A's set to introduce shortstop Nakajima today
Japanese shortstop agrees to two-year contract with third-year option
By Jane Lee / 12/18/12 12:50 PM ET
The A's are scheduled to welcome a "special guest" to the Oakland Coliseum by way of a media conference that will air live on MLB.com on Tuesday at 2 p.m. PT, and MLB.com has learned that it is Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima who will be joining general manager Billy Beane at the podium.
On Tuesday, prior to the news conference, the A's announced that they have agreed with Nakajima on a two-year deal that includes an option for 2015. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the deal is worth $6.5 million, with the third option year worth $5.5 million.
It was discovered early Monday morning that the A's top shortstop target, Stephen Drew, was off the board when news of his signing with Boston circulated. Mere hours later, Oakland reeled in the next-best free-agent choice in Nakajima, who figures to be the A's answer at shortstop until 2012 first-round Draft pick Addison Russell is deemed big league ready.
Nakajima enjoyed a successful 2012 campaign with the Seibu Lions in Japan, where he finished with a line of .311/.382/.451, to go along with 13 home runs. Since 2007, the infielder has averaged 20.5 homers per 162 games, along with a .310 average and .381 on-base percentage. Furthermore, he boasts above-average defensive skills, though it remains to be seen how those translate to the Majors.
The 30-year-old shortstop was in negotiations with the Yankees last winter, after New York won posting rights to him. But the Yankees failed to sign Nakajima, who wasn't so much interested in salary figures as he was playing time, which wasn't offered to him on an everyday basis -- factors that figured to be in play this time around, too. The A's promised him just that, with utility infielders Adam Rosales and Andy Parrino their only other in-house options.
With Nakajima on board, the A's have seemingly taken care of their short to-do list this winter, as it appears any other signings before camp opens will be for depth purposes.