suspension, but I doubt he will). And, the Brewers are set in the rest of the outfield positions with the Nyjer Morgan/Carlos Gomez platoon in center, and Corey Hart in right. People are saying that the signing of Aoki would be to use him off the bench, or give the Brewers an opportunity to trade an outfielder, but I have another idea, although it’s very unlikely to happen. (I also made up this idea assuming Braun doesn’t get suspended, so bear with me here.)

Since Aoki would fit best in left field, the Brewers could put him there for the best defensive production. Then, they could move Braun to right field, since he already has a good arm, and right field is the outfield position that requires a good arm. That would push Hart out of right field, but, since he actually came up as a first baseman, the could slot him there, with the departure of Prince Fielder. That would probably keep Mat Gamel and Taylor Green in the Minors, but at least the Brewers would know they have proven players at every position, if they used this plan.

Odds are, though, that isn’t going to happen. I can’t see the Brewers having Braun switch position again; that was kind of wishful thinking. But, if they want the best defensive production from Aoki, then they would kind of be forced to do that. Or, they could leave Braun alone, and push the Morgan/Gomez platoon over to right field, since both are capable of playing right (despite Morgan’s noodle arm). With Aoki’s supposed good range, they could put him in center, which is the outfield position that needs the best range. But, again- it probably won’t happen.

Anyway, Aoki hits more for average than power, but the Brewers already took care of replacing some of the power of Fielder with Aramis Ramirez last week.

After winning the posting fee, teams usually have 30 days to sign Japanese players, meaning the Brewers have until around mid-January to sign Aoki. Japanese players usually sign with the teams that win the bid. The only player that comes to recent memory who didn’t sign with the team who won signing rights for him was pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, whom the Athletics couldn’t come to terms with prior to the 2011 season.

Anyway, I just hope Aoki doesn’t turn out like Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who had similar numbers to Aoki before coming to the Majors. But, Nishioka came to the Majors and had an injury-plagued year with the Twins, and also hit below .200. I doubt that’s going to happen, though.

> The Reds struck a five-player trade with the Padres today. The main part of the deal was pitcher Mat Latos going to the Reds in exchange for pitcher Edinson Volquez.

The Reds finally might have a legitimate ace in Latos, which is something they’ve been looking for over the past two years.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, I have absolutely no idea what the Padres were thinking in giving up their best pitcher for a sad excuse for a pitcher- if he even is a pitcher- in Volquez. Maybe they haven’t seen him pitch before, but they’re in for quite a ride- and I mean that in a bad way.

Anyway, the reason I’m even talking about this trade on here is because now the Brewers will be seeing a lot of Latos next year, and maybe years after, with the Reds being division rivals. I can only remember one occasion when the Brewers faced Latos- it was Zack Greinke‘s Miller Park debut, and he beat Latos. I think Latos only gave up two or three runs, though.

> And that’s about all the news for today. So, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. (Seriously, please leave your thoughts- I feel like I don’t get comments anymore.)

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One Response to Brewers win bidding for Japanese outfielder Aoki

  1. [...] you can read my post about where I think Aoki fits with the Brewers from the other day, because it’s kind of complicated, and I don’t want to write it all [...]

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