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  1. I think he could be great Zack Cozart/Scott Rolen insurance in Cincinnati. The Reds are looking for a guy who can play shortstop, and he would beat the hell out of the Orlando Cabrera, Paul Janish, and Edgar Renteria trials of years past.

    Comment by Colin — December 13, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  2. Didn’t the Yankees pay a 20M posting fee for Kei Igawa?

    Comment by Mike M — December 13, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  3. Yeah, I noticed that one missing as well.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 13, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  4. Judging by the numbers here Nakajima is probably overqualified for the position, but I think he’d be a great utility infielder for the Yanks in light of their need for a guy to spell Jeter and A-Rod on the regular. Moreover, if he does agree to that role, it would give them a chance to move Nunez, a guy with no real future in New York but has value, and include him in a trade for a bigger piece like a front end starter.

    Comment by Burnsy — December 13, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  5. The winning bid for Iwakuma was from Oakland, not LA.

    Comment by david — December 13, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  6. Pretty sure Oakland “won” the Iwakuma posting last year.

    Comment by PiratesHurdles — December 13, 2011 @ 11:15 am

  7. Given the small financial investment, and the fact that apparently no other teams were seriously interested in Nakajima, why would the best solution be to trade him, rather than to hold on to him as injury insurance for Jeter?

    Comment by Mark Geoffriau — December 13, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  8. That $300K the Padres spent for 2.2 WAR from Aki Otsuka and then turned around and spun off with Adam “Don’t Open that CD” Eaton for AGon and Chris Young sure looks pretty impressive in the context of that list!

    Comment by david — December 13, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  9. “…Tsuyoshi Nishioka stunk worse than the Twins in 2010, a stench…”

    Shouldn’t that be stunk worse than the Twins in 2011?

    Loved the line “Tom Regress That S*** Tango”

    Comment by wiersNRAF — December 13, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  10. Is Nunez as bad as his defensive stats suggest? -15.7 runs

    Because his bat will work at SS, and you’d think any number of teams would be after him.

    Comment by Dave S — December 13, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  11. Out of curiosity, what stops a team like the Rays from bidding something outrageous just to block the Yankees or Red Sox from getting the player? Is there a fee for failing to sign the player?

    Comment by Josh — December 13, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  12. It’s a posting fee, so I’m assuming the winning bidder has to pay the fee regardless of whether they sign the player. In other words, the ridiculous bid is its own disincentive for a small-budget team.

    Comment by Mark Geoffriau — December 13, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  13. The fee is returned if the player doesn’t sign. I found this on the wiki page, so I guess in theory it could happen:

    “With the negotiations between Matsuzaka and the Red Sox at a stalemate as the negotiation period neared its close, The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin questioned both parties’ intentions. Sheinin believed that the Red Sox had foreseen the contractual stalemate and had submitted a high bid simply to deny the New York Yankees an opportunity to negotiate with Matsuzaka.”

    Comment by Josh — December 13, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  14. No fee for failing to sign, but I think that if things like that were to start to happen with any regularity, especially after Iwakuma last year, that MLB would be back to a very strained relationship with NPB.

    Comment by rbt — December 13, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  15. I think its more of a “gentleman’s agreement” to avoid angering NPB. To negotiate with no intention of ever signing the player dilutes the process (not to say the process of posting could use some revisiting). Keeping MLB’s Japanese partners happy probably plays heavily into the equation.

    Comment by Joe — December 13, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  16. Actually, the posting fee is returned if no deal is reached. What prevents this from happening is that the Japanese team receiving the blind bids gets to decide which one wins. I other words, there is no obligation to award the negotiating rights to the highest bidder if the Japanese team does not believe the highest bid was made in good faith.

    Comment by John C. — December 13, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  17. I notied that as well. they paid $26,000,194

    Comment by Matt K — December 13, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  18. Bah, that’s some unfortunate built-in moral hazard. Better to construct the process with a natural disincentive to bidding for the purpose of blocking other teams.

    Comment by Mark Geoffriau — December 13, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  19. while we’re doing the editing around here… awful, not aweful.

    Comment by Matt K — December 13, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  20. great stuff man! there are definitely no errors in this piece that an editor would have easily noticed simply by glancing it over in 30 seconds. nope!

    Comment by sprot sprotster — December 13, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  21. You forgot to edit out your Theriot comment. It’ll be Furcal and Greene in 2012 – Theriot’s currently homeless.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — December 13, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  22. There were some accusations that Oakland did this. I can’t remember who the player was, but they won the bid, didn’t reach a deal because they couldn’t afford him, and the guy went back to Japan.

    An example why the posting system is bad. It should be more like soccer where the teams bid a fee and if the player can’t agree to terms other bidders can move in.

    Comment by Colin — December 13, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  23. The Giants were the team most in need of this player, but Sabean didn’t even know his name, calling him “the Japanese shortstop.”

    Comment by Husker — December 13, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  24. How quickly could the Yankees trade him if they signed him? I vaguely recall that a regular free agent can’t be traded until June after he is signed.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — December 13, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  25. So if NPB offensive stats are down across the board, what does this mean as far as predicting how well offensive skill sets transfer between leagues?

    Comment by Larry Bernandez — December 13, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  26. Having watched most of Nunez’s MLB career, I can say that he’s an unmitigated defensive disaster at SS. Not only is his range wildly inadequate for an up-the-middle position (we’re talking poor even for a 2B), but his throwing arm is also horribly inaccurate. He’s an infield ‘tweener – lacks the glove for 2B/SS, lacks the bat for 3B.

    He does have some value, mostly due to his low cost and potential development. The only way I can see him being a passable starting infielder is if he solves his accuracy issues and spends his time learning to defend 3B. He has the arm strength, so if he can learn to play an adequate defensive 3B and develop into a league average hitter, he may check in above replacement level.

    Comment by Jordan — December 13, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  27. In a blind bid, it’s possible some interested teams were “bluffed” out, and not necessarily by the Yankees.

    Comment by Mario Mendoza of posters — December 13, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  28. I play in fantasy league where Free Agents (i.e. waiver wire players) are bought in a blind auction. All that guessing leads to some interesting results.

    But no matter the bidding, there is usually interest from more than one team. If the player can play, there is trade value.

    Comment by Mario Mendoza of posters — December 13, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  29. Still doesn’t quite make sense. You should still be bidding what you’re willing to put on the table. It sounds like to me that everybody just missed the memo that he had posted or something… weird.

    Comment by B N — December 13, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  30. Thanks. That correction was awsome. :)

    Comment by B N — December 13, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  31. This posting system obviously needs reform, assuming it has to be kept in some form for the sake of MLB/NPB relations. I’d suggest that the top three bids get to negotiate with the player. Maybe the contract length for the signee should also be fixed (at, say, 3 years) to ensure the player isn’t too disadvantaged and all teams can submit bids on the same basis.

    It would be a great shame if Darvish ends up not playing MLB next season because of this system screwing him over.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — December 13, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  32. Well, not quite. Assuming you want to sign the player you need to bid “as much as you can” such that these conditions are met:

    (a) Posting Fee + Contract Offer Player’s bottom line (as opposed to returning to NPB)

    …but there’s no point in bidding more than $1 more than the 2nd highest bid, so it becomes a massive game theoretical problem assessing which other sides might be interested and what value they are placing on the player.

    Moreover, if you don’t want to sign the player but want to stop other teams doing so then logically you can bid high and offer the player league minimum, as long as you’re confident they’ll reject it, though this may have legal implications, as yet untested.

    Maybe it would be better if MLB negotiated a contract with the player, and then invited teams to bid to purchase that contract, with any excess going to NPB (or even split between MLB/NPB).

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — December 13, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  33. Oops, I used greater than and less than signs there which ate some of my post:

    (a) Posting Fee + Contract Offer must be less than the value of the player
    (b) Contract Offer must be greater than Player’s bottom line

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — December 13, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  34. http://twitter.com/#!/sprotster

    Comment by John — December 13, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  35. Thanks man!

    Comment by sprot sprotster — December 13, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  36. So NPB offensive stats are down across the board. But we hear nothing about it in terms of how it’s affected Yu Darvish, who apparently had his best season ever. Could his increased velocity, better stats in 2011 be the result of these changes? Big red flag.

    Comment by Preston — December 13, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  37. I disagree, he has the range to be a SS, and has a strong arm. I think half the teams in the majors right now could use a young cost controlled SS like Nunez. His problem is with inconsistency. He’s young and inexperienced. He will make a brilliant play and then boot a ball that was hit right to him, he will make a rapid turn and fire throw in which he misses, but the ball reaches the base 15 feet before the runner. His problem is focus and learning not to rush. However I think these problems are magnified by him being used as a utility guy. He plays three positions so he’s never comfortable at any of them, plus he doesn’t play every day so he doesn’t get consistent big league reps. I think if he went somewhere and got a starting SS job the team would love his bat and baserunning and be pleasantly surprised by his defense.

    Comment by Preston — December 13, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  38. Good question; a while back, Hideki Irabu’s rights were traded to the Yankees, I’d imagine something similar to be the case, where the Yanks wouldn’t sign him, but trade his rights to another team.

    Comment by Raf — December 13, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  39. Ah! I had that on there, but with the wrong name. And I was all: Where the heck did I get $26M from?

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — December 13, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  40. If half the teams in the majors could use a sub-replacement level starting SS, then replacement level needs to be adjusted. Defensive metrics don’t tell us a whole lot given how few defensive innings Nunez has played, but watching him, he’s certainly not rangier than Jeter, and looks to be more limited in that regard. In my opinion based on watching him, Nunez would reach new lows of defensive ineptitude if he’s allowed to play SS for a full season.

    As for a team loving his bat, that depends entirely on where he can play defensively, as a 90-95 wrc+ only plays well from an up-the-middle defensive position. If as I suggest his defensive ceiling is a decent 3B, he’ll be lucky to provide positive value over replacement. If as you seem to think he can stick as at least a passable defensive SS, he has the potential to be league average.

    Comment by Jordan — December 13, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  41. Defensive metrics don’t tell us a whole lot given how few defensive innings Nunez has played, but watching him, he’s certainly not rangier than Jeter, and looks to be more limited in that regard.

    I disagree. He certainly looks rangier than Jeter. The problem is his throwing accuracy, plain and simple. His numbers suck b/c he makes tons of throwing errors.

    Comment by Steve — December 13, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  42. I like this analysis. I had no idea that run-scoring levels had changed so dramatically in the NPB this year.

    Comment by Jon L. — December 13, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  43. Also would like to disagree. I don’t know how any who has watched them play could ever say that Jeter is, of all things, rangier than Nunez. More sure-handed – absolutely. Scouting reports throughout nunez’s career have shown a tremendously toolsy player, with all the abilities of a gold glove ss derailed by inconsistent play and mental lapses. I think with even a small sampling of observation this would be quite apparent. If not, Cashmans refusal to include Nunez in the Cliff Lee deal should speak to his value better than any first hand amateur observation.

    Comment by RustyShackleford — December 13, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  44. anyone know if there are fantasy leagues for NPB? and, if so, whether there are ones open to Americans?

    Comment by cable fixer — December 13, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  45. He is better than his defensive stats from 2011, and frankly I’m as shocked that I’m writing this statement since I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the past year talking down Nunez. Yet now it’s gone too far in the other direction.

    While playing fulltime SS in AAA the year prior, Nunez showed good range, an excellent arm, while only making fourteen errors, a substantial improvement from prior years. He probably has one of the top five arms in MLB right now from shortstop based on pure strength, with the Yankees toying with turning him into a pitcher a few years back as he can hit 95 mph on the radar gun. His arm, though, also causes most of his errors. He will make great plays, only to then spoil the play by throwing the ball a way. He sometimes gets caught in between on hops, then either rushing his throws or waiting too long.

    The Yankees turned him into a reserve, who was asked to play SS, 3B, 2B and the OF in his first season in the majors. Most of his errors came early on as he was trying to master these new positions. He was strong defensively the one time during the season when he got to play every day at his natural position, SS, when Derek Jeter was injured.

    He’s a tough guy to rate. Great tools. Eratic in the field. Could be an excellent fielder if just given one position to play reguarly.

    Comment by RobM — December 14, 2011 @ 5:02 am

  46. Yeah, I think that’s something that has been very under reported. On the other hand, Darvish has posted an ERA below 2.00 for five straight seasons, including years when hitting was much higher, and his career ERA is below 2.00. He’s been a dominant pitcher no matter what the conditions.

    Now how that translates to MLB is anyone’s guess.

    Comment by RobM — December 14, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  47. As others noted, the MLB team with the winning bid only pays the posting fee if the player is signed.

    If it appears that the MLB team is not negotiating in good faith, or simply placed the bid to block another team from getting a player, then the player can be awarded to the team with the next best bid. So, for example, if the NY Mets who are having substantial financial issues right now bid $60 million for Darvish and then offered him a ten-year contract for $2 million a year, the posting fee would be voided and Darvish would be awarded to the next team.

    Comment by RobM — December 14, 2011 @ 5:15 am

  48. I just have a question about the posting system.

    Imagine a great first baseman from japan will be posted.

    Your team is already set at first and you have no money.

    Your archrival will bid for them and you don’t want them to have him.

    Can post a bid of 350 million dollar and offer him a contract of 1$ for 10 years.

    Of course the will refuse, go back to Japan, the posting money is not payed and you are safe one more year

    Obviously someone must have thought about it before me and there must be a countermeasure but what is it?

    Does someone know what would happen?

    Thanks

    Comment by bfo — December 14, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  49. If there is evidence you aren’t bargaining in good faith I believe the next-highest bidder gets the rights.

    I imagine the commissioner would be unimpressed with you if you did that, as well.

    Comment by CJ — December 15, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

  50. With all of the comments of Raf and Evan3457, this site should be called “Faggraphs.”

    Comment by cgehring — February 9, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

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