Dallas, TX – Despite an earlier report, the Boston Red Sox were not the high bidders for Seibu Lions shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. In fact general manager Ben Cherington stated on Tuesday that the team did not even put a bid in on him.
A Japanese newspaper reported that the Red Sox had won exclusive negotiating rights earlier on Tuesday. The report seemed dubious since Boston already has Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie on their roster, as well as highly-regarded prospect Jose Iglesias in their system.
Nakajima, who represented Japan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic, is a .302 lifetime hitter in Japan and has managed at least 16 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each of the last four seasons.
This past year for the Lions the 29-year-old Nakajima batted .297 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
The winning bidder is still expected to be revealed on Wednesday, but teams rumored to be suitors like San Francisco and Milwaukee have both denied interest. New York Mets manager Terry Collins, though, spoke glowingly of Nakajima on Monday.
"He's a very, very good player," Collins said. "A lot of the things, the way Japanese play baseball sometimes, you can watch him play and see an American. He's got that great balance in his stance, in his batting, got real, real good power for a middle infielder, an outstanding arm. He was one of the guys in Japan I said, if anybody could come to the United States and perform, he can."